There currently seems to be confusion amongst tenants, landlords and property managers of the heating requirements in
the “limbo period” since the insulation standards came into effect last year and when the new Healthy Homes Standards
come into effect in 2021.
This confusion has been highlighted in some recent Tenancy Tribunal cases and has also resulted in an increase in
enquiries to REINZ’s Property Management team.
Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says: “Currently, under the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947, there is a
requirement that the living room of every property be fitted with a fireplace (and chimney) or other approved form of
“This means that if a working fireplace is not in the living room of a rental property that tenants can request the
landlord or property manager supply them with a heater of some sort. Under the regulations, the landlord or property
manager must meet this requirement between now and when the Healthy Homes standards come into effect.
“It’s easy to be caught out by this as we’ve seen in recent Tribunal cases,” says Norwell. “So, we thought it was
important that we remind property managers and landlords of their obligations.”
Once the Healthy Homes Standards come into effect, then the requirements will change to a fixed heating source which can
directly heath the main living room to at least 18 degrees Celsius.
“A portable heater will not meet the requirements from July next year so landlords and property managers should be
planning for the best long-term approach to meet the new requirements in 2021,” concludes Norwell.