HEALTHY HOMES : Understanding the Insulation Standard

19 March 2021

Do you know your rental property insulation R-value? If your answer is ‘what is an R-value’, then read on.

Minimum insulation requirements for rental properties in New Zealand became law in July 2019.

This included compulsory ceiling and underfloor insulation where reasonably practicable to install. All tenancy agreements are also required to include a statement outlining the details of the property’s insulation.   

The Healthy Homes Standards build on these regulations, which means that some insulation may need to be topped up to adhere to the standard. Our recommendation is to double check your compliance, and if you have existing insulation, ensure it is still in reasonable condition. 

Insulation Standards in New Zealand

Good insulation means less heat escaping from a house and a warmer, drier and cosier home for rental tenants. 

In New Zealand we use R-values to define minimum insulation requirements. ‘R’ stands for resistance and R-value is a measure of resistance to heat flow. This means the higher the R-value, the better the insulation.

The R-Value required for your property

Due to the different climates in New Zealand, the country has been split into three zones. The minimum R-values required in rental homes depend on which zone your property is located in. 

All new insulation has the R-value clearly marked on the product packaging. If you’re unsure of the R-value of existing insulation, it’s worth checking the space where the insulation is installed as, during installation, the R-value from the packaging is often stapled to a beam.

If you are unable to locate this information, then you can measure the thickness of the insulation yourself, or get a professional to do this for you.

This handy tool from Tenancy Services  will assist you in determining whether you need to upgrade your insulation or not.

Exemptions and Installation

There are a few specific and general exemptions to these insulation standards. The Three specific exemptions include;

  • Where access is impracticable or unsafe
  • Partial exemption for certain underfloor insulation
  • Ceilings and floors with other habitable spaces directly above or below

Click here for a more complete understanding of these three exemptions.

The general exemptions include;

  • If the landlord intends to demolish or substantially rebuild the rental property within 12 months from the start of the tenancy and has applied for the relevant resource or building consent before the healthy homes compliance date
  •  If the tenant is the immediate former owner of the rental property and the tenancy started immediately after the landlord acquired the property from the tenant
  • If a rental property is part of a building and the landlord does not own the entire building (for example, if a landlord owns an apartment). The landlord may be partially exempt. 

For a more complete understanding of these exemptions, click here to visit the Tenancy Services site.

All insulation needs to be installed in accordance with the New Zealand Standard 4246:2016

If you are needing assistance in understanding the Insulation standards, or the Healthy Homes legislation, then please get in touch with one of our offices. We are here to help.

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