‘Healthy home’ rental property standards announced

The Government has announced new minimum standards for rental houses. The health aims are laudable, but are the practical or enforceable?

And will they result in more people dumping their property investments? This adds to financial disincentives for landlords, which will increase further if a more comprehensive property Capital Gains Tax looks likely as recommended by the Tax Working Group.

I wonder why this has been announced on a Sunday?

Standards to make homes warm and dry released

The new healthy homes standards to make rental properties warmer and drier were today announced by Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford.

The standards set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in residential rental properties. They reflect feedback from a wide range of public health experts, stakeholders including landlords, tenants and building experts.

Phil Twyford said making sure all New Zealanders had warm, dry homes was one of the most important public health changes the Government could make.

“Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand, and our rental stock is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes. It’s estimated about 200,000 families live in rental homes that do not have ceiling or underfloor insulation.

“The Ministry of Health says 6,000 children are admitted each year for ‘housing-sensitive hospitalisations’. These children have been found to be nearly four times more likely to be re-hospitalised and 10 times more likely to die in the following 10 years. We cannot continue to accept this.”

The new standards go a long way toward making rental homes healthier for tenants:

  • All rental homes will be required to have a heater that can heat the main living area to 18oC.
  • Rental homes must have ceiling and underfloor insulation that either meets the 2008 Building Code insulation standard, or (for existing ceiling insulation) has a minimum thickness of 120mm.
  • Rental homes will also be drier under these changes as kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or rangehoods.
  • Where rental homes have an enclosed subfloor space  property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home
  • The standards also reinforce existing law that says landlords must have adequate drainage and guttering to prevent water entering the home.
  • Draughts that make a home harder to heat will have to be blocked.

“The standards are pragmatic, enduring and don’t impose an unreasonable burden on landlords and industry while being mindful that renters need to have warmer and drier homes as soon as possible,” Phil Twyford says.

The next step is for the standards to be drafted in regulations and approved by Cabinet. The regulations will become law by mid-2019.

Compliance timeline for the new standards:

  • 1 July 2021 – From this date, private landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with the healthy home standards within 90 days of any new tenancy.
  • 1 July 2021 – All boarding houses must comply with the healthy home standards.
  • 1 July 2023 – All Housing New Zealand houses and registered Community Housing Providers houses must comply with the healthy home standards.
  • 1 July 2024 – All rental homes must comply with the healthy home standards.

For more information on the healthy homes standards visit the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website.

Leave a comment


  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  24th February 2019

    How can the people be forced to USE the heater ? Will the landlord have to go and turn it on and off ?

    How can the landlord make sure that people like the idiots we saw on the news who keep the curtains drawn on sunny days and never open windows won’t do this and have the place hermetically sealed so that it goes mouldy ?

    Door sausages are cheap; you can even make one for nothing.

  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  24th February 2019

    Extractor fans ? What about the oldfashioned open window ? What if the tenants don’t use them or let them become so dirty that they break down ?

  3. Does anyone know how these “standards” will map onto existing structures? That was one of the biggest problems when the pool fencing rules were dreamed up.

    And what is to be the approach to enforcement?

    • Pink David

       /  24th February 2019

      If you do a good job of insulation, and the tenant hunts down every ‘draft’ with a vengeance, you end up with a sauna.

  4. Reply
  5. David

     /  24th February 2019

    Great news, this will force out more landlords and cheaper lower quality houses will no longer be viable as rentals reducing stock and pushing up rents.
    Twyford is just excellent for anyone in the property market, he is pushing up rents by reducing the rental stock through taxes and regulations and failing to supply many new houses to compensate.
    Please please lets hope they except Cullens whacky tax plan as well.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th February 2019

    The guy is a moron. Stopping draughts just ensures a mouldy home in the north. And how does the idiot think an extractor fan is going to work if no fresh air can get in?

  1. ‘Healthy home’ rental property standards announced — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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