Changes to the healthy homes standards came into force on 12 May 2022.

This includes changes to the heating, ventilation, and moisture ingress and drainage standards.

If your rental property already meets the existing standards, you will not need to do any extra work to comply with the changes.


Heating

New formula for certain properties

A new heating formula applies to the following types of rental properties:

  • Properties built to the 2008 building code.
  • Certain apartments which are a part of a residential building of at least 3 storeys and have 6 or more commercial or residential units.
  • Properties where the insulation and glazing has been installed throughout, so that it now meets or exceeds the 2009 insulation and glazing standards.

The changes to the heating standard generally enable smaller heating devices to be installed in these types of properties, to better reflect how they retain heat.

The heating assessment tool has been updated to include these changes.

Heating assessment tool

All other types of rental properties continue to use the original formula. Landlords of all properties will be able to use the heating assessment tool to calculate their heating requirements.

Compliance timeframe

A revised deadline (grace period) for compliance with the heating standard applies to support transitioning to these changes.

If all of the following applies, the compliance date for the heating standard is 12 February, 2023 (9 months after the regulations take effect):

  • It is a private tenancy (i.e not a boarding house, a Kāinga Ora or registered Community Housing tenancy).
  • The new heating formula is applicable to the rental property and the landlord chooses to use it to calculate the minimum required heating capacity.
  • The end of the 90 day compliance timeframe is on or after 12 May 2022 and before 12 February, 2023.
     

Landlords of these properties must continue to comply with the other healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new, or renewed, tenancy.

Example A:

The new regulations took effect on 12 May, 2022.

On 16 May, 2022 a new tenancy commences for a rental property built to the 2008 building code.

Because the 90 day compliance timeframe for this property is 14 August 2022 (during the grace period), the deadline for complying with the heating standard now becomes 12 February, 2023.

The deadline for complying with the other healthy homes standards remains 14 August, 2022.

Example B:

The new regulations took effect on 12 May, 2022.

On 16 August, 2022 a new tenancy commences for a rental property that has had the insulation and glazing upgraded throughout, so that it now meets or exceeds the 2009 insulation and glazing standards.

Because the 90 day compliance timeframe for this property is 14 November 2022 (during the grace period), the deadline for complying with the heating standard for this tenancy now becomes 12 February, 2023.

The deadline for complying with the other healthy homes standards remains 14 November, 2022.

Example C:

The new regulations took effect on 12 May, 2022.

On 26 November, 2022 a new tenancy commences for an apartment that qualifies for the new heating formula.

The 90 day compliance timeframe for this property is 24 February, 2023. Because the compliance date falls after the heating standard grace period of 12 February, 2023, there is no extension for compliance of the heating standard. The deadline for complying with all standards is 24 February, 2023.


If a landlord has already completed the healthy homes compliance statement with the tenancy agreement and is choosing to now use the new heating formula, they will need to provide updated information to tenants.

Find out more about updating the heating standard information in the compliance statement

Another way to meet the heating standard

Landlords now have an additional way to comply with the heating standard.

As an alternative to the heating formula or tool, certain qualified specialists are able to assess the required heating capacity using criteria set out in regulation 10A.

This option may be most economic for developers to use as in many cases they have already engaged a heating specialist. It could also be used by landlords who have existing qualifying heating that they believe is acceptable but doesn’t meet the capacity required by the formula or tool.

A qualified specialist is:

  • a chartered professional engineer within the meaning set out in section 6 of the Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act 2002,
  • an International Professional Engineer registered with Engineering New Zealand, or
  • a person who has completed a tertiary engineering, physics or building science qualification at New Zealand Qualification Framework Level 7 or above, and has at least 5 years of experience in heating system design.


Landlords will need to hold the following relevant documentation as part of their record keeping if this compliance method is being used.

Record keeping must include:

  • details of the minimum required heating capacity as assessed by a qualified specialist using the criteria set out in the regulations
  • a statement that the landlord is relying on this regulation and a brief description on why this regulation applies
  • the name and relevant qualifications of the specialist who made the assessment
  • a description of how the required heating capacity was calculated.

Landlords must also hold documentation to record compliance when the required heating has been installed.

Geothermal heating

Some properties (mainly in Rotorua) can meet the heating standard by using geothermal heating, if the heater:

  • is powered by geothermal energy
  • provides direct heat to the main living room, and
  • doesn’t have a stated heating capacity and for which it is not possible to state its heating capacity.

Relaxing the tolerance for existing heating

The trigger point to top up or replace existing heating installed before 1 July 2019 has been relaxed from 90% to 80% of the required heating capacity for properties with a healthy homes compliance date after 12 May 2022. This means you don’t need to add more heating if you have 1 or more existing heaters that:

  • were installed before 1 July 2019
  • each have a heating capacity greater than 2.4 kW
  • meet the requirements in the standards (for example, not an open fire or an unflued combustion heater)
  • are not electric heaters (heat pumps are acceptable) if the required heating capacity for the main living room is over 2.4 kW, and
  • have a total heating capacity that's at least 80% of what you need to meet the required heating capacity.

