The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) monitoring report released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) indicates the number of landlords insulating their rentals is not as high as it needs to be to achieve full compliance by the 1 July 2019 deadline.
Under changes to the RTA made in 2016, all rental properties must have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed, wherever possible, that meet the required standard.
Tenancy Services has had a nationwide information campaign underway since 2016 to inform landlords and tenants about their new rights and responsibilities, including sending reminder letters three years in a row.
The monitoring report indicates most landlords are aware of the changes; however, they are not taking action to bring properties up to standard fast enough.
As of March 2018, an estimated 67 per cent of private rental properties met the standard, an increase of just 7 per cent since July 2016.
“We are fast approaching the 1 July 2019 deadline, and time is running out for landlords to make their rental properties compliant,” says MBIE Housing and Tenancy Services Branch General Manager Steve Watson.
Estimates suggest there are between 126,000 and 220,000 rental homes which still need to be properly fitted for insulation, and talks with industry tell us that this is more than what can be practicably carried out by qualified installers by the cut-off date.
“Installing insulation is a complex job and needs to be done to the right New Zealand Standard. The qualified insulation installers who belong to our organisation can insulate an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 properties each year”, says Insulation Association of NZ Executive Officer Richard Arkinstall.
From 1 July 2019, MBIE Tenancy Compliance and Investigation Team will be focusing on compliance and enforcement of insulation requirements. There will be consequences for landlords who fail to comply in time, with exemplary damages of up to $4,000 per property.
“Landlords need to know they can’t afford to leave insulation until the last minute. If they don’t book the work in now, they could miss out altogether, and that will cost them,” says Mr Watson.