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.

A Response to Frank Newman’s “Perils of being a Landlord” Article

landlord handing over key

Frank Newman recently wrote an article in the Property Plus magazine titled “ Perils of being a Landlord”. Here he outlined what he, and others, consider are the common complaints or frustrations from landlords. We have included that article below.

We agree that being a landlord can be incredibly frustrating, and that is why we offer our Property Management service to landlords and tenants. By taking away some of the ‘frustrations’ like collecting rents, property viewings and regular house inspections, we hope that our Landlords’ experience will be a positive one. Read some of our testimonials to see how we can make a difference Connect Realty Testimonials.

If you are considering buying a rental property, or have an existing property you wish to rent out, call us today for more information about the Landlord services we offer, we guarantee your experience will be a positive one.

Here is the Frank Newman Article:

Perils of being a Landlord, with Frank Newman

The term Land-lord has an aristocrat resonance about it. The reality is there is nothing easy about being a landlord. For most it’s a rude awakening into aspects of human behaviour that most prefer not to associate with. The NZ Herald (Diana Clement, 3 May) ran an interesting article recently about the perils of being a landlord. Here are some key points.

The most common complaints or frustrations from landlords were:

• Not getting paid! In 2013 there were 45,093 applications nationwide to the Tenancy
Tribunal. 41,496 or 92% were from landlords. The other 8% (3,597) were filed by
tenants. Most of the applications filed by landlords were for rent arrears (61%).
Given there are about 500,000 rental units in New Zealand, in any one year one in 18
(about 6%) suffer arrears that are significant enough to warrant the matter being
referred to the Tenancy Tribunal.
• Prospective tenants not keeping appointments to view the property.
• Smoking in the dwelling even though the tenants have accepted a non-smoking
condition of tenancy (and then they no doubt moan about the cost to have someone
clean the tar from the ceiling and walls!).
• Keeping pets in a pet-free property. One property owner describes it this way.
“Turning up to a property that you’ve let in pristine condition to find dog sh*t all
over the yard, dog hair inside the house embedded in the carpet, scratch marks over
the interior and exterior doors, a pervading smell of dog inside the property and
burnt patches of grass where the dog has been peeing tends to make one think long
and hard before re-renting to dog owners.”
• Tenants who claim to have paid the rent but haven’t. This shows the importance
of providing receipts if rent is paid in cash (which is suspicious in itself as they may
be using your premises to operate a “cash” business).
• Tenants who sublet the property without the landlords consent.
• Exceeding the maximum number of people permitted to live at the property, causing
overcrowding and additional damage.
• Tenants leaving piles of rubbish and belongings when vacating.
• Tenants who don’t report problems, like leaking pipes and fittings that damage
kitchen cabinets and floors. A lot of damage can be done between inspections.
• The problems often continue once the problem tenants have gone. Enforcing debts
after judgement is hugely bureaucratic, often with little to show for it or repayment
in small amounts over a very long time.

One does not have to be Einstein to work out that the problems within the rental sector are to do with bad tenants rather than bad landlords. It’s an issue that could be sorted if the regulators that are so keen to come down hard on landlords, came down hard on tenants.

Read the full article here