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HHS heating standards for tenants on Globug

Thursday, May 16, 2019

This week's question comes from Helen (paraphrased):  

It appears that Fujitsu NZ does not recommend installing its heat pumps at properties that are on Globug (Globug is a prepaid power service that connects and disconnects power in between account top-ups) as recurring connection followed by disconnection can damage the hardware. My tenant is on Globug, what should I do about the Healthy Homes Standards for heating? 
Firstly, it is too early to tell whether you are required to install a heat pump at all. We recommend landlords to wait until 1 July 2019 in order to rely on Tenancy Services' online calculator to work out the required heating capacity you have to reach before determining a suitable form of heating to supply.  Refer to our earlier piece on HHS heating standards and download our HHS Compliance Guide #1 Heating for more information. 

If the result of the online calculator points to there being a number of acceptable forms of heating then we recommend that you consider these other forms of heating even if you have to fix more than one heater in the main living room to meet the required heating capacity. 

If it transpires that a heat pump is what is required and no other alternative forms of heating would be acceptable, we suggest the following:

  • Investigate and identify an alternative make of heat pump that is compatible with Globug (or similar such power supplies);
  • If there is no viable alternative (i.e. if it turns out that suppliers, in general, do not recommend or do not warrant their heat pumps being used at properties powered by Globug (or similar such), then discuss with your tenant about changing power suppliers in order to help you become compliant with the HHS heating standards; 
  • If your tenant refuses to change power supplier/power supplying model (they are under no obligation to) then we suggest you do the following: 
    • Document your request for your tenant to change power supplier and his refusal to do so; 
    • Install a form of heating that comes as close as possible to the required heating standards; and
    • Write to Tenancy Services and request a written directive as to how you should proceed under the circumstances and whether your tenant's refusal to change power suppliers could qualify you to claim the impracticable exemption.

    In doing so, you are clearly demonstrating that your intention is not to evade compliance and if not for your tenant's refusal to change power supplier, you would have readily complied. We have faith that the Tribunal would look favourably on your position should the matter ever comes before it. In general, we feel that it is premature to give a clear indication as to which side the Standards would fall on in this instance. Our expectation is that 'grey area' issues such as this one will eventually be resolved at the Tribunal level when a test case comes before it. Until then, landlords are best to act in good faith and in line with the spirit of the HHS which is to promote and faciliate a healthy home environment for tenants. 

Do you have any tenancy related questions? Write to us at admin@apia.org.nz or hit us up on our social channels here and here


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