The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill has had its time in Parliament and is now coming into effect. David Kneebone, Lodge City Rentals General Manager, looks at what this means for landlords.
There’s been a lot of debate of late about the onus being placed on landlords to provide healthy homes for tenants to live in. This obligation has now become law with the passing of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill.
At Lodge City Rentals, we ensure all our landlords provide quality homes for tenants to rent. We do so because better homes attract better tenants, better tenants stay longer, and better homes attract greater rent. It’s also the right thing to do.
But it can be confusing whenever legislation is passed. Now that it’s law, do standards have to be met straight away? Is there a deadline by which homes must be improved? And what cost is involved in meeting these requirements.
To help understand the changes the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill will bring about, we look at what we know of the Bill so far.
The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill has been knocking around since 2013 but it wasn’t until the Labour party came into power in October this year that the Bill was once again bought to the fore. It was part of the new coalition-led government’s 100 day plan and sure enough, within a month of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern taking the helm, the Bill saw the light of day.
This Bill sets out minimum standards of housing relating to warmth and insulation and encompasses all rental properties throughout New Zealand.
In five years’ time, every rental property will be required to have a modern heating source, effectively making it illegal for landlords to rent out properties that are a threat to their tenants’ health.
If you own an investment property, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest property management legislation, but understanding and being aware of legal changes can be tricky and time consuming.
The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill sets out to ensure all homes, rental or otherwise, are fit for people to live in. The Bill requires landlords meet new heating and insulation standards.
The law will require landlords to guarantee that any new tenancy from 1 July 2019 must be either properly insulated or contain a heating source able to make the home warm and dry. As of 1 July 2024, all tenancy agreements that landlords issue, must meet these new standards.
The exact requirements are not in the Bill, but will be set by the Government before 2019. Grants of up to $2000 will be available for eligible landlords to upgrade their stock.
As a landlord, there are obligations you must ensure your property or properties meet before you can rent them out. The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill specifies and enforces standards that ensure warm and insulated homes.
Under the previous law, rental properties were only required to be insulated by 1 July 2019, if it was practicable. Now, there will be further heating and insulation standards to adhere too. Every rental property must meet these standards within five years of the Bill coming into effect.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford's Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill was first drawn from the Parliamentary ballot in 2013, but was struck down at its first reading.
Then-Labour leader Andrew Little introduced a second version, which made it through its second reading with the votes of every party except ACT and National.
This allowed the Labour-led coalition led Government to pick up the Bill, modify it, and pass it relatively quickly. The Bill passed 63 votes to 57, once again opposed by National and ACT.
Research into the link between housing and health has found warm and insulated homes can reduce health risks such as respiratory illnesses, and diseases like rheumatic fever, which can be caused by cold, damp housing.
If you are a landlord with a new tenant on or after 1 July 2019, your property must meet the new heating and insulation standards prior to your tenant(s) moving in.
If you have existing tenants in your property, you have until 1 July 2024 to ensure your property meets the new standard.
The details of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (as they exist) can be viewed here.
Lodge City Rentals property managers ensure their landlords meet all legislative requirements and keep abreast of all upcoming changes.
All our property managers are highly trained and familiar with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 & Amendments and the rights and obligations for both landlords and tenants.
They will work with you to ensure your properties meet the standards imposed by the healthy Homes Guarantee Bill as they come into effect.
As a landlord you must comply with Section 45(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, which sets out your responsibilities. These include:
The Bill inserts a new responsibility which is that the landlord must “comply with the standards of heating and insulation under Section 132A.” Failure to observe this is declared an “unlawful act.”
At Lodge City Rentals, we believe that owning a well maintained rental property is a great investment and pathway to financial independence. Although the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill appears to be another layer of complexity added to rental property ownership, our team are all over this and will ensure your investment is compliant and you, our valued owner client, will be meeting your obligations as landlords.