If you own a rental property, you are no doubt aware of the Healthy Homes Standards and have more than likely done at least some work to ensure you’re fully compliant.
If a new or renewed tenancy begins on or after 1 July 2021, the property must comply with the standards within 90 days of the new or renewed tenancy start date. All private rentals must comply by 1 July 2024, regardless of when the tenancy began.
If your tenant moved in before July 2021, don’t assume you have two more years to bring the property up to standard. If you vary the tenancy agreement – for example changing who is responsible for mowing the lawns – you might change your compliance deadline, or at least the compliance statement that needs to be included in the tenancy agreement. You’ll find more detail here.
Not complying with the Healthy Homes standards will hit your pocket hard. If your property is found non-compliant with the new regulations, you could face a fine of up to $4,000.
As well as paying a fine, which usually goes to the tenant, you’ll also be ordered to get your property aligned with the standards immediately. You might find yourself scrambling to arrange and install insulation, heat pumps, or ground moisture barrier, which could end up costing you a lot more money and stress.
Regardless of how much time you think you have to meet the standards, we recommend making a plan now.
There are five Healthy Homes Standards designed to keep homes warm, dry, and healthy for those who rent them. The standards cover:
- Moisture ingress and drainage
- Draught stopping
Even if your property has been well maintained and appears in excellent condition, there may be areas where it doesn’t meet the standard. For example, a blocked downpipe could be causing water to leak into the soffit, or the ceiling insulation may not meet the thickness test because it’s compacted over time.
The first step is to have your property inspected by a professional assessor, who will prepare a report to show you exactly what you’re dealing with. If there are any issues you’re either unable, unwilling, or unqualified to fix yourself, you need to allow plenty of time to find a contractor and have the work completed.
Any installation work such as heating, ventilation, and insulation may need a long lead time due to the current high demand on all building trades. If you’re unfortunate enough to need major remedial work – for instance, to stop moisture ingress – you may need to allow several months.
Advance planning will not only give you time to book in the contractors you need, it will also help you budget, and you may even be able to spread the cost over a year or more.
The Government’s consumer protection website includes this useful guide for planning a renovation, which could help you manage any repair work with less stress.
Landlords are entitled to access the house to do work needed to meet the healthy homes standards (with 24 hours notice), but you still need to consider the impact of work on your tenants. If prolonged or very disruptive work is needed, your tenant may want to move out while this is done.
The team at Angel Property Managers can help negotiate alternative accommodations for your tenant if required, as well as help with other aspects of getting your property compliant.
Our experienced property managers are well versed in navigating rental laws and legislation and can assist you in understanding the Healthy Homes Standards. We can advise on trades if you need work carried out to get your property compliant and help with the record-keeping, statements, and tenancy agreement matters.