Apartment insulation requirements

Question from Tamsyn updated on 29th March 2016:

We moved into an apartment.

Before we moved in we weren't able to check the garage as the tenant showed us through and he wasn't very forth coming.

We took the place and I asked the property manager if it was possible to get the place insulated, as upon flat inspection, I noticed it wasn't.

He said he'd get back to me. (I put it in writing too.)

When the key hand over happened I asked again and he said the house isn't that cold. He was wrong. On our first night there it was freezing cold.

Is there any way to ensure this gets done? Surely a landlord would want to do this as an investment on their property and to ensure long term great tenants?


Our expert Allan Galloway responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord has an obligation to comply with all legal requirements in respect of building, health and safety so far as they apply to your rented premises. Whether a landlord is required to insulate the premises may depend on the age of the property and what requirements were in place at the time the property was constructed.

The Building Code sets the standards that buildings (including residential premises) must meet, however, buildings are only required to comply with the Building Code that was in force at the time the building was built. For more information about the regulations that apply to a particular premises, you can contact the council in the area the property is located.

If the landlord is in breach of any legal requirements that apply to the premises, a tenant can give the landlord a notice to remedy the situation, and if not complied with, can make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. Such an application could include a “work order”, an order requiring the landlord to remedy the breach, and an order for “exemplary damages”, a monetary sum awarded to the tenant should it be deemed an unlawful act has occurred. You could also seek termination of the agreement.

You can also find information on a landlord’s responsibilities to provide a safe and healthy home on our website at www.tenancy.govt.nz/maintenance-and-inspections/regular-maintenance or by calling our Tenancy Advice line on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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