Why we asked our landlords to insulate urgently
Brr! We’re in the coldest months of the year and undergoing a real test how warm a property is.
Landlords do have lots of discretion around how much heating is provided, and while a landlord legally only has to do a certain minimum, we like to give advice about the flow-on effects of providing a warm home.
Partly it’s about protecting landlords from any penalties which might be incurred at the Tenancy Tribunal.
In June, we wrote to all the property owners whose houses we take care of and advised the following:
- Landlords whose property isn’t legally insulated after July 1 2019 face a $4000 fine
- RentalsCo cannot take responsibility for such fines
- We ask landlords to share their insulation statement with RentalsCo urgently for our records
- Please update us if you have insulation scheduled for installation
- Tenants may seek compensation for a breach of insulation requirements. We don’t want our landlords to receive such a bill – which is yet another reason to insulate.
As a landlord, what am I required to do under the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act?
- Landlords who have installed new insulation since 2016 should already meet the 2008 Building Code, so they won’t need to do anything further when the Healthy Homes Standards take effect.
- However, landlords who didn’t previously need to insulate under the current requirements, may now need to do so under the Healthy Homes Standards. Currently, if the property already has ceiling insulation which is at least 70mm thick and underfloor insulation, and both are in good condition, then landlords have not been required to take action.
- Under the Healthy Homes Standards, all rental properties will need to have insulation which meets the 2008 Building Code, or is at least 120mm thick.
Why does MBIE Tenancy Services issue a fine for failure to comply with insulation standards?
It’s because, in the words of MBIE, “Good quality insulation helps keep the heat in during winter and out during the summer – and helps to reduce the health risks caused by living in cold, damp conditions.” The Ministry of Health seconds this, explaining “Having more warm rooms and more sleeping spaces available means germs such as strep throat, which can lead to rheumatic fever, are less likely to spread.”
Energywise recommends heat pumps and wood burners as the best options for heating any home as they are cheaper. They provide a heat which less condensation. Plus they don’t incur a nightmarish electricity bill.
The reason the government insists on insulated homes is to help achieve the World Health Organisation recommended minimum temperature of 18˚C in houses. That temperature should be slightly higher for more vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and people who are ill.
There are a few exemptions
Click through to read exceptions to the insulation regulations
Anyone reading this who doesn’t yet have installation complete can click on the following page to find a local installer. Find funding options and a guide to the standards if you are installing insulation yourself https://www.energywise.govt.nz/at-home/insulation/ceiling-insulation/installing-ceiling-insulation/
Alternatively, phone RentalsCo today on 09 459 7136 for a recommendation of a reliable insulation installer. Or you can simply Google Northland insulation installers.