In response to claims that only 5% of rental properties in New Zealand are insulated, the NZ Property Investors’ Federation has undertaken a survey of their members to more accurately estimate insulation levels.
The claim that only 5% of rental properties were insulated came from reports that 5% of rental property owners had taken up the Government's Heat Smart program. However this doesn’t take account of rental property owners using other subsidy schemes, already having insulation in their properties or finding that it is cheaper to insulate without the subsidy.
Following an analysis of the 269 responses to the survey received so far, it is apparent that a significantly larger proportion of rental properties are insulated than the 5% claimed.
The 269 replies received so far represent 2,246 rental properties. Of these properties, 1,787 or 79.6% have some form of insulation.
Of those rental properties that can be retrofitted for insulation, 84% have ceiling insulation and 57% have underfloor insulation.
Regarding heating, 82.4% of rental properties have some form of heating supplied with the property. At 28.4%, the most common form of heating supplied by rental property owners was a heatpump. This was closely followed by energy efficient wood burners at 28.1%, then electric heaters at 17.6%.
Of the 17.6% of rental properties that did not have a heater supplied, tenants could still supply their own appropriate heating source and take this with them when they left the property.
More than half of the respondents who knew of subsidies available to insulate rental property had taken advantage of such a subsidy.
Many respondents had not taken up the subsidy, however, because approved installers had to be used in conjunction with the subsidy and this made it too expensive. Some respondents claimed that it was considerably cheaper to negotiate the purchase of insulation materials themselves and pay an installer directly to install it.
While 60% of respondents would prefer to receive a subsidy on the insulation materials and installation, 31% of these respondents said that the scheme was not working. Reasons included the total cost being too high and Installers adding an extra margin that negated the benefit of the subsidy.
Respondents indicated that many more rental properties would be insulated if there was a discount or subsidy on insulation materials that they could then install themselves. This type of scheme has been run in the United Kingdom, where weather temperatures tend to be lower than New Zealand.
Federation President, Andrew King, said that “the initial response to our survey would strongly indicate that a high number of rental properties are in fact insulated and also have some form of heating supplied with them”.
“Regulation to force landlords to insulate their rental properties would be an expensive waste of time based on the results of this survey”