Authorities should suffer little nonsense from landlords who neglected to arrange insulation for their rentals by the start of this month.
Anything less would deliver the wrong message about how essential it is that New Zealand's rental stock be warm, dry and habitable.
Landlords have been on notice since 2015 that minimum standards around insulation would kick in this month after then housing minister Nick Smith introduced new rules.
Some owners have also enjoyed access to council and Government subsidies to help get their properties up to scratch.
The rules, requiring installation of floor and ceiling insulation, let owners seek an exemption if putting in bats or other products would require substantial building work.
No one is being asked to tear up their floor or redo a ceiling to comply with the law.
What excuse, then, could errant landlords have?
Despite having had four years to get organised, many landlords made a last-minute rush to meet the July 1 deadline.
The Green Party posited that tens of thousands of rental properties had yet to be properly insulated on the eve of the rules coming into force.
While that may be exaggerated, some contractors also reported a jump in demand of up to 400 per cent in the scramble to get the jobs done, and that insulation stocks were also running low.
In certain parts of the country, it may take months until the backlog of work will be cleared.
All landlords who didn't get insulation in on time are liable to face a $4000 penalty – if renters are willing to make a complaint to the Tenancy Tribunal.
Dozens have also done so already, although the tribunal is unlikely to get through all these cases and have insulation sorted in chilly rentals before winter's out.
The tribunal should be firm with landlords who can offer no credible explanation as to why their rentals don't have insulation.
For too long loose regulations have meant some Kiwi renters have lived in draughty, damp and unhealthy homes.
And housing shortages and ensuing rent rises have led to tenants moving into – or staying in – properties that are in poor condition.
Tenants in this situation, by the very act on complaining over insulation, will have put themselves out on a limb for simply asking landlords to comply with the law.
While there are strict rules around evicting tenants who go to the tribunal, these renters will hardly be in the good graces of property owners and will be at a disadvantage when their lease is coming to an end.
They may be up to $4000 richer as a result but then face the stressful and expensive prospect of finding a new place to live.