Healthy Homes Standards Announced
The new Healthy Homes Standards have been announced by Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford.
The new Healthy Homes Standards aim to ensure rental properties are warm, dry and healthy.
The new Healthy Homes Standards for rental properties cover five key areas which are:
- Ventilation of high moisture areas
- Draught stopping
- Drainage/ground moisture barriers
You can read the full details at Tenancy Services website or read our summary below.
From 1 July 2019 insulation must meet the standards set in 2016.
From 1 July 2021 rentals must comply with the new Standards within 90 days from entering any new or varied tenancy agreements and all homes must be compliant by 1 July 2024.
New Insulation Standard
The only extra requirement is for rentals with 70-120mm of ceiling insulation that required no work under the 2016 regulations. Under the new standards they too must meet the 2008 Building Code from 2021.
The minimum level of ceiling and underfloor insulation under the new standard must either:
a) meet the 2008 Building Code, or
b) for existing ceiling insulation have a minimum thickness of 120mm and be in reasonable condition.
Properties that have added (or already need to add) insulation to meet the 2016 regulations are not affected by the change to the standard since they must still meet the required level of insulation.
The deadline for mandatory insulation in all rentals has not changed - 1 July 2019.
New Heating Standard
An efficient fixed heating device is required that is capable of warming the living room of the rental to 18°C on the coldest day of winter.
An online tool will be developed by a government agency for use later this year to help landlords and tenants calculate the heating requirement.
In most rentals it will be a large source such as a heat pump or wood burner will be required. For very small living rooms and apartments a small fixed electric heater may be sufficient.
Inefficient, unaffordable or unhealthy heaters like unflued gas heaters, open fires, electric heaters* with a heating capacity of greater than 2.4 kilowatts or multiple electric heaters* can still be used but will not be accepted as meeting the standard.
* refers to electric heaters that are not heat pumps.
Ventilation Standards for Rentals
The Healthy Homes Standards focuses on the ability to naturally ventilate the home and for extractors to be fitted in high moisture areas (kitchens & bathrooms).
There must be windows that can be opened in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms.
Kitchen & bathrooms are the largest sources of moisture in the home and so "appropriately sized extractor fan(s)" are included in the standard.
Ducted ventilation systems are not required under the standard. They do however provide an additional safeguard from damage to the property due to moisture.
Drainage & Moisture Ingress Standards for Rentals
The Healthy Homes standards require efficient drainage and guttering as required by the Housing Improvement Regulations plus Ground Moisture Barrier in rentals with an enclosed subfloor space.
Ground moisture barriers are sheets of polythene that is at least 0.25 mm thick. It is lain over the ground under a house to prevent damp and damage to the home from rising damp. Ground moisture barriers is to be required even if there are existing subfloor vents.
Smart Energy Solutions has years experience installing ground moisture barrier which is most economically installed at the same time as underfloor insulation.
Draught Stopping Standards for Rentals
Any gaps or holes that cause noticeable draughts must be 'stopped". This includes gaps/holes in and around windows, doors, walls, ceilings, floors and unused chimneys and fireplaces.
Stopping draughts is a relatively low cost measure and the government intends to release clear guidelines that establish "reasonable thresholds" as to what constitutes a draught.
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