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Insight into the Healthy Homes Bill - 8th Dec 2017

Insight into the Healthy Homes Bill

After several tries in opposition, the new Government have passed a law requiring rentals to be warm, dry, and well ventilated.

The law will require landlords to guarantee that any new tenancy from July 1, 2019 must be either properly insulated or contain a heating source able to make the home warm and dry.  All tenancies must meet the new standards by July 1, 2024.

The exact requirements are not in the bill, but will be set by the Government before 2019. Grants of up to $2000 will be available for eligible landlords to upgrade their stock. 

Under the previous law rentals were only required to be insulated - by the same date in 2019 - if it was practicable, with 100,000 homes excluded from the requirement.

"I think it's the single most important public health reform we can make," Housing Minister Phil Twyford said on Thursday.

"Some 42,000 children in this country go to hospital every year with infectious and respiratory diseases that are largely the result of low quality cold damp and mouldy homes, and the inability of their parents to turn on the electricity and heat those homes," Twyford said as he moved to pass the bill - after a bit of coaching from National's housing spokesman Michael Woodhouse with the exact words to move the third reading.

"Every winter we have something called excess winter mortality, when some 1600 mostly older New Zealanders die premature deaths, largely for the same reason."

"This law enables the Government to set standards for rental housing quality. The Healthy Homes standards will cover heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping, drainage and moisture. Many landlords will already meet these standards and will not have to change anything. For those that need to upgrade their properties, government grants for installing heating and insulation will be available."

Read the full article.

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