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Healthy Homes Standards - How do they affect me?

27 June 2019

Photo: Four Colourful Houses, by Jeffrey Czum

The Healthy Homes legislation has become law on the 1st July 2019. Majority of private landlords will now have just under one year to meet new standards. We have summarised the new requirements to explain what it all means for NZ landlords.

Why has the Government introduced new requirements?

New Zealand government has introduced the Healthy Homes Standards to tackle health problems caused by underinsulated, old, damp and cold properties (of which NZ has many). The aim is to achieve warmer, drier homes by providing clear minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping, moisture ingress and drainage in rental properties.

When do I need to be compliant by?

  • From 1 July 2019 - All landlords must state in new tenancy agreements that they will comply with new Healthy Homes regulations as required by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
    This also applies to renewals and written variations to agreements.

Failure to include and sign this statement from 1 July may result in a financial penalty up to $500

  • From 1 December 2020 - All new and renewed tenancy agreements will need to include the signed statement that landlord will comply with the new regulations AND outline specific information on how the landlord intends to comply (a template of compliance statement will become available at a later date)

Restrictions to property access during Covid-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4 limited landlords' ability to complete inspections to determine the level of compliance. The Government has extended the deadline for the compliance statement from 1st July 2020 to 1st December 2020.

  • From 1 July 2021 - All landlords have to comply with Healthy Homes changes for new tenants. This also applies to renewed tenancies.

Following the feedback from the rental industry, the Government has announced changes to Heating, Ventilation and Moisture ingress and drainage standards. Learn more about this here New rules are expected to come into force in April 2022 and give landlords 90 days to comply. However, rentals that were not built to the 2008 code requirements or were not flats still had to comply with the current requirements.

  • From 1 July 2024 - All rental homes must comply with the Healthy Homes Standards.

Remember that all five standards (heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping and moisture ingress and drainage) come into effect at the same time. Learn more

Healthy Homes Standards breakdown

More detailed regulations are coming but here's what the standards currently specify:


A fixed heating device capable of warming the room to at least 18°C needs to be installed in the main living room only.

  • By 'living room' the standard also covers a lounge, dining room, sitting room or an open plan living area.
  • The 'main living room' is the largest living room.
  • Only the main living room requires heating.
  • A landlord will not be required to provide a heater for tenants' bedrooms.
  • Some heaters are considered inefficient, unaffordable to operate or unhealthy to meet the standard and so won't meet the requirements (e.g. LPG bottle heaters, open fires and electric heaters (not heat pumps) with heating capacity more than 2.4 kilowatts)
  • The online heating tool was developed by Tenancy Services to help landlords identify what capacity heater is required for their rental property.

If a landlord installed a heater before 1 July 2019 as long as the heating capacity is within 10% of the kilowatts required, the device will meet the standard.

Learn more about the Heating Standard requirements

Following the feedback from the rental industry, the Government has announced changes to the Heating standard. Learn more about this here. The heating formula will be amended to allow smaller heating devices to be installed in new homes. (New rules are expected to come into force in April 2022)


Both ceiling and underfloor insulation should meet the minimum of the 2008 Building Code or (for existing ceiling insulation) to be at least 120mm thick

  • Existing 2016 RTA regulation requires all rental properties (with accessible ceilings and underfloors) to be insulated by 30 June 2019.
  • After 1 July 2021 the Healthy Homes Standards increase the minimum insulation requirement from 70mm to 120mm thick.

Existing insulation may meet the standard — or not

  • If your property was not insulated and you had to put fresh insulation in to meet the 2016 standards, you're likely to comply with new standards (Safe to check it still)
  • If your property was already insulated and you didn't need to do anything to meet the 2016 standards, you need to check the insulation to make sure it's at least 120mm thick. If not, the property requires a "top up".
  • If your insulation meets new standards, it still needs to be in reasonable condition (check for damage, dampness, rips, gaps in the coverage, contamination etc)
  • If the property has an inaccessible roof or a concrete pad, an insulation exemption will continue to apply.

You absolutely can install insulation yourself although Tenancy Services recommends using qualified installers to ensure compliance.

Learn more about the Insulation Standard requirements


All rental properties should have opening doors and windows in dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen and other living spaces.
A right size extractor fans should be installed in all kitchens and bathrooms.

  • If there are multiple bathrooms and kitchens, an appropriate size extractor fans are needed to be installed in all rooms.
  • An extractor fan needs to ventilate externally
  • If there is a shower dome in the bathroom, an extractor fan is still needed to be installed.
  • A range hood in the kitchen can be suitable if it ventilates to the outside.
  • The openable windows and doors in a room must have a total area of 5% of the floor area in their respective rooms.

There is an exemption to this rule for bathrooms and kitchens where it's not reasonably practicable to install an extractor fan. There is another exemption to properties that were lawfully built but don't have an openable window or door in one of the rooms.

