Landlords should make sure their rental home can be well heated and ventilated. Tenants are responsible for ventilating the home during their tenancy.
Heating your rental home
Currently landlords must provide a form of heating in any living room under the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947. Some councils may provide information on approved forms of heating. If they don't, the Tenancy Tribunal may consider an inexpensive plug in heater (or similar) to be enough. However this type of heater will most likely not meet the healthy homes standards.
Heating is one of the healthy homes standards. All private rentals must comply with the healthy homes standards 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 Housing New Zealand and registered Community Housing Providers must comply by 1 July 2023.
Keeping the home ventilated
Good ventilation reduces the amount of moisture in your home. This helps keep tenants healthy and also makes the home easier to heat.
Ventilation is also one of the healthy homes standards.
If you’re a landlord, you might also want to think about:
- a dryer that vents to the outside
- a central ventilation system that sources air from the outside
Tenants should open doors and windows regularly to let fresh air in, even in winter.
Opening windows when cooking or showering, gets rid of excess moisture in your rental home. Keeping the bathroom door closed during and after showering can help prevent steam from spreading further.
Poor heating and ventilation can lead to mould growth and dampness.
Maintaining heaters and ventilation systems
Landlords are responsible for maintaining any heaters and ventilation systems. Currently if there’s a usable fireplace, the chimney needs to be safe and regularly cleaned. This may also be required for your insurance.
Under the healthy homes standards, landlords will need to close up open fireplaces or block the chimney unless the tenant asks in writing for it to remain usable and the landlord agrees.
Benefits for tenants and landlords
When a home is warm and dry, tenants are less likely to suffer health problems caused by cold and damp. This includes respiratory illnesses like asthma and more serious diseases like rheumatic fever.
Avoidable illnesses can result in unplanned medical bills and time off work. These extra costs can increase the risk of missed rent payments. Tenants are also likely to stay longer if their home is warm and cheap to heat.
A well-insulated home that has energy-efficient heating and appliances is easier to market and can attract a higher rent.
EECA Energywise’s buying and renting checklist (external link) can help show you how warm and comfortable the home is.