The Healthy Homes Standards are now in draft form with new requirements for Ventilation, Heating, Insulation, Moisture Ingress, and Draught Stopping all but established.
The deadline for new standards to be met is two years away, 1 July 2021, however if a tenancy starts after that date, rental properties will have 90 days to become compliant, longer term tenancies have until 1 July 2024.
Today I’m going to look at two of these requirements, Ventilation and Heating, and share what you need to know now to get ahead of the game and confirm to you what is still to be released. This is information has been provided to date, but remember – we always advocate waiting until it’s all in set in concrete with details finalised to avoid doubling up or taking unnecessary action.
Ventilation – New Upcoming Standards
New ventilation requirements state that the property must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. The window area must be equal to at least 5% of the rooms total floor area, and an appropriately sized extractor fan must be in rooms with a bath, or a shower, or indoor cooktop. So what type of extractor fan is needed and how powerful will the airflow need to be? These points are yet to be confirmed and more information on this from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development will be announced later this year. Most of you will already have extractor fans in these areas, however if not, it would be wise to allow us to establish if your property has a switchboard capable of powering extractor fans in the kitchen or bathroom, this should be the case but it might pay to check. This is something our property managers will be assessing during their routine inspections using a Healthy Homes Checklist once official. In the unlikely event the switchboard is older and does not allow for this, then it may need upgrading before installation of any new fans.
Heating – New Upcoming Standards
When the Healthy Homes standards do become law, rental properties must have a fixed heating device capable of achieving a minimum temperature of 18˚C in the living room only. This is the recommended minimum indoor living temperature for adults to be living in according to the World Health Organisation. What has yet to be decided? The government will release an online tool later this year to help determine the type of heating device required for the living room. This online tool will allow us to input the room size, number of windows, insulation levels and will then determine what sort of heater would be needed for that living room. It will calculate the minimum kilowatts needed and it will provide a print out for variables and state the required minimum capacity of the heater. This printout may be used to confirm compliance that the property meets the minimum heating standard and it is also yet to be confirmed if this printout could be a requirement of all tenancy agreements. What do you need to know now? If you want to install a heating device before regulations, you would be safe to install a fixed device such as a heat pump or wood burner as both have been earmarked as acceptable to meet the heating standard. Investment in any other heating device should be delayed until further information is released later in the year, for example, a smaller electric heaters may be acceptable in smaller rooms or apartments but this has not yet been confirmed.
I will be covering the other new standards in upcoming newsletters as we are already training our property managers on these issues. Be assured we are partnering with you to provide information, advice and guidance as it dcomes to hand. I hip this has been helpful, until next time…
General Manager – Property Management
Auckland Property Management
Contact us if you have any questions about the Healthy Homes Standards on the form below.