Don’t delay on smoke alarms

01 June 2016

The next month should see proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act being signed off and coming into effect from July 1 as part of the government’s push for warm, dry, safer homes. A key requirement is for working smoke alarms in all properties.



And with winter here to stay this is a good time for all landlords to give some thought to the immediate requirements of the proposed changes, and to consider the benefits of investing now in insulation to make your property more attractive to existing and potential new tenants.

Although insulation for all rental homes is not proposed to become mandatory for three years, the amendments proposed for July 1 will require our property managers to provide a statement on tenancy agreements about the location, type and condition of insulation in all our investors’ properties.

We are finding insulation is increasingly becoming a ‘deal breaker’ for tenants seeking accommodation, particularly at this time of year, so we encourage you to talk to your property manager. They should know of tradespeople who will carry out inspections to establish the current state of any insulation, and who are able to refresh existing materials or install from scratch if required.

Meanwhile, smoke alarms need to be working and any replacement alarms installed after the amendments come into force must have long life batteries and a photoelectric sensor. Hardwired alarms are also permitted.

Tenants will be responsible for replacing worn-out batteries in the smoke alarms and informing their landlords/property managers of any defects.

While the requirement for all residential rental properties to have insulation sufficient to keep a home warm in winter and cool in summer is not planned to come into force until July 2019, social housing (where tenants pay an income related rent) must be insulated under the amendments proposed for July 1 this year.

The proposed law, which had its second reading on May 11 and is now awaiting its third reading and assent before coming into force, also makes several changes to tenancy processes. You can see more details on the new regulations and proposed law changes on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website.

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