9 July 2015

The Government wants to change the law so that everyone renting in New Zealand can live in safer, warmer and healthier homes. Find out what this means for tenants and landlords.

If the changes go ahead, all rental properties would have to meet new insulation standards and be fitted with smoke alarms. This would ensure that all tenants can live in safer, warmer and healthier homes.

Insulation and smoke alarms

Under proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords would have to make sure the property they rent out to tenants has ceiling and underfloor insulation that meets the new standard and is fitted with smoke alarms.

The smoke alarm requirements will come into effect from 1 July 2016. The insulation requirements will come into effect for all residential tenancies (including boarding houses) from 1 July 2019.

From 1 July 2016, all new tenancy agreements will have to include a statement from the landlord about the extent of insulation in the ceiling, underfloor and walls of their property. This will help tenants make informed choices when choosing where to live.

Having insulated homes that are fitted with smoke alarms benefits everyone. Insulation makes homes cheaper and easier to heat, and reduces the health risks caused by living in cold, damp conditions. Smoke alarms are proven to reduce the risk of death from fires by up to 50 per cent.

Changes to tenancy system

The Government is planning to strengthen the enforcement of tenancy law in the worst cases, and make it easier for tenants to challenge a notice of eviction in some circumstances.

The Government is also changing the process for resolving abandoned tenancies so these can be rented out again much quicker.

What happens next?

The changes will be worked through in Parliament later in 2015. Keep an eye on this website for more updates.

Find out more:

MBIE website (external link)