By Elena McPhee for the Otago Daily Times
As some rental owners struggle to catch up, Dunedin landlords who have not planned properly for insulation regulation changes are leaving some rental properties empty, the Otago Property Investors' Association says.
Since last Monday, rental properties have been required to have floor and ceiling insulation, unless they have an exemption.
Association president Kathryn Seque said she believed the majority of landlords in Dunedin were compliant, but there were landlords who gave their tenants 90 days' notice before 1 July because homes were not up to scratch.
On one South Dunedin street, she knew of at least four houses that were now unoccupied.
Houses sitting empty was also an issue in other cities, particularly Wellington, and Ms Seque said she did not have much sympathy with landlords who had not organised the work in time.
"We've had about three years," she said.
Warm Fuzzies managing director Jonathan Duncan said his business - a Healthy Homes broker - had experienced an increase of about 300 percent to 400 percent when it came to landlords wanting to put in insulation before 1 July.
Warm Fuzzies dealt with landlords in Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland and had experienced a rush in all centres. Some insulation dates had to be set for August, he said.
"All the contractors are flat out," he said. There had also been issues with product supply, particularly with insulation company Knauf.
Ms Seque said she had not had any landlords in the city tell her they had had complaints from tenants about a lack of insulation.
In the last three months, many landlords had been relying on tradesmen from out of town, or "just doing it themselves", she said.
Nationwide, about 40 complaints have been laid by tenants alleging landlords have failed to upgrade insulation in time, according to Radio New Zealand.
However, a breakdown of complaints by city was not available at the weekend.
Ms Seque said as the compliance date for the new Healthy Homes standards set this year approached there would be a greater shortage of rental properties in Dunedin.
Under the new legislation - which comes into force between 2021 and 2024, depending on the property - homes will need to have a heater that can heat the main living area to 18degC, have an extraction fan in kitchens and bathrooms, and have adequate drainage among other requirements.
*This story was first published on the Otago Daily Times