Compulsory insulation in rental properties has been accepted by many landlords but others have decided to sell because "it was too hard" or costs too much, real estate agents say.
Ceiling and underfloor insulation is compulsory in all rental properties from today under the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2016.
The looming law left tradies rushed off their feet to complete last-minute installations before today, with one Bay of Plenty company saying it was booked up a month in advance.
Landlords have had three years to have the work carried out and could face a fine of up to $4000 if their rental properties do not meet the standard from today.
New healthy homes standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, draught stopping, moisture ingress and drainage in rental properties also begin today, but will not be enforced until July 1, 2021.
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said most landlords were happy to comply with the new rules.
But he said others had either sold their rentals because they were not happy being dictated to or simply could not afford to do the insulation.
"But they will have to find a way," he said. "If they haven't done it already it is a bit late."
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones, said landlords could become a risk if they did not comply with the new law and many had sold up "because it was getting too hard".
"We are getting to D-day and there will still be a lot of landlords who have not done it," he said. "They shouldn't put their head in the sand."
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Ray White Bayfair and Tauranga chief executive David Hart said most landlords were moving quickly to ensure their homes were up to standard.
"Landlords are getting a better home going forward, it will increase the value of their home and will be easier to rent out in the long run."
Tauranga Property Investors Association president Juli Anne Tolley hoped a special fund could be made available for landlords to meet their obligations.
Tolley said there were many properties that required more insulation, which could cost between $7000 and $10,000 per property.
"It can be more if the electrical board on an older house has to be updated to accommodate new appliances such as fans and heating devices," she said.
Harcourts Rotorua director Erin Kingston said most landlords understand the need for compulsory insulation, but some had struggled to come up with the funds to pay for it.
"There have been a few landlords that have sold their property because of legislation changes," she said.
Rotorua Rentals director and co-owner Pauline Evans said some owners had jumped on the new regulations quickly but a few investors had "become disillusioned with the rental landscape and they have sold".
Rotorua property manager at IDO property management, Caraline Abbott, said she would not enter into contracts with landlords if their properties did not meet the minimum requirements.
"It is important to me that my tenants are warm and healthy," she said. "It is their home and happy tenants mean they're more likely to stay long term."
OneRoof property commentator Ashley Church said two-thirds of all rental properties were managed by landlords.
Nearly 100 per cent of property managers would have complied with the new rules and those who had not would be private landlords.
"It is a good indication as to why people should have landlords. It is running a business, there are requirements to comply with."
The Insulation Company operations manager Carl Dickens said he had noticed a big increase in demand for insulation.
Dickens said the company, which services the Bay of Plenty, was booked out four weeks in advance.
He put the demand down to the new law changes and a need to keep warm during winter.
"At the end of the day you feel for the landlords," he said. "But it is great for the tenants."
Jennifer Sykes, manager of information and education, housing and tenancy services, at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment said landlords had been provided with information and reminders about the insulation deadline since the law was changed in 2016.
"The RTA does not allow for extensions, and to allow an extension would be unfair to those landlords who have acted in time and have done the right thing," she said.
Compliance timeline for the new healthy homes standards:
July 1 2019:
- Ceiling and underfloor insulation compulsory in all rental homes where reasonably practicable to install
- Landlords must include separately signed statement in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement about how the landlord complies or intends to comply with the healthy homes standards
- Landlords must begin keeping records that demonstrate compliance with any healthy homes standards that apply or will apply during the tenancy
July 1 2021:
- Private landlords will have to ensure that a tenanted property is compliant with the healthy homes standards within 90 days of the start of every new or renewed tenancy
- All boarding house tenancies will have to meet the standards
July 1 2023:
- All Housing New Zealand or registered Community Housing providers will have to meet the standards
July 1 2024:
- All residential tenancies will have to be compliant