Landlords should make sure their rental properties can be well heated and ventilated. Warm and healthy rental properties help tenants avoid illnesses and make them more likely to stay longer.
Landlords should consider how tenants can heat and ventilate the house
Landlords don’t have to provide heating in every room, but they do have to provide a form of heating in any living room under the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947. To get advice about what is an approved form of heating please contact your local council. The requirement for heating in any living room under the Housing Improvement Regulations is not dependent on whether or not the premises are insulated under these regulations.
The Tenancy Tribunal may consider this requirement met where the landlord has provided an inexpensive plug in heater (or similar) if the local council does not have a list of approved forms of heating under these regulations. You can help provide a warm comfortable home by making sure the house has enough power points for your tenants to plug in their own heaters.
Ventilation is also important. You should think about how you can make sure the tenant can ventilate the house while keeping it safe and secure. Window stays can be good for this.
Inadequate heating and ventilation can lead to mould growth and dampness. See our page on mould and dampness for more information on how to minimise or prevent it.
Landlords are responsible for maintenance
If you’re a landlord who provides heating and ventilation for your rental property, you’re responsible for maintenance. If there’s a useable fireplace, the chimney needs to be safe and regularly cleaned (check your insurance policy). It’s best to permanently block off unusable fireplaces to prevent tenants using it and to reduce draught.
Landlords are also responsible for regularly servicing ducted heating and ventilation systems.
Warm and healthy homes are good for tenants
When a home is warm and healthy, it’s less likely that tenants will suffer health problems caused by cold and damp, such as respiratory illnesses like asthma, and serious diseases like rheumatic fever. This is particularly true for children, older people, or those who already have poor health.
Warm and healthy homes are good for landlords too
Tenants are likely to stay longer in a rental property that’s warm and cheap to heat. This reduces the costs of high tenant turnover.
Tenants in a damp or cold home are more likely to suffer avoidable illness, often resulting in unplanned medical bills and time off work. Unexpected financial burdens like this may increase the risk of missed rent payments.
A rental property that’s well-insulated and has energy-efficient heating and appliances (such as ENERGY STAR® rated whiteware, energy-saving light bulbs, and efficient shower heads) is easier to market and can attract a higher rent.
Tips and actions
- the simplest way to ventilate your home, even in winter, is to open the doors and windows regularly to allow fresh air in. Good ventilation is important for maintaining healthy indoor air and reducing the amount of moisture in your home will make it easier to heat.
- extractor fans that vent to the outside are good to have in wet areas of the home such as the bathroom and kitchen to help remove damp air. Bathroom extractor fans are often connected to the light switch so that they come on automatically and go off ten minutes after the light is turned off
- dryers vented to the outside reduce the amount of moisture released inside the house.
- mechanical ventilation systems that source air from the outside may be a good option if tenants are out all day, and/or if the property is near a source of noise such as a busy road or airport. Some systems come with heat exchange units, which transfers the bulk of the heat from the outgoing air into the fresh air coming from the outside
- unflued gas heaters release moisture and pollutants into the indoor air during combustion. Landlords may choose to ban the use of portable LPG cabinet heaters in the tenancy agreement
- use this checklist from Energywise (external link) to give you an indication of how warm and comfortable a home is – the more ticks the better!
Did you know?
The World Health Organisation and New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend these
temperatures for your house:
- A minimum of 18° during the day, or a minimum of 20° for more vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and people who are ill.
- A minimum of 16° in your bedroom overnight.