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The Government is pushing ahead with new rules to get heating into nearly 500,000 rental homes - a move which landlords fear will force them to install heat pumps and critics say will push up rents.
Housing Minister Phil Twyford told the Weekend Herald the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment would soon call for feedback on compulsory heating in rental properties.
"Subject to ministerial and Cabinet decisions, the ministry expects to consult on the regulations that will set the proposed standards and the timeframes for landlords' compliance later this year," Twyford said.
But the fixed form of heating would not necessarily be heat pumps and his experts were yet to consult on the finer details and make recommendations.
The cost of heat pumps varies considerably but averages about $2000 for the unit and a further $1000 for installation, according to Consumer NZ. Heat pumps are regarded as the best form of heating for most larger homes, as they cost far less to run than normal heaters for the same level of warmth.
Twyford said the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act, which was passed last December and comes into effect on July 1 next year, would create standards landlords must comply with.
"One of them relates to heating in tenanted premises. The consultation to develop regulations will explore making a fixed form of heating compulsory in rental properties. The other standards relate to insulation, ventilation, moisture control, draught-stopping, and drainage."
However, NZ Property Investors Federation executive officer Andrew King said he expected the new MBIE regulations would demand heat pumps because Labour had campaigned on that. The federation has already expressed concern about the scheme.
"We don't want to be dictated to or prescribed to. Installing fixed forms of heating will cost money and put prices up. A lot of properties like apartments don't suit heat pumps and the body corporate might not allow it, meaning an apartment couldn't be rented out," King said.