Healthy Homes Standards Section 3: Ventilation

Did you know your rental property must have openable windows in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and all bedrooms? The kitchen and bathroom must also have an extractor fan to ensure they have good ventilation.

The reason ventilation is so important is that mould and dampness are harmful to the tenants’ health, as well as the property. The Healthy Homes ventilation standard targets both mould and dampness in rental properties.

It is also the tenants’ responsibility while living in the property, to keep it well aired and remove any mould as soon as they see it. However, it is important that the landlord and/or property manager, along with the tenant, go through the property together before the tenancy begins.

If both the tenant and landlord/property manager go through the property before the tenancy begins and identify any damages together, this will help all parties start on the same page.

All private rental properties must comply within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancies as of July 1, 2021. If you don’t meet the obligations as a landlord under the healthy homes standards, you will be in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. This may make you liable for exemplary damages of up to $7,200.

What is the ventilation standard?

The ventilation standard states that all habitable rooms in a rental property must have at least one window, door, or skylight that opens to the outside. There is a standard for the size of window, door, or skylight in these rooms. These must be at least 5% of the floor area of the room. Each window, door, or skylight must be openable, and it also must be able to stay open in a fixed position.

All kitchens and bathrooms must have one extractor fan vented to the outside of the property. If the extractor fan was installed in the kitchen after 1 July 2019, it must be a minimum diameter of 150mm or have an exhaust capacity of at least 50 litres per second. If the extractor fan in the bathroom was installed after 1 July 2019, it must have a minimum diameter of 120mm or an exhaust capacity of at least 25 litres per second.

It is important that as a landlord, you ask the installer for the details of the fan diameter, ducting, and flowrate in writing. This is so you can show that the fans are compliant with healthy homes’ ventilation standards.

If you have an existing extractor fan in either of these rooms, installed before 1 July 2019, it must be in good working order. Existing extractor fans don’t have to meet the requirements above. However, if they stop working they must be repaired or replaced.

There are two exemptions to the healthy homes ventilation standard.

  1. A room does not need to meet the requirements for openable windows and external doors if it was lawful when it was built or converted into a habitable space.
  2. If it is not reasonably practicable to install an extractor fan, the kitchen or bathroom will be exempt from this standard. However, this exemption has several criteria that it must meet.

If you own a rental property we recommend you have a professional conduct your healthy homes inspection. This will take away any risk or liability to you if you were to do it yourself. Contact us today to book your next healthy homes inspection 0800 422 386.