It is an unlawful act not to include a statement that details the current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new or renewed tenancy.
Tenants either need to give a minimum of 21 days’ notice (fixed-term tenancy granted prior to 11 February 2021) or 28 days’ notice to end a tenancy. For landlords that have not had their property assessed for the healthy homes standards, this does not allow a lot of time.
Landlords must get the property assessed and have this information included as part of the tenancy agreement, for any new or renewed tenancy. There are no exceptions. Landlords cannot rent a property without knowing the current level of compliance.
Failing to include a current level of compliance statement can result in exemplary damages of $750. Landlords then have just 90 days to meet all the standards, or risk exemplary damages of up to $7,200 payable to the tenant, or a fee payable to the Crown.
It is imperative that landlords act now or risk a lengthy vacancy period as the wait time for getting properties assessed is increasing as demand increases, particularly in regional New Zealand.
Tenants are aware that if they leave their current property, their new rental will meet the healthy homes standards within 90 days. If you lose your current tenant and a new tenant moves in, and your property has not been assessed, you risk a vacancy period while waiting to get the property assessed, and you will still need to meet all the standards within 90 days.
Harcourts advice to landlords has been, and continues to be, don't delay meeting the healthy homes standards. The earlier you meet the standards, the more likely you are to retain your current and valued tenant. The result being fewer vacancy periods with happy tenants, greater financial returns, and a warm dry healthy investment property.
These articles were featured in Harcourts Property Management Focus, Issue 7 2021.