Compulsory Insulation for Residential Tenancies

August 6, 2019

in Property

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act mean that from 1 July 2019 landlords must ensure their residential rental properties meet the minimum insulation requirements for underfloor and ceiling insulation.

Action can be taken against landlords through the Tenancy Tribunal and the District Court and fines of up to $4,000 apply for those landlords who fail to comply.  In addition, further action can be taken following payment of the fine if the landlord has not completed installation of the insulation.

Landlords need to be aware that

  • Underfloor and ceiling insulation is compulsory in all residential rental properties.
  • Insulation must meet the 2008 Building Code – but note that under the new Healthy Home Standards the required thickness of insulation will increase to a minimum of 120mm by 2021.
  • If existing insulation is not in a reasonable condition, it needs to be upgraded
  • Insulation statements are required for all new tenancy agreements, stating the location, type and thickness/R rating of the insulation in place, and signed by the landlord.

Exemptions to compulsory insulation

  • Apartments with habitable space above/below the apartment
  • Underfloor or ceiling space inaccessible/impractical to access by a professional insulation installer
  • Installation would cause substantial damage to the property, or substantial building work being required (including removing cladding)
  • Installation would create a significant risk to health and safety
  • If an inaccessible area becomes accessible (e.g through renovations) then insulation must be installed at that point.
  • Insulation is not required if you are planning to demolish or rebuild within 12 months of tenancy (but the owner must have evidence such as building/resource consent etc.)

Subsidies may be available from some local councils to assist the landlord.  Auckland Council’s Retrofit programme enables an advance to qualifying owners of up to $5,000, to be paid off over (currently) 9 years (with interest).

If you require any advice or further information on the matters dealt with in this publication please contact the lawyer at Farry and Co. who normally advises you, or alternatively contact:

Carol Allen
09 379 0055

The information contained in this publication is intended as a guide only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Farry and Co. does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. 

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