A topical point at the moment is the word insulation. If you haven’t been keeping an eye out on the news, you may have missed the latest government change to the Residential Tenancies Act – namely the requirement to insulate your rental properties by mid-2019 and install long-life smoke alarms by 2016.
For more information, you can visit the website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.
It’s estimated that as many as 600,000 New Zealand homes have insufficient ceiling or underfloor insulation – in terms of rental properties, this equates to approximately 280,000 properties on the market.
Though it may just seem like an additional compliance cost the benefits of insulation aren’t just associated with the tenant. Insulation advantages include:
In regards to the legislative changes and the implementation date of 1 July 2019, reference has only been made to ceiling and underfloor insulation.
There are two other insulation types that are worth considering while undertaking the insulation upgrade. These are walls and windows.
As a property owner, the ability to install wall insulation is limited – you’re not about to rip the cladding or wall lining off for no reason. But if you are in the process of renovating, it is advocated looking at placing insulation within the walls to increase heating efficiency, tenant health and prevent dampness in your investment.
Windows are also problematic when it comes to losing heat. In terms of insulating your windows, EECA Energywise offer the following alternatives:
The cost of insulating the property varies and depends on a number of factors:
It is important to note that there are some organisations that are actively involved in the promotion of insulation and its benefits and there is opportunity to receive funding to help with the insulation process. Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes offers subsidies (from 25%-100%) if you meet the necessary criteria (or your tenants do). For more information you can contact EECA energywise or lucky for us Cantaberians, Community Energy Action (CEA) who are a Canterbury-based Charitable Trust.
Take the opportunity to receive a no-obligation insulation check – at least you’ll get peace of mind, and a clear understanding of what you need to do to get your property up to insulation code.
While these changes do have an extended lead in time, there is value in getting insulation corrected as soon as possible in terms of making your investment property a more valuable one in the eyes of a tenant or potential tenant. And with the ability to tap into certain resources, the cost of integrating insulation into your investment may not be as excessive as you think.
What are your thoughts of government led changes? Let us know in a comment below.
 EECA estimate based on figures from BRANZ report E466, and the number of homes insulated under EECA-administered retrofit programmes.