Sheryl Haitana

It’s time to whip old farm cottages into shape and ensure they are insulated sufficiently.

The July 2019 deadline is looming fast for farm owners to ensure staff accommodation meets incoming insulation regulations.

Landlords must ensure rental properties have the right ceiling and underfloor insulation, where physically possible, by July 1, 2019.

The new insulation regulations apply to any residential rental property covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.

Farm owners who are providing rental properties for staff, including sharemilkers and contract milkers and their staff, have an obligation to provide insulated housing.

If a farm owner is not compliant with the insulation requirements they will be in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act and could face fines.

Farm owners should check their houses for insulation and if there is an issue then fix it when the budget allows, Federated Farmers dairy industry group chairperson Chris Lewis says.

In some parts of the country dairy farms have outstanding housing, while in other parts there are quite old houses that will need new insulation, he says.

“Have a look, it may not be a stress or worry.”

Federated Farmers contract agreements have been upgraded to include Healthy Homes Standards to incorporate these changes in legislation.

While it is the farm owner’s responsibility, sharemilkers and contract milkers are effectively property managers when it comes to providing accommodation to their staff and they have obligations to meet.

They need to do their due diligence when they sign a contract, and part of that is ensuring accommodation meets these regulations.

For farm staff who are concerned the insulation in their homes is not up to scratch, they should sit down with their farm owners or employers and discuss it, he says.

“Like any farm issue, sit down and talk about it and agree to a process going forward. We all have to work together and live together.”

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