Insulation issues

Question from Courtney updated on 17th July 2012:

Recently my tenants have discovered that the only insulation the house has is over the master bedroom and they have said this is the reason why the house is so cold. They have been in the house for four years and haven't said anything about this before. They also have never had a rent increase. I want to know what my options are if they are to demand insulation? I do not have the funds to pay for this. The house is three bedrooms and the upper half is brick, I think it was built 1930 to 1940.

Our expert Megan Martin responded:

Furthermore, a landlord is responsible for ensuring that the premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair, having regard to the age and character of the premises. The Building Code sets out the standards that buildings (including residential premises) must meet. The current Building Code requires houses to have appropriate levels of energy efficiency, and insulation may be one way of ensuring compliance with this requirement. However, buildings are only required to comply with the Building Code that was in force at the time the building was built or altered. Contact your local council for more information. Landlords may wish to consider whether they look at providing it as a long-term investment in their rental property, to benefit both current and future tenants. Funding for insulation is available through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) where certain criteria are met, and information regarding funding, payment options, and eligibility requirements are available at www.energywise.govt.nz. Under the Act, a landlord can agree with their tenant to increase the rent if the landlord makes substantial improvements to the property. Landlords should discuss this option with their tenant to see if an agreement can be reached (remember to record any agreement reached in writing). Visit the Department’s website www.dbh.govt.nz, or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) for more information.

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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