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Cost of standards will hit tenants

Parts of the Government’s new Healthy Homes minimum standards are not cost-effective and that will impact on tenants, according to investor advocates.

Monday, February 25th 2019, 10:22AM 1 Comment

by Miriam Bell

The Government yesterday released its long awaited Healthy Homes minimum standards, which are intended to ensure rental properties are warmer and drier for tenants, and the response has been mixed.

While the Green Building Council says the new requirements don’t go far enough, the NZ Property Investors Federation is supportive of the need for quality standards in rental properties.

But NZPIF executive officer Andrew King says that tenants ultimately pay for the required improvements so they need to be cost effective – and two parts of the new standards don’t meet this requirement.

Those areas are the requirements around insulation and fixed heating, he says.

“We support compulsory insulation in rentals but topping up existing insulation provides very little improvement for tenants while costing almost the same as installing completely new insulation.”

“We also support fixed heating in rentals and heat pumps are a great source of heating for some tenants.

“However, they are expensive to buy, install, maintain and replace so will increase rental prices by around $15 per week.”

This means tenants who do not want and will not use a heat pump will still be paying for it through higher rent, King says.

“Allowing cheaper but less energy efficient heaters would not require rental price increases and would give tenants greater choice in how they live in their home.”

Some other investor advocates were more critical of the new standards, which include requirements for insulation above the current standard, living room heaters, ground moisture barriers and adequate drainage.

Stop the War on Tenancies spokesperson Mike Butler says the new compliance requirements whack rental property owners with thousands of dollars in additional costs.

In his view, it is the additional insulation requirement that is the biggie.

He says official advice to the Minister was that the optimum cost-benefit is to the 1978 standard of R 1.9 in ceilings, as currently required, and anything over that has diminishing benefit.

“Yet the Minister has gone ahead and whacked rental property owners with the most extreme 2008 option of R 2.9 in ceilings, which means that all insulation will have to be redone.”

Butler says there will be lots of rental property owners who thought they were doing the right thing by installing insulation as required but who now find out that they have to do it all over again.

There is not a crisis in the condition of rental property. There is a crisis in the availability of rental property and the extra compliance requirements will make this worse.

“Owners have three options: Absorb the extra costs, raise rents, or sell. Ask any accountant. Owners are selling. So then where will renters live?”

Read more:

Revealed: Healthy Homes minimum standards 

Tags: compliance healthy homes housing market NZPIF property investment property management rental market rents tenants

« Revealed: Healthy Homes minimum standards Boom time in student rental market »

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Comments from our readers

On 25 February 2019 at 11:05 am Sooky1 said:
Of course the tenants will bare to cost of any improvements in the finish, first of all the costs will be borne by the Landlord, he will reclaim any GST then the costs of any improvements via the profit & Loss accounts, he will in turn put the rents up to recover those costs because any tenants going forward will derive all of the benefits of those improvements, does "Motor Mouth" Twyford expect to implement Gold Plated tenancies for all renters!! for peanuts, the only Landlord in the land that will provide all of these improvements for free to the Tenants is HNZCI, and they have a bottomless money pit courtesy of the long suffering Tax payer.

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA - Back My Build 6.19 - - -
AIA - Go Home Loans 8.74 7.14 6.75 ▼6.39
ANZ 8.64 7.74 7.39 7.25
ANZ Blueprint to Build 7.39 - - -
ANZ Good Energy - - - 1.00
ANZ Special - 7.14 6.79 6.65
ASB Bank 8.64 7.14 6.75 ▼6.39
ASB Better Homes Top Up - - - 1.00
Avanti Finance 9.15 - - -
Basecorp Finance 9.60 - - -
Bluestone 9.24 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - Classic - ▼7.14 6.79 6.65
BNZ - Green Home Loan top-ups - - - 1.00
BNZ - Mortgage One 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 8.69 ▼7.74 7.39 7.25
BNZ - TotalMoney 8.69 - - -
CFML Loans 9.45 - - -
China Construction Bank - 7.09 6.75 6.49
China Construction Bank Special - - - -
Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - ▼6.79 - -
Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 8.40 ▼6.99 6.79 6.65
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Co-operative Bank - Standard 8.40 ▼7.49 7.29 7.15
Credit Union Auckland 7.70 - - -
First Credit Union Special - 7.45 7.35 -
First Credit Union Standard 8.50 7.99 7.85 -
Heartland Bank - Online 7.99 6.89 6.55 6.35
Heartland Bank - Reverse Mortgage - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 8.90 7.60 7.40 -
HSBC Premier 8.59 - - -
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 7.85 7.05 ▼6.69 6.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Kainga Ora 8.64 7.79 7.39 7.25
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - - - -
Kiwibank 8.50 7.99 7.79 7.55
Kiwibank - Offset 8.50 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 6.99 6.79 6.65
Liberty 8.59 8.69 8.79 8.94
Nelson Building Society 9.00 7.75 7.35 -
Pepper Money Advantage 10.49 - - -
Pepper Money Easy 8.69 - - -
Pepper Money Essential 8.29 - - -
Resimac - LVR < 80% 8.84 8.09 7.59 7.29
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Resimac - LVR < 90% 9.84 9.09 8.59 8.29
Resimac - Specialist Clear (Alt Doc) - - 8.99 -
Resimac - Specialist Clear (Full Doc) - - 9.49 -
SBS Bank 8.74 ▼7.74 7.29 6.59
SBS Bank Special - ▼7.14 6.69 5.99
SBS Construction lending for FHB - - - -
SBS FirstHome Combo 6.19 ▼6.14 - -
SBS FirstHome Combo - - - -
SBS Unwind reverse equity 9.95 - - -
Select Home Loans 9.24 - - -
TSB Bank 9.44 7.79 7.55 7.45
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 8.64 6.99 6.75 6.65
Unity 8.64 6.99 6.79 -
Unity First Home Buyer special - 6.55 6.45 -
Wairarapa Building Society 8.60 6.95 6.85 -
Westpac 8.64 7.89 7.35 7.25
Westpac Choices Everyday 8.74 - - -
Westpac Offset 8.64 - - -
Westpac Special - 7.29 6.75 6.65
Median 8.64 7.21 7.29 6.65

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