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The Government releases proposals that could set new standards for heating, ventilation, dampness and draught control in rental homes

The Government releases proposals that could set new standards for heating, ventilation, dampness and draught control in rental homes

The Government has released draft proposals aimed at improving the quality of rental homes by making them warmer, drier and less draughty.

The proposals are contained within a consultation document that the public can make submissions on, so its likely both landlords and tenants will have plenty to say before the proposals become law.

The proposals aim to introduce minimum standards for rental properties in five areas; heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress, drainage and draught stopping.

The public can make submissions on what the standards should be and when they should be introduced.

Among the options under consideration are whether landlords should be required to provide heating in their properties, and if so, what type of heating that should be and should it be in all rooms or just some rooms.

There are also proposals to set minimum standards regarding dampness and drainage and appropriate levels of draught stopping.

Any new requirements that are introduced will be on top of rules for smoke alarms and ceiling and floor insulation that were introduced 2016 and with which landlords must comply by July next year.

"Improving heating, insulation, ventilation drainage and controlling moisture and draughts will go a long way to improving the quality of rental homes," Housing Minister Phil Twyford said.

"We want to hear from landlords, tenants and any other interested New Zealanders about these proposals," he said.

People have until 22 October to make submissions on the proposals.

Here is a summary of the proposed standards.

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53 Comments

TM2, do all your Christchurch rentals already meet or exceed the proposed new standards?

Hi retried-poppy, welcome back!
Did you submit photos of your home for use by interest.co? You should really complete some of the deferred maintenance instead of leaving it to your kids to sort out the mess

You're very quiet there reti-red poppy. Been busy checking the household budget again?

Some of the things the government wants to bring in will mean that rental properties will be warmer than those with owner occupiers.
AKA beneficiaries with Sky TV and me never having had it.

No need for Sky telly these days. There are better options out there if you have good internet, for much less money.

Some of the things the government requires a vehicle to have means that cars driven on the road will be safer than those without a WOF & Reg in someones backyard.
AKA car hoarders with classic car bodies on blocks and me never having had one.

Having a warm dry home should not be considered a luxury - especially when you are paying hundreds of dollars a week in rent.
Owners can bring their own homes up to whatever standard they choose - I doubt that needs regulation.

Many things should not be considered a luxury, but it doesn't mean it's standard issue, it still has to be earned and paid for. So to pay for the extra level of service and quality in a rental do you think there may be a cost to it Jimbo. And if you don't like paying hundreds of dollars rent how will you feel in future as rents continue to rise fast. Oh but that's just a LL throwing his toys you will say as you have your head stuck firmly in a dark place.

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Houseworks, its your head that's firmly wedged in a dark place. If you think Landlords can take it for granted these costs can be passed on - wish again. It's obvious you cannot see further than your bank mortgage statement.

Reality is a certainly a contentious topic for some ;-)

My mortgage statement is just fine thanks for mentioning it. I only need to refer to it once a year when I claim the interest as a tax write off against my income to legally reduce tax liability, isnt it good. Cue the uproar from the permanently envious herewith

Houseworks, err-um, nows hardly the time to gloat about being a negative geared Landlord. Soon comes Ring Fencing :-(

Guess we should get rid of WOF requirements on cars too, then.

BTW have you lodged your tenants' bonds yet?

Sorry rick but this govt has no business sense and no common sense. I notice that whenever you have no decent response you revert to pathetic responses

There's nothing pathetic about requiring safety standards for vehicles or housing.

Nor complying with the law around lodging tenant's bonds.

There is no WOF in Australia but then it's not a 3rd world country. All the new heating is great but next the tenants will claim they cannot afford to run it so que another government subsidy.

Doesn't cost a fortune to run heating when there is effective insulation. Only costs a fortune to heat the average rental because there is no insulation so the heat just exits via single glazed windows and uninsulated walls.

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“I’m not putting up the rent because I’m a nice guy. If the Government brings in these changes then I’m doubling the rent. They’ll be sorry they ever messed with me.”

