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Six months to insulate – what Northland landlords need to know

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From mid-2019, fines of $4000 may be issued by MBIE for properties where insulation has not been installed.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and MBIE are reminding landlords that those who still don’t comply after paying the penalty may face further action. This comes at a time when home ownership at its lowest level in 60 years, more and more Kiwis are renting, so it’s essential we protect the health of those renting.

Which rental properties are at risk of getting into trouble?

  • MBIE estimated in March 2018 that 67% of private rental properties currently meet the standard for insulation… meaning the remaining 33% do not meet the standard.
  • There has been a slow compliance increase of just 7% since July 2016.
  • There are between 126,000 and 220,000 rental homes which still lack proper insulation to protect house’s structure and the quality of the air within.

“Landlords need to assess their current insulation, to check that insulation can be installed and top up their insulation as required,” REINZ spokesperson Bindi Norwell said.

What’s compulsory and when?

  • Ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes across New Zealand from 1 July 2019
  • MBIE will check up on landlords to ensure their rental properties meet Residential Tenancies Act requirements by the deadline.

What landlords must do: comply, and complete a statement of compliance

  • Ensure that all new tenancy agreements include a separately signed insulation statement covering what insulation the home has, where it is, and what type.
  • MBIE has suggested the average cost for a professional installer to install both ceiling and floor insulation is about $3,400 +GST for a 96 square metre property. This would increase if the property is larger.
  • Landlords must make all reasonable efforts to find out what insulation is in their rental property. This includes physically looking, engaging a professional to do an assessment, or checking the council building file and filling in any shortcomings in the property’s insulation.
  • Insulation statements must be included in all new tenancy agreements. Landlords must disclose whether there is insulation in the rental home, where it is, what type and what condition it is in.
  • A landlord who does not make a complete insulation statement or includes anything they know to be false may be liable for a penalty of up to $500.

Here’s a free easy-to-use insulation statement to include in your information for tenants: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Forms-templates/insulation-statement.pdf.

Your main guide to the new requirements is the following: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Insulation-requirements.pdf

FAQs for landlords

Q.  How long does it take to get insulation installed in my Whangarei rental property?

A.  Insulation can be installed in most homes in a day. It’s quickly stapled to the underside of the floorboards, so there is no reason to delay getting it done.

Q. What if I have existing underfloor insulation from before July 2016?

A. Check to see if it’s still thick enough. Underfloor insulation must be installed with an R-value of at least R 1.3 from 1 July 2016.

Q. How can I get insulation cheaply installed?

A. Tenants with Community Services Cards, or living in an area deemed as lower-income, are eligible for grants covering 67% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation. The tenants may be able to apply to get the insulation put in without it costing too much.

For questions around getting insulation up to scratch swiftly, cheaply, efficiently and meeting the standard, give the friendly folks at Rental Experts a ring.

Phone 09 4597139

PO Box 5043, 9-11 Reyburn St, Whangarei