Healthy Homes Standards Assessments and Making a Plan

Did you know that if you have not had your rental property assessed for its current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards and it becomes vacant, you will not be able to re-tenant the property until you do?

Let’s look at a likely scenario with our hypothetical landlord, Bob. In November, a tenant gives Bob notice to vacate his property on 12 December 2022. Bob, who lives two hours away, does not know the property’s current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards. Bob now needs to do the following:

• Establish the required heating capacity for the main living room using the Heating Assessment Tool at tenancy. or the formula contained in schedule 2 of the RTA (HHS) Regulations 2019.
• Complete the six pages dedicated to Insulation on the compliance statement. This is easy for Bob as he installed new insulation in July 2018. Otherwise, he may have needed a professional assessment.
• Bob needs to know what extraction fans are installed and ensure they are in good working order and ducted outside. If they were installed after 1 July 2019, he needs to know the diameter or exhaust capacity.
• He must inspect gutters and downpipes to ensure they efficiently drain storm, surface, and ground water to an appropriate outfall.
• He needs to know if his property requires a ground moisture barrier, and if it has one installed or not. Bob has not looked under the house for a long time.
• Bob also needs to understand how to meet the requirements in the draught stopping standard, and he thinks this standard should be met as soon as possible.

Bob decides that he does not have the appropriate skills to perform these checks himself, particularly determining the heating capacity using the assessment tool as measuring rooms is required. He decides to employ a professional, but there is a delay in getting an appropriately qualified assessor to inspect the property due to the demands on the industry. A date of 17 December is given, and the report will be provided within three business days. On 21 December, when the report is received, the property can be rented, and the tenancy agreement prepared with the required compliance statements.

Unfortunately, it is now close to Christmas and tenants are not moving. The property remains vacant until mid-January. Bob loses five weeks rent. Don’t be like Bob.

Bob now has several applications and has selected his preferred tenant. Bob completes the current level of compliance statement as part of preparing the tenancy agreement and now has just 90 days to meet all five of the healthy homes standards.

Bob wishes he had made a plan earlier, as he now has to pay for extraction fans and a heat pump all at once, and after a long vacancy period. Ouch!

Make a plan

On the healthy homes standards current level of compliance statement, which is required for all new and renewed tenancies, landlords must not only complete the 16page document that discloses the property’s current level of compliance for each of the five healthy homes standards, but they will also have just 90 days from the start of any new or renewed tenancy to meet the standards. Once your property is assessed, a plan is needed to comply with the standards.

Harcourts Property Managers are working with landlords to avoid situations and vacancy periods like those experienced by Bob, but with the time it can take to get an assessment done, scenarios like Bob’s can be commonplace.

Don’t wait for your existing tenant to get fed up with a property that doesn’t meet the healthy homes standards and give notice, only to leave you searching for a new tenant and still having only 90 days to meet the standards. Speak to your Harcourts property manager for advice, get your property professionally assessed and make your plan to meet the standards now!