The new healthy homes standards, announced by Housing Minister Phil Twyford, has set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage in all residential rental properties across New Zealand.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says the standards reflect feedback from a wide range of public health experts and stakeholders including landlords, tenants and building experts.
An estimated 200,000 families living in rental homes do not have underfloor or ceiling insulation. Each year 6,000 children are admitted for housing-sensitive hospitalisations.
Twyford said these children are nearly four times more likely to be re-hospitalised and 10 times more likely to die in the following 10 years. "We cannot continue to accept this."
Twyford said the new rules were some of the "most important public health changes the Government could make".
From July 2021, private landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the standards.
The new required standards
- Heating: Rental homes must have a fixed heating device that can heat a main living area to 18C. - Insulation: Ceiling and underfloor insulation must have a minimum thickness of 120mm, or meet the 2008 building code. - Ventilation: Windows in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room must be operable and extractor fans must be in rooms with a bath or shower, on indoor cooktop. - Moisture and drainage: If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor, property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home. - Draughts: Unnecessary gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and doors that cause noticeable draughts must be stopped by landlords. All unused chimneys and fireplaces must be blocked.