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More details on rental minimum standards from 1 July

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Since the announcement last year of minimum standards being introduced for all rental properties, there has been a lot of demand within the landlord industry for more specific directives as to what exactly these standards are to be.  It is very well to make insulation and smoke alarms compulsory but how much insulation and how many smoke alarms should be installed?  

Over the last many months, the New Zealand Property Investors' Federation on behalf of all the Property Investors' Associations around the country has been actively engaging with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to lobby for reasonable levels of insulation and smoke alarm installation with the view that while landlords have a responsibility over the health and safety of our tenants the commercial reality is such that an overly onerous regime will not only increase rent but also force a decline in rental stock.  

The Housing Minister's announcement yesterday is a result of all the NZPIF's hard work.  We can now confirm the following information: 

Smoke alarms 

Compliance date 

 1st July 2016 

Minimum standards 

Minimum of one working smoke alarm within three metres of each bedroom door.  

Minimum of one working smoke alarm in a self-contained sleep-out, caravan or similar. 

Minimum of one working smoke alarm on each level  in a multi-level unit. 

All new installations to be specifically long life photoelectric alarms. 

Existing battery operated smoke alarms to be replaced by long life photoelectric alarms when the former fail/need to be replaced. 

Related offer: $20 off long life photoelectric smoke alarms for APIA members

Installation details 

Installation in accordance with placement requirements identified in the manufacturer's instructions AND 

Minimum of one working smoke alarm in the hall or similar, within three metres of each bedroom.

Landlord obligation

Installation of smoke alarms to or above minimum standard and ascertaining that all alarms are operational at the start of each new tenancy. 

Tenant obligation 

Changing batteries during their tenancy so that the alarms continue to be operational.


Compliance date 

1st July 2019 for complete insulation (unless the property is such that it is physically impossible to insulate)

1st July 2016 disclosure requirement in all tenancy agreements 

Minimum standards 

Property with no existing insulation to be upgraded to 2008 building standards 

Property with existing insulation to be up to 2001 building standards 

Installing rules 

Self installation is permissible but be aware of insurance and liability consequences 

This Parliamentary Q&A document on The Residential Tenancies Regulation elaborates on the summary points above.  We strongly recommend that all landlords and property managers to go through this document in order to better prepare the the incoming minimum standards.  

What has been your experience complying to the minimum standards?  Do you find the expenses onerous?  How are you budgeting for these expenses?  Will they affect the long term outlook of your portfolio?  Share your experience, comment reply below.

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