In 2015 the Government introduced a reform to the Residential Tenancies Act which aimed to ensure that all rental properties meet minimum insulation requirements. The changes were in response to concerns that many rental properties did not provide adequately warm or dry accommodation, particularly for lower-income tenants.
From 1 July this year, ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes where it is reasonably practical to do so. That ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meet the requirements in the building code or have a minimum thickness of 120mm. A landlord who fails to meet these new requirements on 1 July will face potential fines of up to $4,000.
Currently, a property is only required to have ceiling insulation which is at least 70mm thick and have some underfloor insulation. There is no thickness requirement for the Rental Properties underfloor insulation. These new requirements set a much higher standard.
According to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), properties that have had insulation installed after 2016 should already meet these standards as they would comply with the current building code. However, any insulation installed before 2016 will need to be checked to ensure compliance.
Complying with these new regulations could place a significant burden on some landlords. The government has recognised this and has provided exemptions to these new requirements in certain situations. A Landlord does not have to comply:
Further, any new tenancy must also now be accompanied by an ‘insulation statement’ stating that the above requirements have been met. A landlord who does not complete an insulation statement or includes anything they know to be false or misleading is committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $500.
If you own a rental property and are unsure about whether you will be complying with these new requirements, or if you are a tenant who suspects the property you are living in does not comply with these new requirements, we encourage you to contact Joshua Hitchcock, Solicitor (DDI 03 343 8588 / firstname.lastname@example.org)