Learn more about the Ventilation Standard requirements

Following the feedback from the rental industry, the Government has announced changes to the Ventilation standard. Learn more about this here. Continuous mechanical ventilation systems used in properties built to comply with the current building code will now also satisfy the standard. This applies to systems that received building consent on or after 1 November 2019. (New rules are expected to come into force in April 2022)

Moisture and drainage

There needs to be efficient drainage and guttering, downpipes and drains. If a rental home has an enclosed subfloor, it must have a ground moisture barrier if it's reasonably practicable to install one.

Learn more about the Moisture and Drainage Standard requirements

Following the feedback from the rental industry, the Government has announced changes to the Moisture and drainage standard. Learn more about this here. Landlords will be given an exemption to remove the need to install alternative moisture barriers where the installation of a polythene barrier isn’t reasonably practical. (New rules are expected to come into force in April 2022)


Rental properties must have no unnecessary gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors, and doors that cause noticeable draughts.
All unused chimneys and fireplaces must be blocked.

  • All the open fireplaces and chimneys must be blocked unless a landlord and tenant agree otherwise.

Learn more about the Moisture and Drainage Standard requirements

Keeping records

A landlord needs to ensure their rental properties meet the standards by the deadline. However, regardless of any work required, a landlord also needs to keep records of how they're complying with the Healthy Homes Standards. These records may include:
- compliance certificates
- records of calculations
- invoices from builders
- receipts for materials purchased
- product manuals etc
These records can be presented to the Tenancy Tribunal or the Tenancy Compliance and Investigation Team when resolving potential disputes.

Learn more about recordkeeping requirements

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice, you should seek independent legal counsel. does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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What the community has to say
  • SA

    So what happens if you had the insulation installed underfloor and cieling, then discovered (as Jim Cameron from a FairGo program did about 4 years ago) that the installers only installed the first few metres of product so that it looked tikkety boo, but they ripped off with the rest of your product and onsold it to the next job? I urge everyone to check thier insulation goes as far underfloor as it can and should. That the cieling insulation goes all the way rather than just as far as can be seen from the inspection cavity (manhole).
    Also Ive heâd of tenants taking out of all but the visual beginning of the insulation...then accussing landlords of not providing it.
    Perhaps every rental inspection needs a check and photos that the insulation is still ALL there.

  • PL

    "New Zealand government has introduced the Healthy Homes Standards to tackle health problems caused by underinsulated, old, damp, and cold properties and to bring the quality of rental properties to the level of owner-occupied homes."

    The standards for rentals will be higher than for owner-occupied homes.
    A brand new fully CCC'd home is perfectly safe and healthy for an owner-occupier, but apparently is a dangerous health hazard to a tenant. It will need further work before it can be legally rented.

  • JZ

    In 2010 we bought a nice warm house with all day sun bordering to a reserve for our daughter. She and later on an aunt lived there for 5 year without a single problem. Next we got some third party tenants in. There were always problems, mostly minor. In 2016 we had a tenant cutting through a pipe under the floor and left water gushing out for months. Next they started complaining to the property manager about mold in the toilet room. Property manager sent someone driving 100 km with a spray bottle. Every single week there were more problems. Next they punched holes in the wall and floor, contacted Hutt City Council to have property declared uninhabitable. Then they claimed another $25k with the tenancy tribunal for mold. Obviously the last trick failed, apart from a $200 fine for the property manager for mislaying paperwork. We lost 4 months rent and had about $20k damage as floors had to be cut out and replaced by plywood, walls removed and replaced and laminate replaced. Since 2016 we have in total lost about 1 year rent and over $40k in damages, all because tenants think that the Tenancy Tribunal is an ATM machine to pay off their debts.
    We already have a lock on the crawlspace and are going to have a lock on the manhole to the attic as well. And we do not give a key to the tenants anymore.
    By now we learned the hard way that you rather leave the property empty than get a bad tenant in. We have recently decided to aim only for the top 10% of the tenants who can afford and value a top notch rental property. We give the property an upgrade with an additional heat pump in the master bedroom, new free standing oven with induction hob on top and new HWC outside.
    We raise the rent to $700 weekly to attract high quality tenants only.
    Any politician who believes that only tenants are victims should talk to landlords like us to get the picture right.

  • AR

    I'm living in a house that should never have been rented, it's under standard, heat pump in bedroom, floor sinking in 2 of 4 bedrooms plus the lounge, bad rot in windows and big gaps understand my front door that's facing all the bad weather ,pink mould in shower as well as a bad smell every day we open shower door it's absolutely disgusting and the landlord just doesn't care or listen to my requests for it to be fixed and now he's taking me to tribunal, absolute slumlord.

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