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Health Check

Sharon Layton discusses the upcoming deadline for the Healthy Homes standards and what this means for rental property owners.

By: Sharon Layton

31 October 2020

As we inch closer to summer, the next deadline for the rollout of the Healthy Homes standards is fast approaching. From December 1, 2020, property owners must include a statement detailing their current level of compliance in most new or renewed tenancy agreements. This might sound like a small task, but there are a number of things you need to do prior to completing your statement of compliance, so it’s essential that property investors and managers take these deadlines seriously. In short, if you do not have a Healthy Homes assessment, you must let the tenancy lapse into periodic or leave the property vacant until an assessment has been completed.

Before completing a statement and attaching it to a tenancy agreement, rental properties will need to be inspected and a Healthy Homes report will need to be completed. While owners can carry these out themselves, we strongly recommend engaging a qualified professional. The level of accuracy and detail needed on the report requires a solid understanding of the standards. For the heating standards alone, you’ll need to know the required heating capacity for the main living room of the property, and the type and capacity of each installed, qualifying heater. Even defining what a “main living room” is can be tricky if there is an open living plan that includes dining and living spaces, hallways and staircases.

‘The best way to keep compliant is simply by doing the work’

Here are three key pieces of advice for rental property owners who are yet to complete a Healthy Homes report:

Get Started Now

The best way to keep compliant is simply by doing the work. In the lead up to the insulation requirements becoming law on July 1, 2019, property investors across the country found themselves in a difficult position when suppliers and materials were in short supply. With the statement of compliance deadline just four weeks away, property investors and managers should already have a Healthy Homes report completed by a qualified professional. If you haven’t done this yet, we recommend arranging an inspection as soon as possible.

From July 1, 2021, private rental properties will need to comply with the Healthy Home standards within 90 days of any new or renewed tenancy, so it’s important that property owners also start completing any work required.

Ask The Right Questions

There are a number of building codes and guidelines that a tradesperson might be aware of, but these don’t necessarily reflect the Healthy Homes standards. We often see new builds that meet the Building Act 2004 but don’t comply with Healthy Homes. It’s essential that property investors are familiar with the standards and know the right questions to ask when work is being completed. In Quinovic’s online Knowledge Centre, you’ll find a free Healthy Homes eBookto help you get started.

Questions you could be asking tradespeople include:
• Are you a registered tradesperson?
• Are you insured?
• Are you using the Tenancy Services’ heating tool?
• Do you have a strong understanding of the Healthy Homes requirements?

Use A Property Manager

With frequent changes to legislation, it’s easy to get lost in obligations and deadlines. Adding a specialist to your team is a great way to ensure you stay compliant and all decisions are made in your best interest. A good property manager will arrange a Healthy Homes inspection for you and provide you with quotes for any required work, as well as managing the complete process to compliance. Working with a team who have an expert understanding of tenancy laws and connections with local tradespeople will put you in the best possible position when starting or renewing tenancies after December 1, 2020.

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