Info & News
Insulation for your Rental Property
Since 01 July 2019 it has been a requirement that rental property to have both ceiling and underfloor insulation.
This requirement is due to the Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations 2019 - Part 2, Subpart 3 Insulation Standards.
Although guides are useful, the Law is the actual requirement and the starting place.
Ceilings and Floors
Post July 2016 - In essence the requirement for ceiling and floor insulation is that insulation installed after 01 July 2016 is required to achieve a minimum 'R' value and the following requirements;
- Ceilings - minimum R value of R2.9 is required for ceiling insulation in properties within Zone 1&2 and R3.3 for Zone 3 (when it was installed);
- Suspended Floors - minimum R value of 1.3 for floor insulation (when it was installed);
- existing and new insulation, must be installed in accordance with NZS 4246:2016 (linked below);
- existing insulation must be in a reasonable condition, which is considered be is well fitted (no gaps), is dry and free from mould - Section 18 of the Act - Determining whether insulation is in reasonable condition provides the requirements around this.
Note: R Value = measure of resistance to the flow of heat through the material (insulation) - The higher the number the greater the thermal efficiency.
Pre July 2016 - For insulation installed before 01 July 2016 the following minimum insulation levels are required;
Masonry Homes -
- Ceiling - R1.5
- Floor - R0.9
Timber Framed Homes -
- Ceiling - R1.9
- Floor - R0.9
How to Determine the R Value?
You can use the MBIE Tenancy Services 'Insulation Requirements' guide (linked below), but we recommend that you can seek an assessment by a certified installer who can also give you a quote to upgrade.
There is no current requirement for wall insulation to be installed in tenanted properties. This presumably is due to the difficult nature of establishing what is currently installed (if any) and the difficulty of upgrading.
Section 19 of the Act provides permissable exemptions from the requirement to insulate, which in essence is that if at the commencement of the tenancy the insulation did not comply and it is not reasonably practicable to install insulation it is exempt, unless it becomes reasonably practicable to install.
Reasonably practicable will always be interpretable, but this is likely to mean without substantial building work (no access), solid concrete slabs (no reasonable possibility to insulate) or where H&S is a factor (e.g. asbestos presence).
In additon to it being a requirement by law, we of course consider it sensible to install insulation where reasonably possible. Failure to comply may result in fines.
From 1 July 2016, landlords need to provide an insulation statement in all new tenancy agreements and recommended if you are renewing an existing tenancy agreement. A link to a PDF template is included below but in summary will include:
- whether there is insulation in the home;
- where it is in the walls, ceiling and underfloor;
- what type of insulation it is;
- what condition the insulation is in.
Its not all bad news for the landlords finances, there is funding assistance available from some councils around the country, which allow payments for insulation to be included with your rates bill.
Most of the major banks also offer some fee incentives or interest free offers for energy related upgrades - see EECA link below for details.
- 01 July 2020 - Landlords must include a statement of their current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement.
- 01 July 2021 - Private landlords must ensure their rental properties comply with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new, or renewed, tenancy. All boarding houses (except Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) and Community Housing Provider boarding house tenancies) must comply with the healthy homes standards.
- 01 July 2023 - All Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing New Zealand) houses and registered Community Housing Provider houses must comply with the healthy homes standards.
- 01 July 2024 - All rental homes must comply with the healthy homes standards.
This article is not in any way meant to be legal advice but a starting point for your informaiton gathering. We recommend that you seek advice from your property professional and legal advisers.