New Smoke Alarm Regulations For NZ Landlords

New Smoke Alarm Regulations For NZ Landlords


In July this year new smoke alarm regulations were introduced in New Zealand.  These regulations state that smoke alarms are compulsory in all rental homes. Not only are they compulsory but Landlords must also have the right type of smoke alarms installed in the right places to meet new regulations.

Connect Realty will ensure all the properties we manage meet these new regulations.  For landlords who are unfamiliar with the regulations we outline the main details below:

Type Of Alarms

All new or replacement smoke alarms must be long-life photoelectric smoke alarms with a battery life of at least eight years that meet the required product standards, or a hard-wired smoke alarm system.

The product standards required are:

AS 3786:1993 (Australia) or an equivalent such as:

  • UL217 (USA)
  • ULCS531 (Canada)
  • BS5446: Part 1 (United Kingdom)
  • BS EN 14604 (United Kingdom)
  • ISO12239 (International).

The standard should be displayed prominently on the packaging and on the alarm. If in doubt, ask the retailer you are purchasing the alarms from.

If there are smoke alarms already installed in your rental property, but they are not long-life photoelectric smoke alarms, they do not need to be replaced as long as they are in the required locations and their replacement date hasn’t expired.

If you are unsure about the date of existing alarms, the replacement date should be listed on the alarm.  If there is no replacement date on the alarm, the alarm is more than eight years old, or you don’t know how old the alarm is, you will need to replace it with a photoelectric smoke alarm to be certain you are complying with regulations.

Where to place Alarm

There must be at least one working smoke alarm within three metres of a “sleeping” door.  If you have a multi-storey or multi-level home, there must be at least one smoke alarm on each level or storey, regardless of whether anyone is sleeping on that level.

Who Is Responsible For Smoke Alarms?

Under the new regulations both landlords and tenants have responsibilities to keep smoke alarms working.  Landlords/Property Managers must make sure the smoke alarms:

  • are always in good working order
  • are working at the start of each new tenancy, including having working batteries.

If there are older-style smoke alarms with replaceable batteries then tenants must replace expired batteries during their tenancy.

Tenants must not damage, remove or disconnect a smoke alarm and that includes removing the batteries, unless it is to immediately replace expired batteries.

Tenants must let the landlord know if there are any problems with the smoke alarms as soon as possible.  Landlords have the right to enter a rental home to comply with insulation requirements after 24 hours’ notice between the hours of 8 am and 7 pm.

The cost of not meeting your obligations

A landlord who fails to comply with smoke alarm obligations is committing an unlawful act and may be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000, while a tenant who fails to comply with their responsibilities may be liable for a penalty of up to $3,000.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.