Example:

Heating installed before 1 July 2019 will comply with the heating standard if it is an acceptable heater and it provides at least 2.4 kW of heating capacity when the requirement is 3.0 kW.

Once the heater needs to be replaced due to wear and tear it will need to meet the full heating capacity requirement of the healthy homes heating standard.

Increase of ‘top up’ allowance for existing heating

For heating that was installed before 1 July, 2019, the allowance when using electric heaters to ‘top up’ the heating capacity is now 2.4 kW instead of 1.5 kW.

The new top up allowance will mean you can top up existing heating in the main living room to the required heating capacity either by:

  1. installing 1 or more additional fixed heaters that meets the requirements in the healthy homes standards; or
  2. adding a smaller fixed electric heater with a thermostat, but it must meet the following conditions:
    1. the existing heating was installed before 1 July 2019
    2. the required heating capacity is more than 2.4 kW, and
    3. the ‘top up’ needed is 2.4 kW or less.

Example A:

If you have a heat pump with a heating capacity of 3.6 kW that was installed before 1 July, 2019, but you need a total heating capacity of 6.0 kW, you can add a fixed 2.4 kW electric heater with a thermostat to meet the standard.

Once the heat pump needs to be replaced due to wear and tear, you will need to install a qualifying heater/s that meets the full capacity requirement of the healthy homes heating standard.

Example B:

You need a total heating capacity of 8 kW. You have a fixed heat pump with a heating capacity of 4 kW and an unflued gas heater with a heating capacity of 3 kW. The unflued gas heater is an unacceptable heater type, which means it can’t contribute to the required heating capacity. You can meet the standards by installing a 4 kW (or larger) qualifying fixed heater where it can heat the main living room directly. You cannot add an electric heater to ‘top up’ your heating because the ‘top up’ you need is over 2.4 kW.

Clarification for complying with the heating standard where partial exemption applies

If a rental property is part of a building and the landlord does not own the entire building (for example, if a landlord owns an apartment), the landlord will be partially exempt from complying with parts of the healthy homes standards if their ability to comply with the healthy homes standards is not possible because:

  • they need to install or provide something in a part of the building where they are not the sole owner, or
  • they need access to a part of the building that they are not the sole owner.

Landlords must still take all reasonable steps to ensure the rental property or building complies with the healthy homes standards to the greatest extent reasonably practicable.

For example this means if the required heating capacity is over 2.4 kW, and after taking all reasonable steps, a landlord must install at least 1 qualifying heater that has a heating capacity of at least 2 kW. A fixed electric heater with a thermostat is an acceptable heater for this situation.

Ventilation for kitchens and bathrooms

The ventilation standard now allows properties with certain continuous mechanical ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms to meet the ventilation standard.

If your home was built with a continuous mechanical ventilation system, to meet the standard it must:

  • be designed to vent extracted air continuously from residential property to the outdoors, and for a kitchen or bathroom, extracts the air directly from the room, and
  • have been installed in the property or a tenancy building that first received building consent on or after 1 November 2019 and was part of that original building consent, and continues to meet the requirements of the building consent.

Alternatively, if your home has been renovated and now includes a continuous mechanical ventilation system, to meet the standard, the system must:

  • be designed to provide ventilation for multiple rooms and to continuously vent extracted air to the outdoors, and
  • extract air directly out of the kitchen and bathroom, with an exhaust capacity of at least 12 ℓ/s in the kitchen and 10 ℓ/s in the bathroom. The actual flow rate may be varied (manually or automatically), in response to the demand for ventilation.

Recirculating systems (products like HRV and DVS systems), or fans that do not extract to the outdoors are not suitable to meet the ventilation standard.

Moisture ingress and drainage

Clarification that landlords are not required to install alternative moisture barriers where installation of a polythene barrier isn’t reasonably practicable in the subfloor area.

Compliance

Landlords who are yet to comply with healthy homes standards can comply using the updated standards regardless of the property’s compliance deadline.

Landlords who have already completed a compliance statement at the start of the tenancy will need to discuss any proposed changes to this with the tenant and get their consent.

If the tenant agrees to the changes the landlord must provide the updated information in writing to the tenant.

If the tenant doesn’t agree, the landlord must comply with what is in the compliance statement even though the updated standards may not require this. This is because the compliance statement is part of the tenancy agreement which is a contract between the landlord and tenant.

Read more about updating the compliance statement

If the landlord has not complied with the healthy homes standards by their compliance deadline, they are in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. If a landlord has breached the healthy homes standards, tenants can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to seek exemplary damages of up to $7,200.

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