Tenancy law changes to include insulation and smoke alarm requirements

The Residential Tenancies Act is to be strengthened with new requirements for insulation, smoke alarms, better enforcement and faster resolution of abandoned tenancies, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith announced.

Tenancy Law
  • 29 April, 2016
  • insulation, smoke alarms, tenancy, Law

“This pragmatic package of tenancy law changes will make homes warmer, drier and safer for hundreds of thousands of New Zealand families without imposing excessive bureaucracy or cost,” Dr Smith says.

“The new law will require retrofitting of ceiling and underfloor insulation in rental homes over the next four years. The requirement applies from 1 July giving home owners until 1 July 2019 for rental housing to comply. There will also be a new requirement from 1 July 2016 for all landlords to state in tenancy agreements the level of ceiling, underfloor and wall insulation to help better inform tenants.”

Compulsory Smoke Alarms by July 2016

“Smoke alarms will also be required in all tenanted properties from 1 July 2016. Regulations will make landlords responsible for ensuring an operational smoke alarm is in place, and tenants responsible for replacing batteries or notifying landlords of defects. Long life (10-year) photoelectric alarms will be required where there is no existing alarm or when replacing an existing alarm.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will have new powers to investigate and prosecute landlords for breaking tenancy laws as part of these reforms, particularly where there is risk to the health and safety of tenants. The changes will also ensure tenants can take concerns to the Tenancy Tribunal without fear of being evicted for doing so.

a) For each bedroom, there must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm in the hall or similar, within three meters of the bedroom door.  In a self-contained sleep out, caravan or similar there must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm.

b) It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the alarm is operational at the beginning of each new tenancy, and the tenant’s responsibility to replace batteries (if required) during the tenancy, and report defective smoke alarms to the landlord.

c) Long life (10 year) photoelectric alarms are required to be installed where there are no existing alarms.

d) Where there are existing alarms, these are to be replaced by long life photoelectric alarms at the end of the life of the existing alarm (usually stated on reverse of alarm). Hardwired smoke alarms are also acceptable.

Installing smoke alarms protects lives and protects your asset. An alarm is one of the first lines of defense when it comes to fire safety.

We are happy to provide recommendations and service providers in all areas.  Please don’t hesitate to call one of our professional property managers for more information.

LJ Hooker NZ

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