“Healthy Home” policy impact on both landlord and tenant.

26 Feb “Healthy Home” policy impact on both landlord and tenant.

As we discussed in an earlier post, the new government are introducing a ‘Healthy Home’ policy that will impact both landlords and tenants. The policy was introduced this weekend and provides all landlords with a clear set of minimum standards related to their dwellings that they need to provide their tenants. This may mean that changes need to be made to a property. The cost to landlords will vary, and will depend on a property’s characteristics (for example, size, age, condition), and the amount of work required to bring each property up to the minimum requirements. There is some time to undertake these changes with the policy not being enforced until mid/late 2021.

Because this is a new policy some decisions relating to the required paperwork have yet to be made. At this point we have these guidelines:

  • Decisions are still being made in relation to what a landlord has to provide a tenant in a tenancy agreement under the healthy homes standards. Helpful and clear guidance will be provided to landlords on what records they need to keep. It is most likely a landlord will have to present a tenant a declaration of compliance and the details of how a home complies with a print off of the heating tool’s results, or a report from a suitably qualified professional. These requirements will have to be presented to a tenant with their tenancy agreement.
  • Landlords should maintain any records that adequately show compliance with all standards. There will be guidance that will be published by Tenancy Services on what records are best to maintain, however it is advisable to keep any and all documents that show compliance. For example building consents regarding the building work in relation to the standards, any records from professionals or labourers who did any building work in relation to the standards, photographic evidence of compliance and receipts/invoices for material and labour etc.

At this stage nothing is set in stone. The next step is for the standards to be drafted in regulations and approved by Cabinet. The detailed regulations will then become law by mid-2019. It is important for landlords to come up to compliance with the Healthy Homes standards since the Tenancy Tribunal may award exemplary damages, a financial penalty of up to $4000 against the landlord, which is usually awarded to the tenants.

A lot is still up in the air but if you have any questions about this new policy don’t hesitate to get in touch with myself and the team. We’re the experts on this and will do all the work behind the scenes to ensure all the properties on our books are compliant. Please share this post so this important information circulates.