All landlords, including boarding house landlords, need to comply with various legal obligations. There have been two main changes to tenancy law in 2019 that landlords need to be aware of.
On this page:
- Healthy homes standards
- Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019
- What landlords need to do
The healthy homes standards became law on 1 July 2019.
There are five healthy homes standards. A summary of each standard is below. For more detail, including a technical guidance document, please visit the relevant webpage.
Landlords must provide one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room. This heating needs to meet a minimum heating capacity. This capacity must be calculated using either the heating assessment tool, or the formula in Schedule 2 of the regulations.
Ceiling and underfloor insulation is already compulsory in rental properties. Under the healthy homes standards, some existing insulation will need to be topped up or replaced.
Kitchens and bathrooms need extractor fans that ventilate to the outside. There are also specific technical requirements for new fans. Rental properties must also have windows, doors or skylights in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms that open to the outside and can be fixed in the open position.
Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water and ground water. If there is an enclosed sub-floor area, landlords must install a ground moisture barrier.
Any unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, windows, ceilings, floors and doors that cause noticeable draughts must be blocked. Open fireplaces must be closed off unless the tenant requests otherwise.
From 1 July 2021, private landlords must comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of a new or renewed tenancy. All private rentals must comply 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.
While the compliance timeframes may still be a while away, it’s a good idea to get started early. Professional installers may be booked up closer to the deadline.
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 was created to address three issues:
- tenant liability for careless damage
- unlawful residential premises
- contamination of premises.
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 came into force on 27 August 2019. This means the legislation applies from this date, and landlords and tenants need to comply with the changes now.
If you’re not sure what you need to do to comply with the new legislation, use these steps as a guide:
1. Take the time to understand the requirements
Read the online information on the healthy homes standards and Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019. There are also five guidance documents for the healthy homes standards that provide additional information on how to comply.
2. Assess your rental properties for current levels of compliance
Landlords can access their rental properties for the purpose of complying, or preparing to comply, with the healthy homes standards. You must give the tenant at least 24 hours’ written notice before entering.
Take this time to check your property against the healthy homes standards and see where upgrades may be necessary. You can also use this time to take the necessary measurements for calculating your heating requirements.
3. New or renewed tenancy? Make sure you include all the required statements
Both the healthy homes standards and the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 require landlords to include additional statements in new tenancy agreements.
4. Plan for compliance with the healthy homes standards
Once you know what (if any) upgrades your property needs, budget for these in your maintenance plans. If you can, don’t leave it to the last minute, as professional installers may get booked up closer to the deadline.
5. Keep any records that show your compliance with the healthy homes standards
Landlords need to keep records of all documents that show how they are complying with the healthy homes standards.