Rental Reform Package: Regulation, Healthy Homes extension, Methamphetamine levels

The Government will regulate property managers, consult on an acceptable maximum level of meth residue, and the deadline for Healthy Homes standards has been extended as part of a new package of rental reform.

Regulation of property managers is welcomed by Harcourts and as consultation has already happened on the proposals, it's expected a Bill will be introduced into the House by May 2023. We have previously advised what will be required of property managers when regulation is in place and will update our landlords when the Bill is introduced.

Harcourts offices are already ahead of the game, with many of the proposals already in place in our offices.

The Government has also announced it will consult the public on what an acceptable maximum level of methamphetamine residue is for properties as well as at what level those houses need to be decontaminated to, and when tenancies would need to be terminated.

In the proposals, a maximum acceptable level of surface methamphetamine residue is proposed to be set at 15 micrograms per 100 square centimeters, up from the NZ standard of 1.5 micrograms per 100 square centimeters. This would also be the level which a property would need to be decontaminated back to, or below. This is consistent with the findings of Sir Peter's report and advice from ESR.

Once relevant regulations are in place, landlords must not knowingly rent out premises that are contaminated above the prescribed levels, without decontaminating the premises. To do so is a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act and Landlords will be liable for a financial penalty of up to $4,000.

Harcourts welcomes the certainty on what level of methamphetamine residue requires decontamination.

Healthy homes standards
The Government is extending the deadlines for landlords and Kāinga Ora to comply with the Healthy Homes Standards.

Private landlords will have one more year to comply, making the final compliance date for all private rentals being 1 July 2025, instead of 1 July 2024.

Kāinga Ora and Community Housing Providers will also have an additional year to comply, shifting from 1 July 2023 to 1 July 2024.
From July 2021, landlords who had new or renewed tenancies were required to make sure the rentals met the standards within 90 days. This is now being extended to 120 days.

This applies to private rentals that were not required to comply before 26 November 2022. This means if the tenancy started or renewed on or after 28 August 2022, the landlord now has 120 days to comply with the healthy homes standards. The deadline extension was deemed necessary due to COVID-19 causing supply chain and delivery disruptions as well as limited workforce challenges. Harcourts encourages all landlords to meet the healthy homes standards as soon as possible to retain the best tenants at the best possible rental returns.