Landlords have less than a year left to insulate rental properties before new penalties come into force. Here are some tips on how to comply with the new legislation.
When: 1 July 2019
What: Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act mean landlords must fit insulation in the ceilings and under the floors of their rental properties. Both new and existing insulation must meet certain standards. There will be a penalty of up to $4,000 for non-compliance.
Why: It’s good business practice to look after your investment. Insulation can reduce condensation, mould and damp. Insulating your property keeps a property warm and dry, and makes it easier and more efficient for your tenants to heat. Warm and dry rental homes help your tenants avoid illness, and make them more likely to stay longer.
What you need to do: Check your existing insulation by looking in your ceiling cavity and underfloor areas, hiring a professional to do an assessment, or checking the council building file.
Start talking to your tenant(s) about the right time to install new insulation, or upgrade the existing insulation. Bear in mind that as the deadline approaches, insulation installers will likely be heavily booked, so get in early.
Get the facts about insulation requirements (external link) — Tenancy Services
Most homes can be insulated in a day. It costs around $3,400 + GST for a professional installer to install both ceiling and floor insulation in a 96m2 property; larger homes generally cost more.
The cost of installing insulation also varies depending on the shape and location of the building.
There are many types of houses in New Zealand, some of which can’t be insulated, and may qualify for an exemption.
Building design exceptions: Buildings where it’s not physically possible, or would take extensive renovations to insulate, for example:
Access exceptions: When an experienced professional insulation installer:
Minor work, eg temporarily removing exterior base boards to access the underfloor, does not satisfy criteria for an exemption.
If you’re not sure whether insulation could be installed in your rental property, contact an experienced professional insulation installer or a builder, if necessary. If they tell you insulating some areas in the home isn’t possible or reasonably practicable, ask for written confirmation of the reasons to include in your tenancy agreements.
Exceptions to insulation requirements (external link) — Tenancy Services