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Written by Kitt
20 May 2018 2 min read

Labour New Zealand's 2018 Budget has just been released and a major area of concern for Labour is in housing; an area which has already seen many legislative changes. These include the extension of the Bright-line test from two to five years as well as introducing restrictions on foreigners looking to buy residential property in New Zealand.

The Bright-line test taxes the proceeds of selling a residential property that is not a person’s main home when the property is sold within the Bright-line period (5 years). This extended scheme along with other policies is meant to reduce property speculation and make homes more affordable.

The 'Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes' grants currently available to landlords will be removed and replaced with a new grant.

The Grant

Labour is to remove the "Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes" grants by 30th June 2018. These grants cover 50% of the cost of insulation are currently available for low-income owner-occupiers and landlords with low-income tenants.

The grants are limited and if you want insulation installed under this programme, sign a contract with a Warm Up New Zealand provider before 30 June 2018 and have the installation completed by 31 July 2018.

All rental homes must have ceiling and underfloor insulation to the required standard by 1st of July 2019, where it is practical under the recent tenancy law changes. Landlords should get in quick for the current grant if they need to install or upgrade insulation to the required standard, to avoid a pre-deadline rush. There are also limited number of grants available.

If delayed, landlords are likely to end up paying for the full insulation cost themselves. Missing the 1st July 2019 deadline means that landlords and property investors will be liable for a penalty of up to $4000.

Insulating rentals will bring some clear benefits for both the tenants and landlords, reducing the need for maintenance overall as well as attracting long-term tenants.

It is also advised that all landlords provide a statement about the location, type and condition of the current insulation on any tenancy agreement made since 1 July 2016. A landlord who does not make a complete insulation statement or includes anything they know to be false or misleading is committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $500.

Are you eligible for the grant?

You may qualify for the grant if:

  • the house was built before the year 2000, and
  • you own and occupy the home and have a Community Services Card, or
  • you are a landlord and your named tenant has a Community Services Card.

Grants are also available for low-income households and tenants with high health needs if:

  • your income is just above Community Services Card level and you have high health needs related to cold, damp housing, or
  • you are referred by the Ministry of Health's Healthy Homes programme.

Note: The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) states that new leases must include a Statement of Insulation and have working smoke alarms installed.

Note: You must apply before the June 30th deadline.

Note: The installation must be completed by 1st July 2018.

How to apply for Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes

Contact a service provider to confirm if you are eligible.

Be aware that funding is limited, will not cover wall insulation and may not cover all regions. Click here to check with the listed service providers to find out if they are operating in your area.