Landlords - Changes To RTA Are Now In Effect

September 16, 2016

The new requirements for insulation and smoke alarms in residential rental properties have been approved by Parliament and are in effect as of 1 July 2016. A number of smaller changes have also been made to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), but the largest changes are those surrounding smoke alarms and insulation. Details about these changes can be found on the Tenancy Services website. In today’s article, we’ll provide you with a timeline and overview of the smoke alarm and insulation updates so you can ensure your rental property is in compliance. 

 

Timeline for incorporating changes

It’s important to note that the changes are in effect now. Here are the important dates that you need to be aware of:

 

Smoke alarm requirements

As noted above, the new requirements for smoke alarms went into effect on 1 July 2016. If you have any concern about whether your smoke alarms are in compliance, we encourage you to look into this immediately.

Landlord responsibilities: As of 1 July, all residential rental properties must have working smoke alarms installed as described by the New Zealand Fire Service. Any replacement alarms installed after 1 July 2016 must have long-life batteries and a photoelectric sensor (a special sensor that uses a beam of light to determine if smoke particles are present in the air).

Tenant responsibilities: Tenants are responsible for replacing batteries in the smoke alarms and letting their landlords know if the alarms are not working properly.

 

Insulation requirements

Landlords must ensure that their residential rental properties are adequately insulated to keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The level of insulation required depends upon the zone in which the home is located. All properties in the South Island are located in Zone 3, which requires the most extensive level of insulation. Christchurch rental homes require ceiling and underfloor insulation that meets the latest building code requirements. Further details on insulation requirements can be found on the Tenancy Services insulation page. Adequate insulation must be installed by 1 July 2016 for social housing and by 1 July 2019 for all other rental properties.

Landlords are now required to include a statement about the location, type and condition of insulation in new tenancy agreements starting after 1 July 2016. If landlords are unsure about the existing insulation on their property, they must have it verified before including this statement in the tenancy agreement.

 

How First Avenue can help

As a landlord, you may feel concerned about the expense of installing insulation, but we can assure you that a properly insulated property will pay off in the long run. Tenants are more likely to stay in a home if they are kept warm and dry in the winter and cool in the summer. Please read our post about the benefits of insulating your property to learn more.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new regulations, please contact us today. Our team has been monitoring this topic since its inception and is knowledgeable on the smoke alarm and insulation requirements. We can help you create a plan for getting insulation installed by 1 July 2019 and help you verify whether you meet the smoke alarms requirements.

Related articles:

Photos:

Embed Fire.org.nz video as indicated above

Floor insulation by Nick Hubbard, CC BY 2.0

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