Yes and no nzdan. Our rents are sometimes way below market for good stable tenants because they are important for us running our business. I don't think that makes me a nice guy, possibly just a pragmatist!

I don't really enjoy subsidising poor quality rentals via an increased public health spend..Decent minimum standards for rentals can't come soon enough.

Paying rent is not a privilege thing ,you are not entitle to anything. It's a free market, well, due to current house shortage, this will bring tenants no good news, because landlord will put rent up again.

It always amazes me how they want to bring in higher standards for rental properties but the changes do not cover properties that are owner occupied. Are these children any less important.

Do owner occupiers charge others hundreds of dollars a week for the privilege of occupying their property?

Yes, book a batch, air BnB, Boarders, Home Stay kids, flatmates, etc.

Also the potential long term health cost to children living in owner occupied moldy homes could be very high! I would go so far as to say the the potential health costs to children living in identical houses where one is rented and another is owner occupied could potentially be exactly the same!

If its a business you are obligated to provide goods that are fit for purpose.

Just like lunchbars are require to have food preparation and storage to a required minimum standard and there is no standard required for private homes. One is a business selling that product to others, and one is your own problem if it makes you sick.

Yeah, so wherever there’s a contract or agreement in place, you know, when business is being conducted, then there’s going to be the expectation that business is held to a level of standard.

You’re clutching at straws with your examples though, let’s not ignore practicality for the sake of pushing an argument. For far too long landlords have been able to switch and choose hats to suit themselves.

“No I’m a business so I’ll claim my interest costs against my personal income”. “But it’s my home so no pets allowed, no pictures on the wall” all while renting out complete dumps. The day that an owner occupier can claim interest costs and other expenses from their home against their personal income will be the day I agree with applying the WOF to all homes.

Paying rent is not a privilege thing ,you are not entitle to anything. You want to have privilege to do something, yes, go ahead buy yourself one.

But collecting rent is.. its a privilege granted to you by the laws of NZ, and those laws dictate that you must provide a property meeting various minimum standards, or deal with penalties as handed out by various courts and tribunals.

Only boomers watch Sky TV these days. Everyone else has Apple TV and Google Chrome to watch Netflix, Lightbox using free apps for a tiny fraction of the price.

uninterested,

Do you mean that you live in a poorly insulated and heated home? If so,you're an idiot,but that's your affair. Tenants should have access to decent accommodation-and I am a landlord-and my life experience has been that when you treat people well,most respond well. Of course there will always be bad tenants and the system must have adequate measures to deal with them,as it now needs to deal with the all too many bad landlords.

Ventilation or draught stopping.
What is it to be punk?

Ventilation could refer to an adequate bathroom fan - unless of course you like ceiling paint flaking off?

Good ventilation should be via a heat recovery system - fresh air without losing too much heat. I guess the standard DVS type systems do achieve this to some degree (pardon the pun) due to roof temperature being warmer than outside temperature.

Both. Ventilation during the day when it's warm and relatively low humidity outside, and draught stopping so the house can be kept reasonably warm in a howling southerly.

Retired Poppy, yes all our properties we currently own exceed the minimum requirement
The one we haven’t settled on yet needs underfloor insulation which we have booked someone into to look into when we have settled!
We have never had any problem with tenants saying that the house is cold and many of our rentals have more than 1 heat pump.

Healthy homes are a great idea but these rules should be applied to all homes not just rentals, it's suppost to be about health for Kiwi's. Equally if and when a capital gains tax is bought in which I'm for it should apply to everything, all houses, business sales, farms anything of a capital nature. If it was applied to everything it would increase the tax take enormously for re-investing in infrustructure. Studies show a rate around 5% to 7.5% work the best balance. To much targeting of rentals will imbalance the rental pool and have unintended effects on the people who do rent as costs end up at the end of the chain i.e.the person renting

Agree, but only if there are occupants with no choice in the health standard of their home e.g. children.

Yeah, imagine it! We could send Oranga Tamariki (CYF) around with a moisture meter and nightsticks, give them the power to confiscate the kids because the house is too damp. Take the body cam footage and chuck it on Police Ten-7.

