Auckland, March 11, 2020
People running their homes as boarding houses are breaching tenancy agreements and may be liable for punitive measures.
They may be violating the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
That was the gist of a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment notification.
Indian Newslink has learnt that some property owners are renting spare bedrooms in their homes and that many people (mostly students and singles) are accommodated in a single room.
Tenancy Service Information and Education Manager Jennifer Sykes said that such homes, with shared facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen for six or more people are boarding houses.
Many landlords may not be aware that they are breaching the RTA, she said.
She said that boarding house landlords have a number of requirements under the Act and that they should be aware of them.
“Many may not be aware that they are operating a boarding house under the law and that they must meet the first compliance date, which is July 1, 2021. The Healthy Homes Standards became law last year, and set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping,” she said.
Ms Sykes said that the new standards are about ensuring that boarding houses are warmer and drier for tenants and will also help maintain the property for years to come.
“Boarding houses that are not compliant with the healthy homes standards by July 1, 2021 may be subject to a financial penalty. While boarding house tenancies and standard tenancies share a lot of the same requirements under the RTA, some things apply only to boarding houses and it’s important that boarding house landlords know the differences,” she said.
Ms Sykes said that boarding houses must also comply with new requirements as a part of their tenancy agreements, including a statement of their level of compliance with the healthy homes standards in any new, varied or renewed tenancy agreement from July 1, 2020.
“In addition to this statement, it is also a requirement for all landlords to include an insurance statement with every new tenancy agreement. Landlords who are operating a rental property with six tenants or more with shared facilities who are uncertain if they are operating a boarding house under the law should visit tenancy.govt.nz for more information,” she said.
The website provides information about the roles and responsibilities required when operating a boarding house, as well as templates for required statements and a boarding house agreement. “We also suggest they subscribe to Tenancy Services’ electronic updates via tenancy.govt.nz/subscribe to keep up to date with legislation changes that will affect them,” Ms Sykes said.
Specific information about the healthy homes standards is at raisethestandard.nz