Healthy Homes Standards Guidelines to Success

by Claire Wilson on Mon Oct 2019
Healthy Homes Standards Guidelines to Success

All private rentals must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy after 1 July 2021, with all private rentals complying by 1 July 2024. All boarding houses must comply by 1 July 2021.

We have teamed up with Warm Fuzzies who will provide us a pathway to streamlining the Healthy Homes Standards (HHS) rollout. This is a big project they are undertaking and it will require us to work closely, keeping communication channels open to ensure everyone’s success.

The size of this project nationwide, coupled with the short time frame to have remedial works completed, will certainly challenge the resources available throughout the country.

A strategic plan prior will be discussed with us by Warm Fuzzies before starting inspections that will include a schedule for inspection and introduction to the inspectors and their process. Along the way, progress will be tracked against the KPI’s set out in the original strategy, ensuring they are meeting deadlines and on track to meet targets.

Warm Fuzzies will provide us with three separate pieces of information:

  1. Quality individual property reports, summarizing our findings at the time of inspection.
  1. Documentation for landlord records, which you are required to keep as supporting evidence of the information collected (including the fabulous heat loss equation), along with
  1. 13A statement – which will be updated as remedial works are completed.

Following a front-­‐page summary showing pass/fail of the standards, you will find a quote page for any remedial works from multiple suppliers, saving you time and energy gathering competing quotes and providing options. The summary report will also offer explanation for any failed items and photographic evidence.

Further to this, Warm Fuzzies will provide us a real time portfolio overview to enable us to keep track of how your properties are progressing.

Q&A’S FROM OWNERS

Q: Can I get my other properties assessed that aren’t under A1PM management? 

A: Yes you can but the fee is $350+GST and it will need to be approved via A1PM.  At this stage Warm Fuzzies aren't dealing with private landlords direct.

Q: How much is cost for finalising a report when the owner does their own installation of heat pumps etc.? 

A: There is an admin fee of $35+GST to update records received from other contractors.

Q: Will the assessor know what is identified as "living room" when the house is a Home & Granny situation? 

A: The main living room of the main building is what would be considered -­‐ assuming there is only one tenancy agreement at the property.

Q: My property has several living areas: formal, family and another one upstairs, will the assessors know which one has to be compliant? 

A: The inspectors will choose the largest of the rooms to calculate the heat loss and heating requirements, we are taking account all of the heaters in the space, and adjacent spaces and will account for that. We will take a pragmatic approach to this, and this can be discussed if there are any challenges.

Q: The same question for houses that have extra living areas for 'extended' families that are not as clear cut as a Home & Granny?

A: There are likely to be some houses that are outside of the ordinary. These can be reviewed on a case-­‐by-­‐case basis. Providing WF with this information prior to inspection will allow us to prepare for this and gather any extra information prior to assessment.

Q: Wooden window frames: what if they are painted and nailed shut or aluminum frames that are riveted shut. Will the assessors advise if they need to be openable or would these be compliant? 

A: I'm afraid not. The code is quite clear that there needs to be an openable window/door in all livable areas. This will be an interesting area to which solutions will be determined as the scope of works starts to become clear. Unfortunately, none of this information is readily available as yet. We will start to get a clearer picture of this as we work through the first 500 properties.

Q: What if the vents on the stove cannot be ducted to outside, are they exemptions the same as insulation where it is not possible to insulate? Are charcoal absorbing ones ok, I have heard that they will not be? 

A: There are exemptions to ventilation, which are: it is not reasonably practicable to install. An example of this is likely to be in apartments. Charcoal absorbing vents have not be included in the accepted remedial products to our knowledge.

Q: Will the assessment for drainage include information about water tanks and their overflow? Does it include gutters, down pipes and drains? 

A: The assessment does not include water tanks and their overflow. It does include down pipes, cracks or holes in gutters and apparent adequate drainage. Drainage is a specialised area so any issues that appear will be referred to a drainage specialist for review and quoting.

Q: I learnt today that draught excluder sausage dogs will be allowed to keep out draughts at the bottom of doors, have you heard the same and if so would you be suggesting this or a fixed solution?

A: To the best of our knowledge, this would not be an acceptable solution. Our understanding is the remedy to draught stopping needs to be a more permanent solution.

Q: Do I have to have a company assess?

A: It is not a legal requirement to have a company assess the property however it is a legal requirement to have all the information on a property and evidence to show the property does meet the healthy homes standard. This will include a heat pump among many other things.

Q: Why can't you assess the property -­‐ isn’t that what I pay you for? 

A: Unfortunately, we are unable to assess ourselves if the property meets the standards as the calculations and requirements are not as simple as checking if something is there or not.

For example -­‐ The correct heat pump to be installed requires a number of factors being calculated, age of property, floor area, wall sizes, windows etc. and these are all out into a calculator https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/heating-tool/ to decipher what is the min / max heat pump allowed.

Q: I already have heat pump/or insulation I don’t need an assessment? 

A: There is much more in the requirements of the healthy home standards than insulation and heat pumps;

  • Ground moisture barriers
  • Range-­‐hoods & extractor fans (in all bathrooms) all ducted to outside with correct ducting and extraction capacity
  • Adequate drainage around the property
  • Minimum ventilation in rooms (window opening area) in comparison to room size
  • Draught stopping if and where required

This will all be required to be evidenced that it meets the standards, how the data was collected, (along with how the area heat loss was calculated) and be outlined on future tenancy agreements in a 13A Statement.

Q: What If I don’t want to pay for an assessment? 

A: You will need to fill in a form (ask us) so we can have on record evidence that your property complies with the HHS for MBIE and future tenancy agreements. 

  • Healthy Homes Statement -­‐ This needs to be completed for your property
  • Healthy Homes Standard -­‐ This has some helpful information around the requirements Heating assessment tool -­‐ A link to put in your properties details to ensure you have the correct heating installed

We also need evidence to back up the information provided which can be in form of photographs, receipts, certificates and you must include your heat loss calculations.

 

Claire Wilson

Claire Wilson

An active investor with her husband Hamish, Claire loves to inspire & inform others, all whilst juggling three little boys and living her mantra to eat well and travel lots.