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New tenancy laws take effect

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/06/2016

The new requirement for all rental properties to have working smoke alarms is a no-brainer © John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Assocaition The new requirement for all rental properties to have working smoke alarms is a no-brainer The deadline has arrived for all rental properties to have smoke alarms fitted.

That's one of the new tenancy laws that came into effect on Friday.

Another means that rental properties must be insulated by July 1, 2019, and stronger enforcement measures are in force.

"These are the most significant changes in tenancy law in 30 years and will affect more than 450,000 rental homes," Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith said.

"The new requirement for all rental properties to have working smoke alarms is a no-brainer."

He says that when the policy was announced a year ago it was estimated 27 per cent, or 120,000 homes, did not have a working smoke alarm.

Landlords are responsible for installing them and tenants are responsible for replacing batteries.

All new smoke alarms must be long-life models and failure to comply could mean a $4000 fine.

The new insulation requirements mean there must be underfloor and ceiling insulation in all 60,000 social housing rentals from Friday.

All rental properties, with few exceptions, must be insulated by July 1, 2019.

"A significant change with the new law is the power of the government to prosecute landlords whose property breaches basic housing standards covering issues such as dampness, sanitation, electrical safety, security, drainage and maintenance," Dr Smith said.

"Currently the system relies on tenants to take cases to the Tenancy Tribunal."

Dr Smith says an information campaign for landlords has been running, and he wants them to understand their responsibilities.

"These new requirements on smoke alarms and insulation will save 1000 lives in the next decade," he said.

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