Posted on 20 09 2021
Renovating Rental Properties and the Healthy Homes Standards
The Healthy Homes Standards introduced specific and minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties. From 1 July 2021, landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the Standards within 90 days of any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreements.
When it comes to renovating rental properties, landlords need to ensure that any changes to a property will meet Healthy Homes Standards requirements. As well as ensuring the property is compliant, landlords also have administrative requirements to record and provide documentation to prove these Standards have been met.
If a landlord is non-compliant, a tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a monetary order and/or a work order. The Tribunal may award a financial penalty of up to $4,000 against the landlord, usually paid to the tenant.
Many new or existing landlords have found themselves in a position where they may need to renovate to bring their properties up to the required level of compliance to avoid being penalised for non-compliance.
With so many standards to navigate, this can be a daunting prospect for landlords, but by following three main guidelines, you can ensure you protect yourself from any fines and can be confident that you are providing your tenants with a warm, safe home.
Get a professional Healthy Homes Report
If you are unsure of your property’s current level of compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards, an excellent first step before carrying out any renovation would be to engage a qualified professional to carry out a Healthy Homes Assessment.
Hire an independent assessor to inspect your home, complete a report detailing whether your property is compliant with each standard, and provide details of what upgrades, changes or renovations are required to ensure your property will comply with the Healthy Homes Standards.
Using a qualified and independent assessor will save you time, give you the assurance you need, and provide yourself and any trades you are engaging with a clear roadmap of what is required to gain full compliance.
Use qualified tradespeople for all work
It can be tempting to save some money and carry out work yourself, but due to the strict requirements of the Standards, in many cases, it is better to engage qualified professionals who understand the detailed ins and outs of the standards.
Do your research and only hire fully qualified and registered tradespeople that come with good reviews and references. They should also supply you with any documentation you require to show that work is up to standard and is compliant. This could include building consents, records of building work, inspection records, photos or videos, product manuals, receipts and invoices.
Don’t forget your Healthy Homes Compliance Statement
Once any required work is carried out, you will also need to have the appropriate paperwork and compliance statements in place to prove that your property complies with the Healthy Homes Standard.
As of 1 December 2020, all rental property owners must provide a completed Healthy Homes Compliance Statement with any new or renewed tenancy agreement. This statement stands as a comprehensive report, covering all five of the standards, identifying the property’s level of compliance.
Failure to provide the compliance statement can result in a $500 financial penalty. If this statement is found to contain false or misleading information, the landlord can be subjected to a fine of $900. As of 11 February 2021, not providing a completed and accurate compliance statement could result in an infringement notice.
If you are the new owner of a rental property that needs significant work or need to upgrade an existing rental property to ensure it complies with the Healthy Homes Standards, make sure you engage a professional to conduct a thorough assessment of what is required to bring the property up to standard, that you use reputable tradespeople to carry out work, and that you have all the necessary compliance statements in place once work is complete.
Greenside has a team of experts who can advise on ensuring your property meets the Healthy Homes Standards, so get in touch with us today to see how we can assist with any planned upgrades or renovations to your rental property.