The Insulation Association of New Zealand (IAONZ), whose members represent more than 90% of the industry, has grave concerns about a potential 170,000 backlog of houses needing insulation to comply with the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) amendments.

IAONZ has surveyed its members to find out how many landlords are insulating their rental properties and President Stu Henwood says the results are alarming. Mr Henwood says over the past year IAONZ member companies have had limited landlord demand and therefore insulated only 10,000 out of 180,000 rental properties estimated by MBIE as needing insulation to comply with the new tenancy regulations before the July 2019 deadline. He says IAONZ members have assessed over 36,000 rental properties and almost 60% of assessments didn’t comply with the new Residential Tenancy Act guidelines. “This leaves a mountain of about 170,000 uninsulated rental houses to be insulated in less than two years.

At its peak, the insulation industry was insulating about 50,000 – 60,000 houses a year so there’s a serious risk many landlords will miss out and risk penalties when the deadline for the new tenancy regulations kicks in.” There is going to be a huge backlog of work needing professional assessment and subsequent installation, Mr Henwood says. “Landlords can install insulation themselves but it is essential insulation is inserted properly to be effective and compliant with the installation standard NZS 4246. Aside from a reduction in thermal performance, poorly installed insulation also has the potential to create a fire hazard, particularly around light fittings.”

MBIE is encouraging tenants to make their landlord and/or property manager aware if their rental home doesn’t have any, or the required level of insulation. Following an assessment, rental homes that require ceiling and underfloor insulation must have it installed by July 2019.