Landlords urged to get onto insulation

Thursday 5 October 2017

There is growing pressure on landlords to start insulating their properties following a new survey which indicates around 170,000 rental properties still require proper insulation.

By Miriam Bell

The Insulation Association of New Zealand (IAONZ), which claims to represent over 90% of the industry, surveyed its members and found they were seeing limited landlord demand.

MBIE estimates that around 180,000 rental properties need insulation to comply with new tenancy law requirements that all rental properties are insulated by July 2019.

But IAONZ president Stu Henwood said that over the past year member companies have insulated only 10,000 rental properties.

Further, members have assessed over 36,000 rental properties and almost 60% of assessments didn’t comply with the new Residential Tenancy Act guidelines, he said.

“This leaves a mountain of about 170,000 uninsulated rental houses to be insulated in less than two years.

“At its peak, the insulation industry was insulating about 50,000 – 60,000 houses a year.

“So there’s a serious risk many landlords will miss out and risk penalties when the deadline for the new tenancy regulations kicks in.”

While landlords can install insulation themselves, Henwood said it is essential insulation is inserted properly to be effective and compliant with the installation standard NZS 4246.

“Aside from a reduction in thermal performance, poorly installed insulation also has the potential to create a fire hazard, particularly around light fittings.”

MBIE is now encouraging tenants to make their landlord and/or property manager aware if their rental home doesn’t have any, or the required level of, insulation.

Yet it seems that many landlords have not grasped the urgency of the need to insulate their properties.

Barfoot & Thompson director Kiri Barfoot said IAONZ is warning landlords that the situation is reaching the point of no return, where insulation installers won’t be able to meet demand.

“Anyone who lived through this year’s very wet winter can attest to the fact that dampness is a challenge in Auckland. Insulation is one way to help decrease the risk of damp in a house.

“We want landlords to think seriously about insulating now. We know from tenant feedback that it is a drawcard for rental properties, making them warmer, dryer and cheaper to heat.”

However, the cost of insulating can be daunting for rental property owners and many owners are not eligible for the government’s insulation grant programme, Barfoot said.

“Typically, floor and ceiling insulation and installation for a 100m2 property can cost upwards of $3,000, not including GST.”

For this reason, Barfoot & Thompson is offering a deal whereby new properties signed up to the agency’s property management division that need insulation will be eligible for 50% off the cost of floor or ceiling insulation and installation for up to 100m2.

The agency has also negotiated a 40% discount towards floor or ceiling insulation for properties they already manage through PinkBatts supplier Mitre 10 using PinkFit’s network of installers.

Barfoot said that what they are saying is - don’t wait. “The cost will still be there in a year’s time, and you may also be faced with the reality of missing the compliance deadline and a fine of up to $4,000.”

Read more:

Insulation wake-up call 

Insulation, heating improvement needed 

Minimum standards for insulation and heating a step closer 

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