The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act, a landlord, what does it mean for you? This is not an easy question to answer as the bill was light on specifics – the Government will not give details on those specifics until it completes a consultation. While there are a lot of things that remain unclear, there are some things we do know.
What is the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act?
The aim of the Health Homes Guarantee Act is to ensure all tenants in New Zealand live in warm, well-ventilated, and dry rental properties. There are two key dates to remember regarding the new law:
- 1 July 2019 – this is when all new tenancies must adhere to the new, as yet unspecified, minimum standards
- 1 July 2024 – this is when all your rental properties, regardless of when the tenancy started, must adhere to the new minimum standards
The Government’s consultation on the minimum standards for rental properties in terms of warmth, ventilation, and dryness is ongoing. This consultation includes landlords like you as well as building experts and tenants. At the end of the consultation, the Government will publish the minimum standards the properties you rent must meet.
We also know there will be grants available to help you bring your properties up to the required standard. These grants will be for eligible landlords and will be worth up to $2,000.
What Changed with This Legislation?
The date of 1 July 2019 is probably already familiar to you. This is the date previously set as the deadline for you to ensure your rental properties have proper insulation.
The previous requirements, however, excluded around 100,000 homes. This is now unlikely to be the case as the new Act will probably cover all rental properties. In addition, the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act is expected to cover draught-proofing, ventilation, and dryness requirements as well as ensuring your properties are warm.
Why Is the Government Doing This?
Most landlords in New Zealand run reputable businesses and act responsibly. In other words, they already provide homes for their tenants that are safe to live in. There are some unscrupulous landlords, however, that don’t.
In those cases, tenants are forced to live in properties that are cold, damp, and draughty. This leads to sickness, particularly respiratory illnesses in children and the elderly. In the worst cases, people can die.
The goal of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act is to stop these terrible rental situations from happening by setting minimum standards that all landlords must adhere to.
What Are the Questions That Remain?
There are several, not least the affordability of heating homes. After all, you, as a landlord, could provide heating in a rental property but that doesn’t mean the tenant will have the money to turn the heating on.
From your point of view, the biggest questions are about what the final minimum standards will look like. There is no clear answer to that at the moment.
What Should You Do?
Of course, this leaves an obvious question – what should you do now. After all, there is a deadline approaching and you will probably need lead-in time if you have properties that require remedial work.
The best advice is to continue with your plans to meet the insulation standards for rental properties, i.e. ensure all the homes you rent are fully insulated for new tenancies starting from 1 July 2019 and for all tenancies by 1 July 2024.
By doing this, you will be in a good position to move forward once the Government publishes the new minimum standards the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act is intended to produce.
We have special deals for insulating your rental properties, for further questions & discussion, please contact Oaks Property Management Ltd at [email protected].