Landlords are not taking advantage of a government subsidy to help insulate their properties so eligibility for the insulation grants has been extended to include low-income home owners.
In 2019, the law is changing so that landlords will be required to meet new insulation standards. A two-year 'Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes' programme has been offered to landlords with low income tenants, in which the cost of providing ceiling and underfloor insulation is shared with the government.
While the government estimates 180,000 rental properties are not properly insulated at the moment, one year in to the scheme, only 3700 homes have been insulated using the subsidy. Analysis shows the avoided health costs to New Zealand from insulating a house are on average, $854 a year for Community Services Card holders.
Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said landlords may not realise that the law is changing so from 2019 they have to put in the required standard anyway - but by then, taxpayer funds may not be available to help them do it.
Community Energy Network executive officer Gareth Cartwright said he expected there would be a "huge number" of non-compliant rental properties when the law changed in 2019." Landlords face a $4000 fine if they don't comply with these home insulation regulations.
Now the government has extended the eligibility for its Healthy Homes insulation grants to include low-income home owners as well as the landlords with low-income or high health need tenants who are already eligible.
Ms Collins said landlords and home owners should act promptly to get the grant which covers 50 per cent of the insulation cost, while they are available.
Landlords must insulate their rental properties by July 1, 2019. The grants would be available until the end of June 2018.