To help, we spoke with Sarina Gibbon, the General Manager of the Auckland Property Investors' Association(external link). She had some great tips to share.
Thanks for talking to us Sarina.
What kinds of rental homes do your landlord members have?
They tend to own and rent out stand-alone houses, though there are some members who have a focus on apartments and student accommodation.
How do your landlord members go about checking their rental homes to see what they need to do to meet the five healthy homes standards?
It's a mix really.
Full-time landlords who are more traditional do-it-yourself types tend to inspect the properties themselves, while the part-time landlords tend to rely on the expertise of private healthy homes standards inspection companies to find the baseline compliance level more efficiently.
What is your advice to landlords when they're checking if their rentals meet the standards?
In the first instance, we recommend to our members that they engage reputable inspection companies given the complexity of the healthy homes standards.
If a member feels confident enough to inspect themselves, we always recommend that they use the Tenancy Services' pdf compliance guidelines (you can find these on the Tenancy Services website(external link) under the information about each standard), and their tools(external link) and checklists(external link) as a good starting point.
We also host regular meetings to connect these members with industry experts who can go into more detail about the practical aspects of compliance, share stories and give best practice suggestions.
What conversations have your landlord members had with their tenants while working on getting the rental up to standard?
In addition to making sure they're giving the right notice to their tenants in order to enter the premises to inspect the property(external link) for healthy homes standards compliance, our members will also check in with their tenants in case there are any urgent cold/dampness issues that need addressing.
Our members are generally quite happy to be clear with tenants about what's required to get the home up to standard, and the expected timeframe to get that work done.
Some members share healthy living tips(external link) with tenants (such as turning extractor fans on, not drying laundry indoors if they're able to avoid it, making sure they open the windows regularly etc).
If any new appliances are installed, for example a new heat pump, sharing any important information about safe use and how to keep it clean is also beneficial. While landlords are responsible for maintenance, tenants do have to keep the home reasonably clean and tidy, which includes the appliances. Landlords should show tenants how to clean and keep clean any accessible filters or units when doing the first inspection of the property.
What benefits do you think are there for landlords and tenants in having warmer and drier rental homes?
There is no doubt in my mind that the healthy homes standards set a benchmark not just for the health and well-being of tenants but also for the quality of our rental property stock.
In the long-term, a better quality property lessens the burden of maintenance and repair on landlords, potentially freeing budgets up to make more meaningful improvements to the properties.
It's a win-win really, for landlords and tenants.