You are free to apply these minimum standards to your own home if you wish. If you don't think the insulation is up to spec then get on the blower and call the owner and tell him the house isn't fit for habitation and you'll be moving out. Threaten to withhold rent payments and take him to tenancy tribunal too.

Should be amusing for your wife & kids to watch you yell at yourself about being a tightass.

What if there's some DHB stats kicking around that show a much much higher proportion of hospital admissions are from people/children who live in rentals? Sure I'm talking hypothetically, but it's still within the realms of possibility that Owner Occupier homes just don't have the same number of people getting sick?

Seriously, many of my friends live in rental houses/flats - and a good 50% of them are grottos - hardly fit for a dog. Too often they are cold/damp/draughty, dark, dirty and smelly.

Anything that raises the standard of rental accommodation in this country ought to be welcomed - especially the worst of the dwellings.

Personally, I'd like to see much tougher penalties for landlords that flout the regulations. Hefty fines would be a good start.

TTP

I’m all for this. The requirements aren’t that difficult to meet and are just the right thing to do. Good heating, ventilation and insulation keeps the house in better condition as it reduces the likelihood of damp and mold, so there is benefit for landlords as well. No doubt some or all of the cost will be passed on through rent increases in the long run though.

Beware of unintended consequences.... although I guess they could always just jack up the accommodation supplement and get a few thousand more hooked on government handouts...

Yes that's exactly what they did not that long ago. Given about 85% of MPs are landlords no conflict of interest at all...

How about the Govt keep it simple. Mandatory for all rentals to have underfloor and ceiling insulation, a DVS for removing dampness and a heat pump.

Joy oh joy. Keep bringing in these compulsory regulations... keep em coming until it becomes uneconomic ot be a landlord, thereby opening up more opportunity to our rentier class to own instead of rent. If that's the plan...it's a great one. Make home ownership great again!

I really don't care. Unless you pull the house down it won't change the level of accomodation in the country.

Ya gotta just shake your head sometimes, dontcha? In all the comments above no one states the stunningly obvious. Our current housing stock is largely made up of dwellings built in a different time and, as with all things consumable, many have exceeded their planned service life. Some have been tarted up to look nice but the bones are still old and the one and only solution is complete replacement to current standards.

It is as simple as this, if your dwelling was not originally built with double glazing it will need to go soon enough. Sure you may be able to offload it to some sucker newbie or slumlord, but they will run out too when they realize it is terminal and that these dwellings are cheap for a reason.

I've always lived in houses with no double glazing and have never had a problem with damp or staying warm. Sometimes I think people expect to wander around their house in t shirts and jandals in the middle of winter, and blame the landlord if they cant. Put a jumper on - its not rocket science.

Where do you live ? all Auckland homes get mould to some level, just take a look on the back of your curtains. We just had to clean ours and the house is elevated and has the entire length North facing. The humidity in Auckland is the problem its 70-90% just about all the time. You have to run dehumidifiers flat out and keep emptying them out every 2 days to keep the moisture levels down. No form of heating or double glazing will solve the problem.

Not true, good insulation and proper thermal break double glazing plus a moderate amount of ventilation during the day and you wont have a problem.

Sure and we would all like to own one.
But in the town of the best Bluff Oysters and chips I knew two people who said they had lived in houses where they could see through the bedroom wall and they didnt mean a window.
There does need to be a minimum standard for tenancies.

This is a typical BRANZ effort, prescriptive, no room for compromise and no onus on the occupier to take reasonable care.
The usual clue for an unhealthy home is mould and it may be enough that the landlord can demonstrate the house when closed,unheated and unoccupied is not mouldy.
The rest could be simply that any occupied room in the house can sustain 18 in mid winter. The assumption is people who are cold or hot can change their clothing
As a luxury there could be one openable secure window, usually bathroom.
They wont do that, its BRANZ.

Any proposed standards should be applied to all houses (that is if the standards really were sensible standards). They should be implemented when new houses are built - not repeatedly reviewed and applied retrospectively.

Days to the General Election: 25
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.