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Raewyn Stanaway: How to 'winter-proof' your tenancy

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


The last thing any landlord wants is their tenant moving out in the middle of winter because they find the property cold or damp. Your chances of re renting a cold property quickly at that time of year will be very difficult.

Warm and comfortable homes are more appealing and will attract and keep good long term tenants.

You will be aware of the Healthy Homes Standards that became law on 1 July 2019. These standards introduce specific and minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties.

From 1 December 2020, landlords must include a statement of their current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.

Most private rentals must comply with these standards within 90 days of any new, varied or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021. These standards will help ensure landlords have healthier, safer properties and lower maintenance costs for their investments. It will also make it easier for tenants to keep their homes warm and dry.

Heating Standard – Landlords must provide one or more fixed heaters that can directly heat the main living room. The heater must be an acceptable type and must meet the minimum heating capacity required for the living room.

Insulation Standard - Ceiling and under floor insulation has been compulsory in all rental homes since 1 July 2019. The Healthy Homes insulation standard builds on the current regulations and some existing insulation will need to be topped up or replaced.

Ventilation Standard – Rental homes must have windows that can be opened in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Kitchens and bathrooms must have extractor fans.

Moisture Ingress and Drainage Standard – Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water and ground water. Rental properties with an enclosed sub-floor space must have a ground moisture barrier.

Draught Stopping Standard – Landlords must make sure the property does not have any unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts. All unused open fireplaces must be closed off or their chimneys blocked to prevent draughts.

Apart from meeting these Healthy Homes Standards there are a few other things that help to keep your investment well maintained and your tenants happy.

Regular trimming of trees and hedges help ensure the house and grounds receive adequate sunlight. This will not only provide a warm and sunny home for the tenants but also help the grounds to dry out. It is also a good idea to have the gutters cleared at least once a year. This will ensure the drainage is efficient but also help avoid those unsightly little gardens sprouting up in your guttering!

Slippery driveways, pathways, steps and decks can be very dangerous. Regular maintenance of areas where moss and lichen have gathered is a good idea.

Thorough checking of hot water cylinders, the plumbing under sinks and behind toilets during your routine inspections for any leaks will not only help keep the house warm and dry but energy efficient. Installing a hot water cylinder blanket will also help keep the power bills down for your tenants.

Suitable curtains and blinds that fit the window properly will help keep your house warm and cosy. There are some great ready- made options available that are reasonably inexpensive. Installing security catches on the windows will also encourage your tenant to ventilate the property without having to worry about security.

Most insurance companies require detailed routine inspections to be carried out every three months. These are important as they will not only alert you to any maintenance issues but also provide an opportunity to ensure your property is compliant.

Full details of the Healthy Homes legislation and standards are available on the Tenancy Services website along with a compliance statement to help you work through what is required for your rental property.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you would like some information about our professional property management services. Happy to have a chat! You can reach me at r.stanaway@barfoot.co.nz or call 0274319471. 


Raewyn Stanaway

Raewyn leads the Property Manager Team at Barfoot & Thompson Grey Lynn. Her extensive background in corporate management along with running her own businesses has made her the perfect candidate for the role. She has a strong focus on customer service and believes that communication is key to building long term relationships.






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