Landlords note: new healthy home standards for rental properties

Date: 20th April 2019

Many rental homes in New Zealand are well below the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum indoor temperature of 18°C. To address this concern, the government is making changes to help ensure all tenants have a warm and dry home and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

for rent sign on side of building

Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand, and research has shown that our rental housing is of poorer quality than owner-occupied homes. Many rental homes don’t have adequate insulation, meaning they’re more likely to be cold and damp. Insulation minimises heat loss, making homes easier and cheaper to keep warm and dry, and healthier to live in.

The new healthy homes standards


The main living area must have a fixed heating device that can heat the room to at least 18°C.


Ceiling and underfloor insulation must either meet the 2008 Building Code, or for existing ceiling insulation, have a minimum thickness of 120mm and be in reasonable condition


Ventilation must include openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. Rooms with a bath or shower or indoor cooktop must have an appropriately sized extractor fan.


Rental properties must have efficient drainage, guttering, downpipes and drains.


If a rental property has an enclosed subfloor space, a ground moisture barrier must be installed where possible


Any gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, floors and doors that cause noticeable draughts must be blocked. This includes all unused chimneys and fireplaces.

Meeting the 2008 Building Code

Insulation requirements under the 2008 Building Code are measured by R-value. ‘R’ stands for resistance — how well insulation resists heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

You can check the R-value of new insulation by checking the product packaging. For existing insulation, you may need a professional insulation installer to tell you if it meets the regulations. If you’re looking for an installer, the Insulation Association of New Zealand and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA Energywise) can help:

Insulation installers

Insulation Association of New Zealand

Climate zones

The required R-value varies across New Zealand’s three climate zone. All of the South Island is in Zone 3 which requires ceiling of R 3.3 and underfloor of R 1.3

  • Zone 1 – Northland – ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3
  • Zone 2 – Mid-Lower North Island excluding Central North Island – ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3
  • Zone 3 — Central North Island & all of South Island – ceiling of R 3.3, underfloor R 1.3

More information

Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website – About the healthy homes standards

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