Insulation materials running out as landlords rush to meet deadline - Kogonuso

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May 8, 2019

Insulation materials running out as landlords rush to meet deadline

A group representing landlords says home insulation materials are running out in some parts of the country as landlords rush to insulate their rentals to meet a deadline set in law.

Under changes to the Residential Tenancy Act made in 2016, all rental properties must have ceiling and underfloor insulation installed by July.

Property Investors Federation president Sharon Cullwick said although many landlords had already insulated their rental properties, others were facing a shortage of insulation materials at some hardware stores.

She said some landlords in some parts of the country would miss the deadline due to the shortage.

"We've had a good lead time in knowing what we've had to get done. The only thing we've had going on down here in Hawke's Bay is that some insulation is running out and they're not getting the next shipment in for a few months," Ms Cullwick said.

"A friend has started [insulating] a property and she's run out just about all the way through, and they're not getting enough supply of the insulation in of what she requires to finish it. She's hoping it will be in before the deadline but thinks it will be a month late."

Ms Cullwick said a lot of landlords looked after repairs and maintenance themselves and most were willing to invest in insulation to upgrade their rentals.

"Most landlords are happy to do it and I think it's good there's been a deadline and a long lead time so people can plan it financially to make sure they've got the repairs and maintenance budget there, so they can put in the insulation when it's required."

Bunnings Merchandise Manager Andrew Haliday said due to continued high demand, Bunnings was currently managing a limited supply of insulation.

"We are working closely with our supplier and hope to have additional stock arriving in the coming weeks," he said.
A Tenancy Services survey conducted in March last year estimated there were between 126,000 and 220,000 rental homes which still needed to be properly fitted for insulation. At the time, Tenancy Services said it was more than could be done by professional installers by the July deadline.

Wellington based renters organisation, Renters United, has an online petition to fix rental laws and its organiser Robert Whitaker said he was concerned that tenants were required to enforce the law themselves.

"If the landlord hasn't met their obligations they have to take their landlord through the Tenancy Tribunal process essentially on behalf of the government," Mr Whitaker said.

"If you're going to potentially risk your long-term home it's very unlikely that you would take your landlord to the Tenancy Tribunal over something like this, although we would encourage tenants to do so."

"Insulating these properties will make a really big difference to the power bills for renters but also it's an investment in their property. We're really keen to make sure landlords do it."

Separately, landlords are being given until July 2024 to ensure the underfloor and ceiling installation in their rental properties meet the current Building Code standard.

A Mitre 10 spokesperson said the retailer had insulation in supply and could move stock around stores to ensure customers could get the materials they needed.

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