09 May 2019 Stuff’s Brittany Keogh: Housing in NZ: what’s legal and what’s not? the basic standards every home must meet

9 May 2019 by Jason Quinn
What’s the absolute legal minimum in NZ – no worse or legally it’s not a house.
For new buildings it is whatever your team can sneak past council under the guise of meeting the NZBC minimums but at least someone is checking something.
For existing buildings what is the minimum? Hope you don’t consider NZ Building Code a target. Landlords that put in the minimum may have been penny wise and pound foolish. If you were a landlord and put in 70mm of insulation to comply for 2019 now you need to go back and put another 50mm in to meet the 120mm of insulation required in two more years. As most of the cost is labour you might as well have done it right in the first place and put in 120mm. Of course I’d argue (and have) for twice that as a minimum, but only if it’s done right, so as to not damage the building.
These are rules, overseen by councils, that say each residential property must have:
– A weatherproof exterior
– Lined walls and flooring
– A kitchen or kitchenette with a sink and tap connected to useable water
– A bathroom with a bath or shower and running hot water and a toilet – these must be connected to an adequate waste system (eg: a sewerage or septic tank)
– Artificial lights and windows (or other ways of letting in light and ventilation) in every room
– Gutters and drains on buildings and appropriate drainage to remove storm, surface and ground water
– If more than two people live at the property it also has to have facilities for washing clothes.
Minimum sizes of rooms:
– If one person lives at the property it can have a combined bedroom and living room of at least 11sqm. If two people live there, a combined bedroom and living must be at least 14sqm. In both cases the property has to have a separate kitchen or kitchenette.
– If the kitchen and living area are in one room it must be 9sqm if the property was built before 1947 or 14sqm if it’s newer.
– Every bedroom must have a minimum width of 1.8m and an area of 6sqm. If two people sleep in one room it must be 10sqm or more, three people can sleep in a room of at least 14sqm and four or more in a bedroom of 20sqm or larger.
This law was passed in December 2017. Its purpose is to make rental properties warmer and drier.
The World Health Organisation recommends homes have a minimum indoor temperature of 18C.
From July 1 2019, all rental properties must have ceiling insulation of at least 70mm thick and underfloor insulation.
From July 1 2021, the ceiling insulation will need to be thicker – at least 120mm – and a fixed heating device will be required, such as a heat pump, in the living room which can heat the room to at least 18C during winter.
Content by Stuff.

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