1. Think ahead

When does your rental property need to comply with the healthy homes standards? Compliance dates depend on the type of tenancy and when you have a new or renewed tenancy starting. Knowing when you need to comply will help you plan out what needs to be done and when to do it.

More information on compliance dates(external link)

Figuring out what heating you need in your main living room is a good place to start. A fixed-heating source for that room will be mandatory in all rental properties. Use the heating assessment tool on the Tenancy Services website(external link) to find out what size/capacity you’ll need for your main living room.

Some heating installers offer great deals on heating devices like heat pumps at particular times of the year, and sometimes there can be a delay in getting the one you need, so pick up the phone as soon as you can to get some quotes. Heating the living room can make a big difference to your tenants’ health.

DID YOU KNOW? If the heating you provide is an electric heater or heat pump, it must have a thermostat. This will make the heating more consistent and help tenants use it efficiently.

More information on the heating standard(external link)

2. Keep it cosy

A well-insulated property can help control condensation and reduce the chances of mould and other nasties taking hold. Your property will retain heat better – a dry house is a warmer house.

Think of insulating as an investment in the longevity of your property and its ability to attract long-term tenants, as visible mould is an easy way to drive tenants away. Ceiling and underfloor insulation became compulsory for all rental properties on 1 July 2019, so if you haven’t already organised this, it’s time to get it ticked off the to-do list.

If you’ve already installed new insulation since 1 July 2016 then it should already meet the healthy homes insulation standard. You probably won’t need to do anything further but you should still check that the insulation is in a reasonable condition.

Use the online insulation tool on the Tenancy Services website(external link) to see if you need to upgrade your insulation to meet the healthy homes standards.

TIP Save time and money by putting your underfloor insulation in at the same time as your moisture barrier (if you need one for the moisture ingress and drainage standard).

More information on the insulation standard(external link)

3. Already a fan

It’s important to keep warm air inside during winter, but it’s just as vital to get damp air out because dry air is easier to heat. A well-ventilated rental is also less susceptible to rot, as well as being a lot healthier and more pleasant for your tenants.

It’s important to make sure each liveable space (spaces where people spend time – you don’t need to worry about hallways, for example) has a window, skylight or door that opens to the outdoors to allow air to circulate. Kitchens and bathrooms need to have an extractor fan, or a continuous mechanical ventilation system to push damp air, from cooking and bathing, outside.

Use the ventilation tool on the Tenancy Services website(external link) to find out if you need to install new extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom of your rental property.

TIP Ensuring windows, doors and skylights can be fixed in an open position is a legal requirement and it also makes it easier for your property to be well ventilated.

More information on the ventilation standard(external link)

4. Deny the damp

Put a cap on rising damp.

If you have an enclosed space under your house (a suspended floor) then a polythene ground moisture barrier must be installed if it is reasonably practicable to do so. A ground moisture barrier (a polythene sheet which can be bought from most hardware stores) is like a cap for moisture. It helps block the moisture in the ground from rising into the property, and also helps to prevent moisture damage to the underfloor insulation. You can install it yourself or use a building professional.

TIP While you’re under the house, check your pipes are in good nick and get any leaks under the house fixed right away.

More information on the moisture ingress and drainage standard(external link)

5. Mind the gap

Draughty homes costs more to heat, as well as feeling less homely. This is an easy way to keep your property warm and secure, while making your tenants happier.

As a rule of thumb, gaps or holes with a width greater than 3mm in or around the walls, ceilings, windows, doors and floors that let air into or out of the home will usually require blocking to prevent unreasonable draughts. This means that if the edge of a New Zealand $2 dollar coin can fit in the gap, then the gap needs to be sealed, unless it is an intended part of the construction.

TIP If an open fireplace isn’t in use, it can cause draughts – make sure it is blocked off.

More information about the draught stopping standard(external link)