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Dude, where’s my heat pump!?

03-Jun-2021 13:19:25

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From 1 July 2021, private landlords must ensure their rental property complies with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy.

What are the healthy homes standards?
The healthy homes standards incorporate five aspects of a property, which all contribute to a warm and dry home.

Heating
All rental properties must have one or more fixed heaters, which can directly heat the main living room and meet a required heating capacity.

Insulation
Ceiling and underfloor insulation has been compulsory in all rental homes since 1 July 2019, where it is reasonably practicable to install.

Ventilation
Rental properties must have at least one door or window (including skylights) that open to the outside in all bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms and kitchens. The windows or doors must be able to be fixed in the open position. All kitchens and bathrooms must have an extractor fan that ventilates externally.

Moisture ingress and drainage
Rental properties must have efficient drainage for the removal of storm water, surface water and ground water, including an appropriate outfall. If the rental property has an enclosed subfloor, a ground moisture barrier must be installed if it is reasonably practicable to do so.

Draught stopping
Landlords must block any unreasonable gaps and holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors and doors that cause noticeable draughts. Open fireplaces must be blocked unless the tenant and landlord agree otherwise.

What do landlords need to do and when?
From 1 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 must comply with the healthy homes standards.
  • From 1 July 2024
  • All rental homes must comply with the healthy homes standards.

What can tenants do to help?
Your property manager will be assessing the property to establish what needs to be done to meet the healthy homes standards, however there are still ways that tenants can help.

Advise your property manager if;

  • any heaters or ventilation systems stop working
  • if you notice any unreasonable gaps or holes that cause noticeable drafts
  • if water is not draining from the property as it should

Your property manager will be looking to identify any maintenance issues at the time of a routine inspection, however tenants have a responsibility to tell the landlord if they know of any damage or need for repairs as soon as possible.

Healthy homes compliance dates for existing tenants
If you are already a tenant, the final date that landlords have to comply with the healthy homes standards is 1 July 2024. However, there are some variations to this.

Periodic Tenancies

  • signed before 1 December 2020, the final date for compliance is 1 July 2024.
  • signed after 1 December 2020, you will have received a current level of compliance statement that will indicate what standards the property met upon signing the tenancy agreement and when the property will comply with the healthy homes standards. The final date for compliance that can be entered on these statements is 1 July 2024.

Fixed-term tenancies

  • if you renew the fixed-term tenancy after 1 July 2021, the landlord has 90 days to comply with the healthy homes standards.
  • if, however you simply extend the end date of your fixed-term tenancy, this does not activate a start date for healthy homes compliance. The final date for compliance is 1 July 2024.
  • if you are on a fixed-term tenancy that ends after 1 July 2021 and rolls into a periodic tenancy, this does not activate a start date for healthy homes compliance. The final date for compliance is 1 July 2024.

This article is featured in Renting with Harcourts, Issue 2 2021

Topics: Property Management, Advice, Tenants