Bathroom heating obligations?

Question from Melissa updated on 23rd May 2013:

What are the landlord's obligations regarding heating/ventilation in the bathroom? From reading previous answers about heating, I gather there are no specific requirements. What would be a situation where installation of a heating device in the bathroom would be deemed necessary? We have none but there is just a small extractor fan in the toilet which can be closed off from the bathroom. The bathroom is also the laundry. It is freezing already (we live in Dunedin) and there is a lot of condensation after showers. There are no electrical sockets in there and the only thing we can think of doing is getting an extension cord out from the living room to plug a fan heater in the bathroom. Is there anything we could do to get the landlord to remedy the situation?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

You have raised two issues here. The first and most important is a safety issue. I would advise you not to have an extension cord and external fan in the bathroom. It is fraught with danger, and someone can easily get electrocuted by the mix of water and electricity. There are safety standards which apply to bathroom heating, and these must be followed by an electrician when installing a heater. The second issue is whether you can require the landlord to install a bathroom heater. There is no requirement that a bathroom have heating provided by a landlord. I presume that when you viewed the property and then signed a tenancy agreement there was no bathroom heating. That being the case, you accepted the property as viewed. The landlord has no obligation to improve a property to a condition other than what you agreed to rent. It’s a bit simplistic to say “what you see is what you get”, but really that is the reasoning here.

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