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Research report

Rental checklist

What to look for to get a warm, dry, healthy home.

Does it get sun?

Check all rooms get natural light and that the house isn’t shaded by banks, trees or buildings. If you’re looking in summer, remember the sun is lower in winter (which means some rooms could get less sunlight and some more).

Is it dry, not damp?

Look for mould on windowsills and the backs of curtains. Do a sniff test of the closets and, if the home is furnished, under beds.

Does it have any insulation?

Ask for a copy of the insulation statement. It tells you what insulation the home has and must be in every new tenancy agreement.

Does it have any heating in living areas?

If it’s got a heat pump or woodburner, you’re probably on to a good thing. For more information, see Heating your rental.

Does it have curtains?

Curtains help keep heat in and cold air out. If it has curtains, great. If not, check there are tracks so you can hang curtains yourself.

Do bathrooms and kitchens have extractor fans?

A lot of moisture builds up in bathrooms and kitchens, so look for extractor fans. If the rental doesn’t have any, check windows in these areas open.

Do the windows open in all rooms?

Check windows are in good condition and that they open. If they don’t, you’ll struggle to air out the home. Rotting or soft-to-touch window frames could also mean moisture issues.

Are the doors in decent condition?

If they’re showing signs of rot, the house probably has moisture issues.

Do drain pipes and guttering look OK?

Missing or broken drain pipes and guttering mean they’ll be problems when it rains. Also check to see if you can spot any water pooling under or around the home.

Are obvious repairs needed?

If you see things needing repair, raise it with the person taking you through the property. Find out if there’s a timeframe for repair, and if not, note the problems on the tenancy agreement. Landlords must maintain rentals in a reasonable state.

Does it have smoke alarms?

It’s now a law. They should be on all levels of the home and within three metres of bedrooms.

Download this information as a checklist (100 KB).

Why is this free?

This report is free thanks to funding from the Ministry of Health.

Consumer NZ is non-profit. To help us get a fairer deal for all New Zealand consumers you can become a Consumer member or make a donation. We’ll use your contribution to investigate consumer issues and work for positive change.


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A renter's guide to a warmer home

Our free guide provides advice and tips on what you can do to make your home warmer, cosier and cheaper to heat.

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