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The Healthy Homes Act
The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act Regulations are put in place to ensure that every New Zealand home is warm and dry, and it is our job to make you aware of these regulations…
A fixed form of heating is required to be installed in every living space and must be capable of achieving a minimum temperature of 18 degrees. A typical form of heating that will comply is a heat pump or a wood burner. The heating source that complies in your living room depends on a number of factors, and this is yet to be published as a part of the standard. Some examples of heating devices that are inefficient and will fail to comply with the standards include small electric heaters, unflued gas heaters and open fires.
On the 1st July 2016 it became a legal requirement for all rental properties, boarding houses, rental caravans, and self-contained sleep outs, to have long-life photo-electric or hard-wired smoke alarms fitted.
Smoke alarms are required to be fitted on each level or story of a home, and within 3 meters of every bedroom door or in every room where a person sleeps.
Smoke alarms should be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and meet international standards. For more information on installing smoke alarms visit - https://fireandemergency.nz/at-home/smoke-alarms
Insulation must meet the standards outlined in the 2008 Building Code, or if existing in the ceiling space; have a minimum thickness of 120mm. Adequate insulation has been proven by the University of Otago to result in noticeable health benefits.
Did you top up your insulation to meet the 2016 insulation requirements? Don’t stress! You may be exempt from complying with the new standards, as long as your insulation is still in good condition and is compliant in terms of the 2016 requirements by the 1st July 2019. The new rules are going to affect rental properties that were not required to retrofit insulation under the 2016 requirements.
Many houses in New Zealand are affected by dampness. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Lack of ventilation including the lack of ducted bathroom fans and range hoods
- The use of unflued gas heaters
- Inadequate insulation
- Drying washing inside
- Leaking pipes
- Moisture ingress
- Overcrowding of spaces
Condensation occurs when temperatures inside a house cool down. Cooler air cannot hold as much water vapour so it turns into a liquid and appears as condensation which is visible on cold, non-absorbent surfaces. Keeping a dwelling at a constant temperature will help reduce condensation.
All houses should be adequately ventilated for at least 15 minutes a day, which can be achieved by the opening windows. This is especially important in winter when moisture levels are most likely to increase. Windows are required to be openable and appropriate extractor fans will need to be fitted in bathrooms and kitchens. Mould and mildew should be cleaned regularly to prevent the inhalation of mould spores which can impact on health.
Moisture Ingress, Drainage and Draughts
Landlords are required to ensure adequate drainage, spouting, downpipes and drains are in place. If a house has a subfloor, a damp-proof membrane (DPM) will be required to be installed. Landlords also need to stop any unnecessary gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, doors or unused fireplaces. Draughts in a home mean that it is easier for heat to escape; if cold air is coming in, hot air is getting out! The guidelines for some of these requirements are still yet to be released but will clearly outline expectations.
Just remember, although you have until 1st July 2024 to make sure that your rental property meets the national rental standards, its best to get onto these things as soon as possible. Companies such as insulation installers will get busier and busier and to ensure you don’t miss out, get in quick!
If you unsure as to whether your rental property will meet the standards, give us a call on 0800 4 Truth (0800 487 884) and we can come and take a look!