Healthy homes standards assessments and making a plan

Date: 5 Apr 2024

Healthy Homes Standards Checklist: Quality Living Conditions

Making sure your rental properties are in good condition isn't just about ticking boxes on a legal Healthy Homes checklist - it’s showing that you care for the well-being, safety, and comfort of your tenants. This friendly guide walks you through the Healthy Homes Checklist, including the assessment and inspection parts specific to New Zealand. We'll help you understand and meet the housing regulations with ease, ensuring your rentals are welcoming and compliant.

The Healthy Homes Checklist is your go-to guide for making sure your rental spaces are in tip-top shape. It covers the fundamental areas such as ventilation, insulation, heating, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping. 

By walking through your property with this checklist in hand, you'll spot what needs a bit of work to hit those what you need on the Healthy Homes Standards Checklist.

What is The Healthy Homes Assessment Checklist?

In New Zealand, rental homes need to be properly insulated to keep them warm and dry, depending on where you live in the country. Insulation is rated by how well it keeps heat in, with higher ratings meaning better insulation. Some houses might not need to be insulated if it's too hard to do so, or if there are special cases for underfloor insulation.

Rental properties must also be well-ventilated to stop moisture and mould from building up. This means having windows that open in main living areas like the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must have fans to pull out moist air, but newer homes can have special systems instead if they were approved after November 1, 2019.

Homes must also be built to keep out unwanted water and have good drainage outside. If a home has a crawl space underneath, it should have a barrier to stop ground moisture, unless it's not practical to install one.

You will need to make sure their homes do not have drafts from holes or gaps in the walls, windows, floors, or doors, and they must block off unused chimneys to keep drafts out.

Learn more about our rental property inspection services.

Healthy Homes Standards Checklist

Did you know that if you have not had your rental property assessed for its current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards and it becomes vacant, you will not be able to re-tenant the property until you do?

Meet Bob

Let’s look at a likely scenario with our hypothetical landlord, Bob. In November, a tenant gave Bob notice to vacate his property on 12 December 2022. Bob, who lives two hours away, does not know the property’s current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards. Bob now needs to do the following:

  • Establish the required heating capacity for the main living room using the Heating Assessment Tool at tenancy. or the formula contained in schedule 2 of the RTA (HHS) Regulations 2019.
  • Complete the six pages dedicated to Insulation on the compliance statement. This is easy for Bob as he installed new insulation in July 2018. Otherwise, he may have needed a professional assessment.
  • Bob needs to know what extraction fans are installed and ensure they are in good working order and ducted outside. If they were installed after 1 July 2019, he needs to know the diameter or exhaust capacity.
  • He must inspect gutters and downpipes to ensure they efficiently drain storm, surface, and ground water to an appropriate outfall.
  • He needs to know if his property requires a ground moisture barrier, and if it has one installed or not. Bob has not looked under the house for a long time.
  • Bob also needs to understand how to meet the requirements in the draught stopping standard, and he thinks this standard should be met as soon as possible.

Bob decides that he does not have the appropriate skills to perform these checks himself, particularly determining the heating capacity using the assessment tool as measuring rooms is required. He decides to employ a professional, but there is a delay in getting an appropriately qualified assessor to inspect the property due to the demands on the industry. A date of 17 December is given, and the report will be provided within three business days. On 21 December, when the report is received, the property can be rented, and the tenancy agreement prepared with the required compliance statements. 

Unfortunately, it is now close to Christmas and tenants are not moving. The property remains vacant until mid-January. Bob loses five weeks rent. Don’t be like Bob.

Bob now has several applications and has selected his preferred tenant. Bob completes the current level of compliance statement as part of preparing the tenancy agreement and now has just 90 days to meet all five of the healthy homes standards. 

Bob wishes he had made a plan earlier, as he now has to pay for extraction fans and a heat pump all at once, and after a long vacancy period. Ouch!

Make a Healthy Homes Inspection Checklist Plan

On the healthy homes standards checklist, which is required for all new and renewed tenancies, landlords must not only complete the 16- page document that discloses the property’s current level of compliance for each of the five healthy homes standards, but they will also have just 90 days from the start of any new or renewed tenancy to meet the standards. Once your property is assessed, a healthy homes checklist plan is needed to comply with the standards.

Harcourts Property Managers are working with landlords to avoid situations and vacancy periods like those experienced by Bob, but with the time it can take to get an assessment done, scenarios like Bob’s can be commonplace.

Don’t wait for your existing tenant to get fed up with a property that doesn’t meet the healthy homes standards and give notice, only to leave you searching for a new tenant and still having only 90 days to meet the standards. Speak to your Harcourts property manager for advice, learn more about rental property management and make your plan to meet the standards now!

Healthy homes standards assessments and making a plan

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