Healthy Homes standards compliance: What landlords need to do and what renters should do to spur action

For many renters, new tenancies are an annual occurrence - and from July 1 if you're starting a new tenancy, your landlord will have 90 days to comply with all the Healthy Homes standards.

The standards, brought in by the Government in 2019, require all private rental properties to have insulation, at least one fixed heating device capable of heating to at least 18 degrees, openable windows in all rooms and extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens with indoor cooktops.

Landlords must also make sure their rentals have effective drainage and gutters and stop up any unnecessary gaps that cause draughts in walls, doors, windows and walls.

From July 2024, all rental homes, regardless of tenancy length, will have to comply with the standards. 

But what do you do if you've signed a new tenancy (or renewed an old one) and you think your landlord has dropped the ball?

Tenants and landlords both have rights under the Residential Tenancies Act but if you suspect your landlord is not keeping up with their responsibilities, there are ways to make sure your home is safe and healthy.

First of all, it's always a good idea to keep a paper trail - texts and emails from your landlord about any issues the property has, photos of damage or mould and receipts from any work undertaken will all help, should you need to take the case further.

if a landlord is refusing to engage with you in writing it could be a sign they're not planning on behaving - but if a phone conversation is all you have, make sure you tell your landlord you intend to record the conversation.

If the landlord isn't complying, and you've had no luck asking your landlord in writing to remedy it, lodging a case with the Tenancy Tribunal is your best bet. 

The Tenancy Tribunal can offer a few different solutions - they can order a tenancy to end, money to be paid, or work to be done. 

It costs $20.44 to apply to the Tribunal - but if you're successful the Tribunal can order the other party to reimburse the application fee to you - although you'll need to ask for this in your application.

Landlords who do not comply with the new standards can be charged up to $4000 - usually payable to the tenant.