We know having a warm, dry and safe house is the best environment for its occupants, and changes to the Residential Tenancy Act are working towards that outcome.
As a landlord these changes will impact you and it’s important that you are aware of the standard required for your rental property.
On the 1 July 2016 new changes to the Residential Tenancy Act came into effect, with the major impact being that all residential rental homes in New Zealand will be required to have insulation by July 2019.
The new ruling states that there must be underfloor and ceiling insulation, meeting the required standard, where it can be practically installed.
Prior to that deadline, Landlords are required to provide a statement on the tenancy agreement for any new tenancy commencing 1 July 2016 about the location, type and condition of insulation in the rental home.
As a landlord, now is the time to start the check list for your rental property. Although the insulation statement is only required for new tenancies from 1 July 2016, completing the statement will ensure you are prepared for the July 2019 change.
An insulation template form can be found here: https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Forms-templates/insulation-statement.pdf
From 1 July 2016, smoke alarms are compulsory in all rental homes. Most of the houses I work with already meet the basic requirements, however there are some specific details which need to be met for all new tenancies.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure there is at least one working smoke alarm in each bedroom or within three metres of each bedroom door and at least one on each level.
All new or replacement smoke alarms, installed from 1 July 2016 onward, must be long-life photoelectric smoke alarms with a battery life of at least eight years or a hard-wired smoke alarm system, and meet the required product standards.
It is the tenants responsibility to check and replace batteries in smoke alarms during the tenancy, however I follow up with that during property inspections to ensure it’s been done and always test the alarms at the start of a new tenancy.
Here is a quick look at all the new changes to the Act;
- Smoke alarms compulsory in all rental properties
- Underfloor and ceiling insulation is required in all residential rental homes in New Zealand by 1 July 2019
- An insulation statement is required for all new tenancies from 1 July 2016
- Landlords must keep rent and bond records for seven years after the tax year to which they relate.
- Landlords must keep copies of all documentation relating to the rental home during the tenancy and for 12 months after the tenancy ends.
- There is now an expedited process for a landlord to regain possession of their rental home when it has been abandoned
- It is now an unlawful act for a landlord to end a tenancy in retaliation for a tenant exercising a right under the tenancy agreement or the relevant law, or by making a complaint relating to the tenancy. This is called a ‘retaliatory notice’.