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Healthy Homes Standards - Ventilation standard

17 October 2020

Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

Ventilation must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop must have an appropriately sized extractor fan vented outside.

Living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and bedrooms

There must be windows, skylights or doors that open to the outside in every habitable space. In each room, the size of the openable windows, doors and skylights together must be at least 5% of the floor area of that room.

Most homes will meet the first part of the standard without any further work. But where renovations have occurred, it pays to check that there are still enough windows and doors for ventilation.

The extent that windows or doors can open is not applicable, but it should have an ability to be fixed in the open position.

Kitchens and bathrooms

All kitchens and bathrooms in rental properties need to have an extractor fan. Fans must vent to the outside (not vent back into the room, a roof or other space) and meet specific size, and performance standards.

Recirculating extractor fans and fans that do not ventilate to the outdoors are not suitable for setting this standard. They may still meet the standard if additional fittings such as external ducting are installed to enable them to ventilate to the outside can be installed.

In the kitchen...

If fans and rangehood installed before 1 Just 2019 - as long as your equipment is in good working order and vents to the outside (either directly or through ducting) it meets the requirements of the healthy homes standards.

If fans and rangehood installed after 1 July 2019 - it must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 150mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 50L/ sec.

In most cases, a rangehood is the most effective type of extractor fan for kitchens (although other types can be used)

In the bathroom...

If fans installed before 1 Just 2019 - as long as your extractor fan is in good working order and vents to the outside (either directly or through ducting) it meets the requirements of the healthy homes standards.

If fans installed after 1 July 2019 - must have a minimum diameter (including ducting) of 120mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 25L/sec.

Additional key points to keep in mind about Ventilation Standard:

  • If the extractor fan size requirement can't be met, then they must meet the exhaust capacity instead.
  • If you have multiple extractor fans in the room, but none individually meet the criteria, you have to replace one / install at least one that meets the standard's criteria.
  • If the current fan stops working, the replacement fan needs to meet the post 1 July 2019 criteria above.
  • If you have a shower dome in the bathroom, you still need an extractor fan.
  • If a professional installer fits the fan, ask them for details of fan diameters in writing to show you're compliant.
  • If fans require extensive ducting, they will need a higher flow rate to account for a reduction in performance due to ducting.


There are two exceptions concerning ventilation.

1. Lawful when built - If a room doesn't meet the current standards' requirements for openable windows and external doors but met alternative ventilation requirements at the time it was built or converted into a habitable space, it is exempt from new standards as long as it still meets the alternative requirements.

2. Not reasonably practicable to install extractor fans - It is recommended for landlords to seek professional advice to apply this exemption

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)

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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