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Healthy Homes

Landlords will soon have to comply with healthy homes standards. If you are asked to carry out work to help with compliance, there are several information sources you will find useful.

Cold, damp and mouldy houses are bad for our health – especially for people with asthma and heart conditions.The healthy homes standards, which were made law in 2019, aim to ensure that all people in rental properties live in a warm, dry home.

Changes kick in on 1 July 2021
The standards establish minimum requirements for heating, moisture ingress and drainage, insulation, ventilation and draught stopping. Compliance deadlines for the standards start from 1 July 2021, less than 6 months away.

The responsibility for complying with the healthy homes standards sits with landlords. Landlords should be acting now to ensure they comply. Staying informed about the standards enables you to assist landlords in making the right decisions on the work they need done to get their properties to comply.

Know about the insulation standard
The insulation standard is one of the areas covered by the healthy homes standards, and it is important to be aware of it. New Zealand already has minimum insulation requirements, and the healthy homes standards build on these, so some existing insulation may need to be topped up or replaced. All existing insulation must be in reasonable condition to meet the requirements.

This means there should be no mould, dampness, damage or gaps, and all insulation must be installed in accordance with NZS 4246:2016

Energy efficiency
Installing bulk thermal insulation in residential buildings. Where to direct landlords If landlords ask you questions about the standards, you can point them to the Tenancy Services website, which has plenty of information.

There is an insulation tool available at https://www.tenancy. govt.nz/maintenance-and-inspections/insulation/insulation-tool/ that can help landlords find out if they need to upgrade or replace the insulation to meet the healthy homes standard

There is also an online guidance document: Healthy homes standards – Insulation available at www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes/insulationstandard/ to help assess whether a property is compliant. It may be useful for you to look at the guidance document as it has details about the technical requirements that need to be met to ensure compliance.

Healthy Homes changes kick in on 1 July 2021

Be aware of other requirements
It can also pay to be aware of the healthy homes standards outside your area of work or expertise. As these standards are often implemented in the same area of the home, it is possible to undo the work completed by other tradespeople to comply with the rest of the standards if you do not know what to look for. For example, electrical workers may pull out insulation to install wiring in the roof space and not put it back correctly, which can seriously impact the home and its compliance with the insulation standard. While electrical workers are simply doing their job, they may be unaware of the need to maintain compliance with all five of the healthy homes standards.

By being aware of the other standards and keeping this top of mind while undertaking work, you can help the landlord maintain compliance with the standards.

This article is published in conjunction with Tenancy Services
See www.tenancy.govt.nz/healthy-homes