Benefits of New Builds Versus Existing Builds

There are lots of factors to consider when deciding on the types of property to invest in. The location of the property is important, as is the style and character. The state of the property is also essential as the cost of doing upgrade or repair work will eat into your profits.

Whether the property is a new build or an existing home is part of the equation too. Many investors choose existing builds as they are often in prime locations, they can have a character that is appealing, and they can be less costly to buy than new builds.

However, the new Healthy Homes legislation recently introduced has changed the landscape for property investors and landlords. As a result, new builds are set to become an increasingly popular option.

Overview of the New Healthy Homes Standards

The new Healthy Homes Standards, which became law on 1 July 2019, aim to increase the standard of homes in the rental market in New Zealand. This includes ensuring homes have a proper heater, that rented homes can effectively retain heat, and that rented homes are free from damp and moisture.

The highlights of the new standards include:

  • The main living room of the properties you rent must have a fixed heater that can heat the room to 18 degrees Celsius
  • Your properties must have appropriate ceiling and floor insulation
  • There must be adequate ventilation in your rented properties including extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms
  • You must stop draughts by, for example, blocking gaps under doors or blocking up unused chimneys
  • The gutters and downpipes must be in good condition to ensure water doesn’t get into the houses you rent out

The Problem with Older Properties

As a property investor, you will know that investing in older properties usually requires a commitment to complete upgrade or repair works. You will factor this work into your calculations to ensure you get a good return on investment.

The new Healthy Homes standards now add another element to the mix, however.

The standards are the right approach as it’s important that the quality of rented properties in New Zealand is improved.

That said, you need to make sure your business is viable and continues to deliver an adequate return. Therefore, if older properties make up all or part of your current portfolio, or you are considering making new investments, you can view the new Healthy Homes standards as an opportunity.

The New Build Opportunity

This opportunity is to take a fresh look at your investment strategy with a view to moving away from investing in older properties to instead investing in new builds. This is because new builds are likely to meet the standards set out in the Healthy Homes legislation out of the box.

In other words, when you invest in a new build, you won’t have to do any further work to ensure the house is warm, healthy, and comfortable to live in. The new build may cost you more, but over the medium and long-term, you will get a better return on investment.

You will also reduce the risk of tenants raising disputes with you in relation to the Healthy Homes standards, plus you will improve your reputation as a landlord who not only follows the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law as well.

The publication of the new Healthy Homes legislation requires immediate action. Part of that should be an assessment of your investment strategy with advice from property management professionals like the experts here at Oaks Property Management.

Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill – A Guide for Landlords

Healthy Homes Standards – What You Need to Know

On the 1 July 2019, new rules came into place in New Zealand that impact both landlords and the roughly 600,000 people who live in rented properties. The rules are known as the Healthy Homes Standards.

The property management company you use in Auckland should have expert knowledge of tenancy law in New Zealand, so will be able to give you direct advice. You can contact us at Oaks Property Management if you need further help.

That said, it’s also important that you have an understanding of the new rules. Let’s answer some specific questions including:

  • Why are the standards being introduced?
  • Who do the standards apply to?
  • What are the new standards?
  • When do they come into force?

What Are the New Standards Being Introduced?

Since 2017, New Zealand has had a legislative framework aimed at improving the standard of rented properties in the country. The goal is to make rented homes warmer and drier to improve comfort levels for tenants, reduce their heating costs, and ensure homes are healthy to live in.

After all, cold, damp, and draughty homes can cause serious illnesses as well as being unpleasant.

Who Do the Standards Apply To?

Private landlords, Housing New Zealand, and providers of social housing must all ensure the properties they rent out conform to the new standards.

As tenants live in the affected houses, they are also impacted by the new rules. Specifically, tenants currently living in properties that fall below the new standards should see improvements as their landlords carry out upgrade work.

What Are the New Healthy Homes Standards?

The new Healthy Homes standards fall in into five main categories:

  • Heating
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Moisture and drainage
  • Draughts


The new standards require all rented properties to have a fixed heater capable of heating the main living room of the house to 18 degrees Celsius. That said, if the heating device is inefficient, costly to run, or is unhealthy, it won’t meet the new standard even if it is capable of heating the room to the required temperature.


Rented homes must also have ceiling and underfloor insulation. The specifics of the standards depend on whether there is currently insulation in the property:

  • Existing insulation – existing insulation must be at least 120 millimetres thick
  • Newly installed insulation – new insulation must meet the Building Code standard introduced in 2008


Kitchens and bathrooms in all rented homes must have extraction fans. Extraction fans must also be fitted to any other room that has a shower, bath, or cooker.

Furthermore, rented properties must have windows that can be opened in all bedrooms as well as the living room, dining rooms, and kitchen.

Moisture and Drainage

The drainage and guttering in rented properties must be effective enough to stop water from getting into the house. In addition, in rented homes that have an enclosed subfloor space, there must be a moisture barrier.


Draughts must be stopped throughout rented houses. This includes blocking up unused fireplaces and chimneys as well as blocking gaps or holes in walls, doors, floors, windows, and ceilings.

When Do the Standards Come into Force?

The new Healthy Homes rules became law on 1 July, but private landlords have until 1 July 2021 to bring their properties up to the required standard.

Summary of the Standards

As you can see, the standards centre on preventing moisture from building up in homes as well as ensuring homes can be efficiently and effectively heated. When the rules are in full effect, the standard of rented properties in New Zealand will improve.