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The effects of low temperatures on your rental property

Photo: AA Hut by Tomas Sobek

Unfortunately, winter brings a lot of problems to under-heated properties. Under insulated properties (of which NZ has many) effect health and wellbeing of hundreds of people each winter. Damp and cold homes are also likely to suffer from structural damage. With new insulation standards for rentals coming into effect July next year, looking into ways to improve heating in your investment property makes financial sense.

Insulation

By 1 July 2019 all rental properties, including private rentals, must have underfloor and ceiling insulation that meets the required standard where it can be practically installed. Make sure you check as soon as possible if your property meets new insulation requirements

Failure to meet the insulation requirements is an unlawful act under the Residential Tenancies Act. Landlords may face fines of up to $4,000 for failure to comply.

Heating

Landlords have to provide a form of heating in any living room. Heat pumps are considered the most cost-effective method to heat the place quickly, but flued gas heaters and wood burners are also effective options. Providing a good heating solution in your rental property also ensures tenants don’t use unflued gas heaters that can make a house damp and mouldy. As for other rooms and bedrooms, make sure there are plenty of power points provided to tenants to at least use their own electric heaters to warm up the space.

Ventilation

It is essential to have property fitted and have externally vented extractor fans in both kitchens and bathrooms to eliminate moisture. It’s a good idea to check extractor fans are clean and in good working order when conducting quarterly property inspections.

Dampness

Damp homes promote mould and dust mites, which can cause health problems. If your rental property has dampness issues, track down the underlying cause. Once known, it’s normally relatively quick and easy to fix. Make sure proper extractor fans are installed in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Encourage tenants to dry their washing outside or provide an internal clothes dryer ducted outside. Remind tenants to air out their home regularly and keep it warm.

Embrace cold weather and make your tenants' winter more bearable by making sure your rental property complies with new heating standards.

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