Legislative Changes

November 23, 2016 at 8:30 AM


During the past 8 months, Property Investors have arguably traversed the greatest legislative changes to affect the management of rental property in New Zealand.


Namely, the enacted Health and Safety at Work Act and, the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2016. Landlords can no longer afford to take short-cuts because the risk and cost of non-compliance is potentially crippling.


The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 came into effect on Monday 4th April 2016. While the intention is positive, it is a complicated piece of legislation that has to apply to many different industries throughout New Zealand.


A residential landlord is now deemed to be in the business of operating a rental property. And, an important part of this new Act deems that the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) bears the primary health and safety duty. As the owner of a rental property, Landlords are the PCBU and have a primary duty of care. Further to this, as the PCBU you have a duty to ensure health and safety ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ and it is your responsibility to do what the PCBU can reasonably do to manage any risks.


The 1st of July then heralded the first day of legal requirement that all residential rental properties in New Zealand covered by the Residential Tenancies Act must meet the following regulatory requirements in relation to smoke alarms:



There must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm within 3 metres of each bedroom door, and in a self-contained caravan, sleep out or similar there must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm.


The landlord is now responsible for making sure smoke alarms are in working order at the beginning of every new tenancy.


The tenant is responsible for replacing batteries (if required) during their tenancy.


In multi-story units there must be one smoke alarm on each level within the household unit.


Long-life photoelectric smoke alarms are now required where there are no existing alarms. When existing smoke alarms are replaced, the replacements must be long life photoelectric smoke alarms.


Hard wired smoke alarms are also acceptable.


All smoke alarms must be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended replacement date stated on the alarm.


All new and replacement smoke alarms in rental properties are to be installed in accordance with placement requirements provided in the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also find helpful information on the NZ Fire Service’s website.

Failure to comply with the regulations is an unlawful act, and the landlord may be liable for a financial penalty of up to $4,000.


Aside which, it is now deemed an unlawful act for tenants to cause or permit any interference with, or to render inoperative, any means of escape from fire – which includes smoke alarms. The maximum fine for this offence is $3,000.


Note: These regulations don’t override any additional compliance requirements for smoke alarms in other legislation e.g.; multi-unit residential complexes, student accommodation or boarding houses.


From that same date, 1 July 2019, Landlords are now also required by Law to provide a statement on any new tenancy agreement about the location, type and condition of insulation in their rental home. 


This the precursor to requirement that all residential rental homes in New Zealand will be required to have minimum levels of insulation installed by July 2019. Social housing (where tenants pay an income related rent) had first deadline that these properties must all have been insulated by 1 July 2019.


We invite you contact Goodwins today to maximise the value of your property investment. 


www.goodwins.co.nz Managing Property Auckland-Wide for 25 years

888 New North Road, Mt. Albert and 112 Parnell Rd, Parnell

E catherine@goodwins.co.nz

P (09) 846 9830 or (021) 437 710

Category: Rentals