A group of students who successfully took their landlord to the Tenancy Tribunal for not installing insulation in their Wellington flat aren't afraid of being kicked out.

But the three Berhampore residents were concerned future landlords might view them as a potential risk.

Wellington-based firm Specialist Property Managers have been given until August 20 by the tribunal to fix a leaking window and put in underfloor insulation at the flat it manages on behalf of the owner.

The company came to an agreement with its tenants Ethan Helliwell, Felix Woodruff, and Matthew Loveman during the tribunal hearing, who were also awarded $520.44 in costs.


Loveman today told the Herald it was so cold in their flat they could often see their own breath in the living room, and they would occasionally leave the oven door open to try to warm up.

They also avoid putting bedroom heaters on in the morning, so plan the day's outfit the night before to minimise the amount of time they spend in the cold before heading to university where there is heating.

"We are supposed to receive an initial compensation of $520.44 ... and a further $500 every week after the 20th of August if the insulation isn't installed and window not fixed," Loveman said.

They have not received the initial payment yet.

The trio try to leave all their cooking, showering, and washing to between 9 and 10pm, when they have an hour of free power. This is usually the time they use the oven as heating too.

The cold in the flat was "manageable", but Loveman said they rarely had guests visit "as it's far too cold for them".

They weren't concerned going to the tribunal would cause trouble for them.

"It was simple because it was clear cut. The insulation wasn't in and they had a minimum of two years to put it in," Loveman said.


"The laws say that they can't really do anything without six month's notice and our contract has about six month's left and we are looking to move so it wasn't an issue for us.

"We are happy with the decision and just hope we don't have to go back to the tribunal for neglect of property."

The group are among the first cases successfully taken to the tribunal over failure to insulate since the law kicked in.

Another was Tauranga landlord Kaimai Real Estate, trading as First National.

The property management firm has been ordered to install underfloor and ceiling insulation in the Paengaroa flat by August 13, and pay its tenants Krystal and James Gamman $1500 in damages.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has encouraged tenants to discuss insulation with their landlord before applying to the Tenancy Tribunal. There is no grace period because landlords have had three years to prepare.


MBIE estimated 100,000 rental properties were still not insulated when the rules aimed at making homes healthier for Kiwi renters came into force at the beginning of July.

The Insulation Association says there has been a high demand for insulation and some landlords say this has caused delays in them meeting the July deadline.