11 March 2020

Landlords of rental properties where tenants have individual tenancy agreements to rent single rooms, and which also provide shared facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen to six people or more, are operating a boarding house but may not be aware of it.

Tenancy Services Information and Education Manager Jennifer Sykes says boarding house landlords have a number of requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), and it is important they are aware of them.

“For example, some landlords who do not realise they are operating a boarding house under the law may not be aware they also have to meet the first compliance date for the healthy homes standards, which is 1 July 2021 for boarding houses.”

The healthy homes standards became law last year, and set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping.

“The new standards are about ensuring that boarding houses are warmer and drier for tenants and will also help maintain the property for years to come,” says Ms Sykes. 

“Boarding houses that are not compliant with the healthy homes standards by 1 July next year may be subject to a financial penalty.

“While boarding house tenancies and standard tenancies share a lot of the same requirements under the RTA, some things apply only to boarding houses and it’s important that boarding house landlords know the differences.

“Boarding houses also need to comply with new requirements as part of their tenancy agreements, including a statement of their level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement, from 1 July 2020.

In addition to this statement, it is also a requirement for all landlords to include an insurance statement with every new tenancy agreement.”

Landlords who are operating a rental property with six tenants or more with shared facilities who are uncertain if they are operating a boarding house under the law should visit the boarding house section of the Tenancy Services website.

“The tenancy.govt.nz website provides information about the roles and responsibilities required when operating a boarding house, as well as templates for required statements and a boarding house agreement,” says Ms Sykes.

“We also suggest they subscribe to Tenancy Services’ electronic updates via tenancy.govt.nz/subscribe to keep up to date with legislation changes that will affect them.”

Specific information about the healthy homes standards is at raisethestandard.nz (external link)

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