APIA Blog

RSS Feed

New bylaw may mean more than just removing the fireplace

Friday, October 31, 2014

News of the Auckland Council's proposed air quality bylaw has understandably unsettled landlords who own properties that are heated by indoor wood/coal burners.  This week's Ask An Expert feature explores the possible legal implications this bylaw has within the framework of the Residential Tenancies Act: 

APIA Ask An Expert

Regarding the proposed bylaw to phase out pre-2005 indoor open fire burners, if it is passed would that introduce any RTA obligations for landlords for rent out properties with indoor open fire burners as the main heat source?  Would landlords be required to replace this 'amenity' for existing tenancies and if so, what with? 

APIA Ask An Expert

If the Council should require all pre-2005 fireplaces to be removed or permanently disabled, it is very likely that the Tenancy Tribunal would order a substitute appliance be installed. 

There have been some decisions of the Tenancy Tribunal in the South Island where the old "burners" were made illegal and had to be removed or replaced.  The Tenancy Tribunal has on occasion ordered that they be replaced.  This is likely to be where an old wood burner or similar was rendered legal and the tenant requested it be removed and a substitute wood burner be installed.  This does not necessarily mean that the Tenancy Tribunal would order a replacement "like for like" in every case but it certainly could do so if it felt it necessary.  There may be good reason for such a decision such as plentiful supply of free firewood.  

The Housing Improvement regulations 1947 are the authority for the minimum standards of fitness for houses.  Regulation 5(a) requires all houses to have a "living room" and Regulation 6 requires "[e]very living room shall be fitted with a fireplace and chimney or other approved form of heating"/ 

It follows that while the Tenancy Tribunal could order a heating device be installed where the tenant made application for one, it is just as likely that the landlord could offer an "approved" alternative which I am confident would be an acceptable solution.  The Tribunal would be mindful of the landlords cost of installation, the effectiveness of the unit, in the context of the house and the ongoing cost to the tenant.  

In today's world, heat pumps have proven a cost effective solution.  If the worst should happen, landlords would be wise to plan well in advance, to offer some other alternative rather than just hope for the best.  


Scotney Williams
Craeg is a principal of Tenancy Practice Service, a tenancy consulting firm which advises major property management brands.  Scotney and his team are also involved in providing support for private landlords by way of training seminars, best practice protocols, drafting applications, advice about re-hearing and appeals, tenancy debt collection as well as human rights and privacy issues.  

Do you have any property related questions for our panel of experts?  Comment below or email us at questions@apia.org.nz.  


Recent Posts


Tags

termination first home buying heat pump winz meth unitary plan opes partners insurance finance robert kiyosaki Jeff Bezos reserve bank property maintenance wealth creation housing bubble Gluckman tenancy issues rta apia p lab rental market bond extractor fan bad tenant speculator property apprentice interest rates Tribunal case study HSWA Kris Pedersen Mortgages and Insurance damage Must know off the plan principal and interest airbnb business re agent house prices RTAA 2019 early termination mortgage worksafe brightline Investment tip boarding house debt to income buying rules subdivision Must knows anz ring-fencing tenancy services financial advisers act market rent cat barfoot and thompson positive cash flow insulation fixed-term tenancy travel bubble privacy short-term rental gluckman report auckland council heater kiwibuild inspection renovation Investor story Property (Relationships) Act ventilation mindset holiday house trust sale and purchas election 2017 retaliatory notice return rent arrears trespass government rta reform Guest blog investor interest limitation TCIT legal inflation housing affordability bankruptcy Q&A debt enforcement Question and answer parry v inglis advice income How to short term rental LIM tenancy tribunal capital gain education shortland chartered accountants rtaa2020 anti-social behaviour housing package shower dome building water bill tax skill shortage cash-flow warren buffett CoreLogic recycling equity bond form legal cost Landlording personal growth scotney williams letting auckland partners television wins clnz management warm up new zealand heating data security Market report development buying nzpif letting fee daikin ocr interest deductibility rental wof quiet enjoyment rent increase relationship sale and purchase investment strategy covid-19 commerce commission property cycle sublease interest only khh market landlord buyer's agent productivity ask an expert smoke alarm election2020 rent Standards New Zealand RBNZ watercare Level 4 tenant asbestos twg report banking DTI HHS property management minor dwelling yield equity property value rent control lvr property CCC cgt ird initio Holler trademe Sponsored post Zodiak Management structure beginner investor maintenance negotiation will meth contamination Case study Editor's Choice HHGA

Archive

Introducing Our Partners
Principal Sponsor - Kris Pedersen Mortgages & Insurance logo Gold Sponsor - Barfoot & Thompson logo Gold Sponsor - CoreLogic logo Property Apprentice logo The Insulation Warehouse logo The Renovation Team logo The New Zealand Property Investors' Federation logo