If you own an investment property , it’s important to stay up to date with the latest property management legislation. And while you want to ensure your property remains rent ready, understanding and being aware of legal changes can be tricky and time consuming.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at the Healthy Homes Bill and how this is going to impact you as a landlord.
Thinking about becoming a landlord, or already dipped your toe into the property investment waters? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, check out our must-read guide “My House. Your Castle”.
With the recent passing of Labour’s Healthy Homes Bill in Parliament, the debate around warm and dry properties is gaining momentum.
While it still has two stages to pass (the committee and third reading) and won’t become law before the election, it’s looking probable to come into effect. As a result, it’s important landlords are aware of what this is going to mean for owning a rental property.
What is the Healthy Homes Bill?
The Healthy Homes Bill will see new heating and insulation standards that landlords will be required to meet. It seeks to amend the current Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and involves the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).
The bill was pushed by former Labour Leader Andrew Little who believed all rentals should have good ceiling and underfloor insulation, as well as heating and ventilation. However, it was initially shot down when it first entered parliament in March 2015 - ministers feared it would increase rental prices and decrease the amount of available rental stock at a time when there is already a housing shortage in New Zealand.
How will this impact you as a landlord?
Paying attention to these changes can help you keep your property rent ready.
While landlords currently have legal obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, there are no formal guidelines as to what constitutes warm and dry accommodation. This bill seeks to specify and enforce standards that ensure warm and insulated homes. It would see that most tenancy agreements would contain the requirement within five years, at which point all residential tenancies must meet the standards.
The current law means that if a rental property has no insulation it must be installed to current standards- but if a rental property is insulated to 1978 standards the insulation does not need to be upgraded. Under the new bill, that would change and all rental properties would need to be insulated to current standards.
If you own a rental property, then the Healthy Homes Bill means you'll need to ensure your properties are fit for living. While this isn't necessarily cheap, it will keep tenants warm and healthy throughout the cold and damp New Zealand winters.
Want to learn more about what it takes to be a landlord in New Zealand? Check out our must-read guide, "My House. Your Castle."