Purchasing a rental property is an exciting investment, but it also comes with a number of new responsibilities. In an attempt to improve the overall living conditions across New Zealand, the Government passed the Healthy Homes Bill in December 2017 to ensure tenants are provided with a healthy, comfortable home in return for their rent costs.
New Zealand homes have an unfortunate reputation for being damp and cold. It was high time for the Government to take necessary steps to make housing improvements right across the board.
Whilst the landlord heating obligations will greatly improve the health and comfort of tenants, it will also improve the quality and value of the property itself. So it’s a win/win and all landlords should be meeting heating, ventilation and insulation standards.
What do I need to know about the Healthy Homes Bill?
From 1 July 2021, private landlords must meet the Healthy Homes Standards within 90 days of any new tenancy.
By July 2024, all rental properties in New Zealand must meet the standards.
The Healthy Homes Standards include heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage and draft stopping.
The Healthy Homes Standards are not only a housing reform but a public health reform as well. Dampness and mould are direct causes of respiratory illness and infection, particularly during colder months. For those living in a mouldy home, it’ll be a rough winter ahead.
For many tenants, living in a damp home is the only option, which is why the government is placing more emphasis on landlords to meet the requirements of a healthy home. Given how important our health is for living a normal, happy life, everyone deserves a warm, dry home to live in.
The three fundamentals of a healthy home
To achieve a healthy home, we must first look at what makes an optimum living environment. From our perspective, this comes down to three key things: warmth, insulation and ventilation. Each of these needs an equal amount of focus.
First things first, you can’t properly heat your home without adequate insulation.
Ever wondered why your home is bitterly cold in the winter but roasting hot in the summer?
Lack of insulation is the culprit here.
Without the right insulation, retaining heat is almost impossible. Heat escapes as quickly as it is produced, leaving you with nothing but a cold house and a huge power bill.
Under the Healthy Homes Standards, landlords will be required to provide ceiling and underfloor insulation. An insulated home is much more efficient to heat and will help minimise energy costs.
There’s a lot to be said for using the right methods for heating a home. When looking into your heating obligations under the Healthy Homes Standards, consider the effect the heating solution will have on your tenants’ health and wallet.
The Healthy Homes Standards state that heating devices must be fixed to the home and have the ability to heat to at least 18 degrees. Cutting corners won’t be an option here because unhealthy, inefficient and unaffordable models will not be accepted.
That really only leaves one option: a heat pump.
The heat from heat pumps is far-reaching, clean and warms a space instantly.
Not only do they achieve optimum temperatures at the push of a button, but they are also extremely energy efficient to run. Tenants will no longer have to deal with sky-high energy bills as a result of staying warm throughout winter.
With Mitsubishi Electric’s extensive heat pump range, it’s easy to meet the heating requirements within the Healthy Homes Standards.
A well-ventilated home reduces the potential for condensation and mould growth. However, it’s not always enough to simply open all the doors and windows to get a little airflow. Extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms will be a requirement for rental homes under the Healthy Homes Standards as well.
Heat pumps are also able to boost your home’s ventilation thanks to their amazing filtration system. The filters inside the heat pump remove dust and allergens from the air before delivering fresh, clean air to you. There’s nothing like a little fresh air, but when it’s too cold to open all the doors and windows, you can take comfort knowing that your heat pump is working hard to cleanse and circulate the air in your home.
After a bit of a rocky past, the future of New Zealand homes is looking much brighter. Both new builds and older homes are getting the attention they deserve to improve the overall state of living for all New Zealanders.
As landlords work towards improving rental properties, the Healthy Homes Standards are a solid guideline for what needs to be done to provide dry, warm and healthy homes to tenants.
We’re excited to see what’s ahead for rental properties over the next few years as the Healthy Homes Standards begin to take effect.
If you’re currently in the process of improving your rental property, our range of Mitsubishi Electric heat pumps will steer you in the right direction. Give us a call today.