Landlords: New regulations get serious about smoke alarms

Smoke alarms save lives. They could also save you some trouble and a fine if you’re a landlord!

That’s because, as of 1 July 2016, changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) mean all residential rental properties must have smoke alarms installed. If not, you could be fined (and if you think about it – people could die under your roof!)

So is your rental property up to scratch when it comes to smoke alarms?

Here’s what you need to know about the new regulations.

Who’s responsible for smoke alarms in a rental property?

As a landlord, you are 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. They must also ensure they are operable (ie: not tampered with or batteries removed).

Where should smoke alarms be placed?

There must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm within 3 metres of each bedroom door.

For self-contained caravans, sleep outs or similar there must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm.

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

Note: the NZ Fire Service recommends long-life photoelectric type smoke alarms in every bedroom, living area, and hallway – on every level in the house.

What type of smoke alarms are required?

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.

Hardwired smoke alarms are also acceptable.

What does this mean for landlords?

If you haven’t done anything about this yet, you need to take action. All rental properties must have smoke alarms by 1 July 2016. So get it done!

Here are other actions you should take:

  • Check smoke alarms are working as part of your regular property inspections and when tenancies change
  • If your smoke alarms are older, watch out for replacement dates
  • Systematically upgrade all your smoke alarms to long-life photoelectric (it’s a good opportunity when tenants move out)
  • Check with your insurance provider to be clear about landlord and tenant obligations regarding smoke alarms and fires.

Installing smoke alarms is simple and low cost.

And if all rental properties in NZ have smoke alarms – it could save three lives every year. That’s a great return on investment!

And did you know…

We can hard-wire smoke alarms to run off your mains power (with battery backup) and connect them to other alarms in your house – when one goes off, they all go off.

Want to find out more? Give me (Gavin) a call at BeAlarmed on 027 578 1298. Or request a quote now.