Warmer homes for Kiwis
Low-income homeowners or homeowners in low-income areas could be eligible for the new government grant to assist in keeping their homes warm in winter.
On 1 July 2018 the new four-year government program, Warmer Kiwi Homes, came into effect. Under this initiative the government will cover up to two-thirds of the cost of underfloor and ceiling insulation or, if you have a concrete floor, ground vapour barriers. Warmer Kiwi Homes only applies to homeowners who have a Community Services Card, however, funding help no longer stretches to landlords.
Warmer Kiwi Homes replaces the previous Warm Up New Zealand initiative that provided grants for 50% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation for homeowner/occupiers who had a Community Services Card, or for landlords whose tenants had a Community Services Card.
In addition to Warmer Kiwi Homes, starting in July 2019 another government grant will be made available to cover two-thirds of the cost of installing heating appliances.
Meth contamination – update
We have covered meth testing in Property Speaking’s Summer 2016 (no 23) and Winter 2016 (no 22) editions. However, since the release of the Gluckman report, it looks as though the threshold for meth testing in properties will be lowered.
The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, released a report in May 2018 on Methamphetamine contamination in residential properties in New Zealand, risk levels, and interpretation of standards.
The report highlights a distinction between the use and the manufacture of the drug, and the differing levels of contamination of each. New Zealand legislation currently targets meth use with the current regulation in New Zealand being a clean-up level of 1.5 µg/100 cm2, whereas a meth lab will generally have a reading of 30 µg/100 cm2 or more. The report suggests the precautionary approach would be to use a much higher testing level to identify areas contaminated from very high levels of [meth] smoking, which might justify cleaning for reassurance purposes. This would still ensure public safety and reduce a significant burden on property owners.
As a result of Sir Peter’s report, the government intends to review the current legislation around meth contamination and testing requirements later this year. The report calls for change in the current testing regime threshold to 15 µg/100 cm2 which the report suggests is highly unlikely to cause adverse effects where people are exposed to residual meth.
If you would like to know how the report may affect your property, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
Foreign residential investment
Housing may be freed up with the new foreign buyer screening process being introduced in the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill.
The Bill is currently before the Committee of the whole House; following this, it will return to the House for its final reading. Once passed, the Bill will prevent people who are not New Zealand, Australian and Singaporean citizens or residents/resident visa holders, from investing in residential land without first obtaining consent.
This restriction includes all ‘transactions’ with residential property, not limited to purchasing but including entering into residential tenancy agreements for a term of five years or more, or entering into periodic leases that offer a certainty of term for three years or more
The three grounds for consent will be granted where the investor can show the investment will:
- Increase housing in New Zealand: this will be applied where investors build new apartment complexes off the plans or purchase hotel units and lease those units back to the hotel
- Benefit New Zealand: this will apply where the foreign investment creates jobs or investment opportunities in New Zealand, or
- The investor shows a commitment to New Zealand: investors must normally reside in New Zealand and have spent at least 183 days out of the last 12 months in New Zealand.
The Bill will not have retrospective effect, so any overseas investor who already owns land in New Zealand or those who already have a transaction (an agreement to purchase or an existing lease) in place at the date of commencement will fall under the restrictions of the current Act where residential land is not sensitive land.
For guidance more information on how this legislation could affect you buying or selling property – either now or in the future – please give us a call.