Rental homes must meet the insulation standards by July 2019 to avoid $4,000 fines.

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act mean there are new requirements for insulation in rental homes. A landlord who fails to comply with the regulations will be committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000.

Landlords who have not yet installed ceiling and underfloor insulation in their rentals must assess their insulation requirements to see what needs to be done.

What insulation is needed?

Ceiling and underfloor insulation must be installed, wherever possible. It must comply with the regulations and be safely installed. Wall insulation is not compulsory.

Insulation keeps your rental property warm and dry, making it easier and more efficient for tenants to heat. Warm and dry rental homes help tenants avoid illnesses and make them more likely to stay longer.

It’s also good business practice to protect your investment, by keeping your property in good condition.

Insulation statements

All new tenancy agreements must include an insulation statement that covers what insulation the home has, where it is, and what type.

How to assess your current insulation

You can assess your insulation by either:

  • Physically looking in your ceiling cavity and underfloor area
  • Hiring a professional to do an assessment
  • Checking the council building file

If you are hiring a professional, you can find insulation providers online. You should get at least three quotes before committing to a provider.

What does it cost to install insulation?

The cost of installing insulation depends on the size, shape and location of the building being insulated. As a rough guide, however, the average cost of paying a professional installer to put in both ceiling and floor insulation is approximately $3,400 excluding GST for a 96m2 property. You should generally expect to pay more than that for a larger home.

Insulation could be installed in most homes in a day, but waiting times for assessment, and for scheduling the work, can vary considerably depending on where you are in the country, and how many other people are trying to get their insulation installed as well. With the deadline in July 2019, insulation installers may book out quickly.

What if the insulation regulations aren’t met?

Landlords who don’t have the required insulation installed in their rental properties by July 2019 will be in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act, and may face paying a penalty of up to $4,000.  These are usually paid to the tenant.

Landlords who have more than one tenancy may face separate damages for each property that doesn’t comply. They will then still need to install insulation that meets the correct standard.

Any landlords who still don’t comply after paying the penalty, may face further action.

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