Landlords must provide one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room to a maintained temperature of at least 18 degrees Celsius.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum indoor temperature of 18˚C. By installing a heater that can reach this temperature on the coldest days of the year, tenants will be able to keep warm all year round.
All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024.
All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021. All houses rented by Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.
What is the heating standard?
There must be a fixed heater(s) that can directly heat the main living room to at least 18 degrees Celsius. The main living room is the largest room that is used for general, everyday living – for example a lounge, family room or dining room.
Your heater must be fixed (not portable), and at least 1.5 kW in heating capacity.
Your heater must not be an open fire or an unflued combustion heater, eg portable LPG bottle heaters. If you use a heat pump or an electric heater, it must have a thermostat. You can’t use an electric heater (except a heat pump) if the required heating capacity for the main living room is over 2.4 kW, unless you’re ‘topping up’ existing qualifying heating that was installed before 1 July 2019.
In most cases, the right type of heater will be a larger fixed heating device like a heat pump, wood burner, pellet burner or flued gas heater. In some cases, eg small apartments, a smaller fixed electric heater will be enough. For more information about different heating options visit the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s website. (external link)
Our guidance document has more specific information on the heating standard.
How to find out what size heater you need
You can use our online heating assessment tool to help calculate the minimum heating capacity required for heaters in your rental property.
The tool provides a report that sets out the minimum heating capacity required for each property. You can use it to check if your current heating is sufficient to meet the healthy homes standard, or if you need to install a new heater. The report can also help prove a rental home meets the heating requirements in the healthy homes standards.
If you have a complex room layout, or you’re not sure what figures to include, we recommend asking a professional for advice.
Top up existing heating
If you’re adding a new heater to a room with existing heating, each heater must meet the requirements in the healthy homes standards, with one exception. If your existing heating doesn’t have the required heating capacity, you can add a smaller fixed electric heater to ‘top up’ your heating. If you do, you must meet all these conditions:
- you installed your existing heating before 1 July 2019
- the required heating capacity is more than 2.4 kW
- the ‘top up’ you need is 1.5 kW or less.
For example, if you have a heat pump with a heating capacity of 3.3 kW, but you need a total heating capacity of 4.5 kW, you can add a fixed 1.5 kW electric heater with a thermostat to meet the standard.
You don’t need to add more heating if you have one or more existing large 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 (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 90% of what you need.
When the existing large heater needs replacing, landlords will need to install a correctly sized heater.
If the existing heater is a woodburner, it will likely have a label stating the heat output. Landlords can also check manufacturer’s information or council records for information on the heat output of their woodburner.
Central heating will meet the standard as long as:
- it provides heat directly to the living room (eg through vents or radiators)
- is at the required kilowatt to heat the living room to 18°C.
There are specific exemptions to the heating standard. The exemptions are:
- where it is not reasonably practicable to install a qualifying heating device.
- where the rental property is a certified passive building.
It is not reasonably practicable to install something if a professional installer can’t access the area without:
- carrying out substantial building work, or
- causing substantial damage to the property, or
- creating greater risks to a person’s health and safety than is normally acceptable, or
- it is otherwise not reasonably practicable for a professional installer to carry out the work.
These are in addition to the general exemptions.