At the end of last month, a seminar was held in Dunedin held by Tenancy Services titled “Renting and You”. Seminars have been held all over New Zealand in the last couple of months.
The seminar covered the new healthy homes standards and informed landlords on what they need to do to comply, along with other upcoming changes to tenancy laws.
Who Was There?
- Steve Watson – General Manager at Housing and Tenancy Services MBIE.
- Tenancy Services Education Team.
- Dunedin branch of the Tenancy Compliance and Investigation team.
- 120-140 audience members made up of private landlords, property managers, tenants and other industry professionals.
Points of clarification that were raised.
- Landlords can provide tenants with a ‘14 day notice to remedy’ to fix issues such as mould and moisture build up caused by the tenant.
- A heat pump in a hallway that is separated by a door to the main living area is non-compliant.
- Gaps or holes greater than 3mm in width that let air out of the home should be blocked. Generally if a NZ $2 coin can fit in the gap, then the gap needs filled.
- There is no grace period or leniency given for landlords who do not meet the compliance timeframes. Advice given is to get on with improvement towards compliance now!
- Effective communication between landlord and tenant is greatly beneficial for preventing any disputes arising.
How is Compliance going to be enforced, will this be effective?
The Compliance and Investigations team has been established to enforce the standards of the Healthy Homes Regulations.
What was highlighted by Steve Watson was that enforcement is a ‘last means’ and not an ‘outcome’. If a landlord is non-compliant in the first instance, they will be provided the opportunity to resolve the issue.
But one question remains. Will the Compliance team only know about breaches of standards when dobbed in by tenants? Or will the team be actively contacting landlords to ensure they are compliant?
There is still some confusion about some aspects of the standards.
- Methamphetamine standards are still being developed by policy writers. Presently there are two guidance standards with conflicting levels of what is deemed unsafe levels of contamination.
- What are the obligations for landlords in flood management areas in relation to installing ground vapour barriers? Do they need to ensure any excess water is pumped out of the subfloor space?
- Reasonably Practicable. This term is open to interpretation and does not give exact details. Yes, a professional installer/worker needs to provide evidence if something is not reasonably practicable to carry out. However, one professional’s opinion and judgement could differ from another.
How can you get your head around all of Healthy Homes Standards?
Download the Healthy Homes Standards Guide from Tenancy Services here for more specific details on each of the standards.
iCompli are developing an App not only to ensure a properties compliance with Healthy Homes Standards, but also the Residential Tenancies Act and any amendments.
Not only does the App assess whether you meet all compliance standards, it will provide a Certificate of Compliance that measures the liveability of property. A liveability grading from A-E is provided for the property once an inspection is complete.