Tenants

If you're a tenant, there are things you can do to improve the health and comfort of the property you are renting.

Insulation

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) aim to make homes warmer, drier and safer for the million New Zealanders who live in rented accommodation. Landlords are now required to provide a statement on new tenancy agreements about the location, type and condition of insulation in the home.

In addition, all rental homes will be required to have ceiling and underfloor insulation by 1 July 2019 (where it is practical to retrofit). Rental homes that already have insulation must be upgraded if the ceiling and underfloor insulation is no longer in reasonable condition. If the home you rent does not have insulation in the ceiling or floor yet, talk to your landlord about when they are intending to get it retrofitted.

For more information about the requirements, visit the Tenancy Services website.

Insulation requirements - Tenancy Services website

Free insulation for low-income tenants

Grants are available through Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes for ceiling and underfloor insulation for rental properties occupied by low-income tenants.

Do I qualify?
Type of property Living in rental property built before the year 2000
Eligibility Named tenant must have a Community Services Card. The programme may also accept referrals from low-income households with health conditions related to cold, damp housing.
Cost Free (your landlord will need to contribute up to 50% of the cost)
Exclusions Government housing stock because Government agencies look after their own rental property

To register your interest in the programme and find out if you qualify, contact an insulation service provider in your area.

 Service providers with funding through Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes

Other funding options

Some councils will let your landlord add the cost of insulation to the rates and there are also insulation companies offering special discounts.

 Payment options for insulation and heating

Ventilation

Ventilating a home is essential for removing excess moisture from your home - damp homes can be mouldy and bad for your health. The simplest and cheapest way to ventilate is opening doors and windows a few times every day. If your home has externally vented extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms, make sure you use them to get rid of moisture.

 Ventilation checklist

Heating

Heating your home is important for your health and comfort. Aim for 18 to 20˚C during the day when you’re home, or 16˚C in your bedroom overnight. Inadequate heating can lead to mould growth and dampness.

If the home you are renting comes with a heater, learn how to use it wisely.

 Using heat pumps wisely

 Using wood burners wisely

 Using pellet burners wisely

 Using electric heaters wisely

Avoid using:

  • Unflued gas heaters – whether portable or fixed - which release toxic fumes and make your house damp. Cheap portable electric heaters are safer and cost less to run. Some fixed gas heaters only have one pipe or hose for the gas supply, but do not have a flue going out through an external wall or through the roof – using these should also be avoided.
  • Open fire places – they are inefficient and draughty. Most of the heat is lost up the chimney.

In the market for a new electric heater? Find out more about the types available and how best to use them.

 Electric heating

Simple ways to lower energy bills

There are easy ways to lower your energy bill and make your home warmer and more comfortable.

 Simple ways to lower energy bills

 Buying and renting tips