If you’re a rental property owner, it’s important to stay on top of New Zealand’s ever-changing tenancy laws to ensure that your properties are fully compliant with the latest regulations.

Recently, the government announced some amendments to the heating requirements set out in the Healthy Homes Standards. These changes will make it easier – and more cost-effective – for property owners to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards.

As the Hibiscus Coast’s leading property managers, we’ve been watching these changes with keen interest. Read on to learn more about the heating requirement amendments and how they might affect you.

A recap of the heating standards

As you may be aware, the Healthy Homes Standards came into law in July 2019 with the aim of improving the quality of New Zealand rental homes. The Healthy Homes Standards include minimum standards for:

  • Heating.
  • Insulation.
  • Ventilation.
  • Moisture ingress and drainage.
  • Draught stopping.

The heating standards stipulate that rental properties must have at least one fixed heater that can directly heat the main living room. The heater must be fixed (i.e. not portable), have a heating capacity of at least 1.5 kW and be capable of meeting the minimum heating capacity requirements, which can be calculated using the online heating assessment tool created by Tenancy Services.

What’s changed?

In December 2021, the government announced that it was making some amendments to the heating requirements in response to feedback it had received from the rental sector.

Here’s a quick overview of the most important changes:

1. New formula for calculating heating requirements

The current heating assessment tool remains accurate for most rental properties in New Zealand. However, there will be some changes in regard to how heating requirements are calculated for apartments. The amended heating standards will allow smaller heating systems to be installed in new apartments that comply with the 2008 building code for insulation and glazing in apartments. The updated formula still ensures that tenants will be able to heat their living rooms to a comfortable 18 degrees celsius on the coldest day of the year.

There’s also a revised deadline to help owners of qualifying rental properties meet the new heating standards. Rental property owners have a 90-day compliance period, which starts six months after the changes come into effect in April 2022. Effectively, that means you’ve until the end of 2022 to ensure your rental property meets the new standards.

2. Total heating capacity requirements reduced

Another notable amendment for rental property owners is the change to heating capacity requirements.

Under the original regulations, property owners would need to install additional heating systems unless their existing heaters provided at least 90 percent of the required heating capacity. The recent amendments have reduced this threshold to 80 percent.

However, once the heater needs to be replaced (due to damage, malfunction or regular wear and tear), the new heater will need to meet the full requirements of the heating standard.

3. Heating top up allowance increased

If your existing heaters don’t meet the specific heating standards, you may need to add a smaller fixed electric heater to effectively ‘top up’ your heating capacity. Under the original standards, you could only top up your heating capacity if you met all the following criteria:

  • You installed your existing heating before 1 July 2019.
  • The required heating capacity was more than 2.4 kW.
  • The required top up was 1.5kW or less.

The amended regulations have increased the top allowance from 1.5kW to 2.4kW, making it easier for landlords to meet the heating capacity requirements.

Contact the rental property experts

The heating standard amendments are a significant win for rental property owners and will allow landlords to better comply with the Healthy Homes Standards while ensuring their properties remain warm, healthy and fit for purpose.
Here at Vertigro, we keep our finger on the pulse of all the latest tenancy law changes to ensure we can provide our clients with the best service possible. To find out how our independent property managers can help you get the most out of your rental asset, give us a call today on 09 473 5891.