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Insulation Exemption For Landlords – Fact Or Fiction?

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Insulation exemptions for landlords – fact or fiction?

Rentals.co cares very much about tenants having a great experience in rental properties, leading to reliable rental yield for Northland landlords.

The reason we keep reminding readers about new insulation requirements is because under the Residential Tenancies Act updates from 2016, higher requirements for smoke alarms and insulation were set. One requirement is that an insulation statement be prepared for every rental property.

If Rentals.co is your property manager, we need your insulation statement, please.

Rentals.co cannot be responsible should MBIE issue a $4000 fine for failure to provide insulation or a statement of insulation.

Fact and fiction: insulation exemptions and exceptions for Northland landlords

The following are myths and truths about insulation rules for rentals from July 1 onwards. Examples of types of properties where it might not be possible to insulate and exceptions can be granted:

  • Apartments where there is a habitable space above and below the apartment
  • Houses constructed on concrete slabs where it is not feasible to install underfloor insulation
  • Houses with skillion (pitched) roofs where there is no ceiling in place to install insulation above.

Access exceptions

If an experienced professional insulation installer can’t do the following, then installing insulation is not considered reasonably practicable and thus isn’t required.

Consider applying for an MBIE exemption when:

  • The installer can’t access the location to install insulation without removing any cladding or lining, carrying out other substantial building work, or causing substantial damage to the property.
  • The installer can’t install insulation without creating health or safety risks to people, when these risks are greater than the normal level of risk when installing insulation.

Please note: if minor work such as temporarily removing base boards from the exterior of the property to access the underfloor, then the landlord is expected to proceed with this minor work. 

MBIE rules say if changes are made to an exempt property that then allows insulation to be fitted (for example a new roof), then it must be installed as soon as reasonably practicable.

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Confirmation of exception needs to be in writing

If a landlord is in any doubt whether insulation can be installed in their rental property, MBIE says the landlord should consult an experienced professional insulation installer and, if needed, a builder.

If the professional says insulating some areas is not practicable or possible, the landlord must ask for written confirmation of the reasons to include in tenancy agreements.

Other exceptions to insulation requirements

Examples of situations where rental properties may not need to meet the insulation requirements:

  • Where the landlord intends to demolish or substantially rebuild all or part of the property within 12 months of the start of a tenancy (The landlord must, if requested, provide evidence of having applied for the necessary resource consent and/or building consent for the redevelopment or building work).
  • Where a property is purchased from and immediately rented back to the former owner-occupier – in which case a 12 month exception will apply from the date of purchase.

Where the landlord can provide evidence that the insulation is still in reasonable condition and that when originally installed it complied with particular insulation requirements.

These may be either specifications outlined in the building consent or an Acceptable Solution or Verification Method under the Building Code .

If you’d like advice on insulation including recommended installers, please talk to the Northland and Whangarei rental experts.