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About the new rules and regulations

From 1 July 2016 all landlords and their property managers are responsible for ensuring the rental properties they own or manage comply with the Residential Properties Act.

Here we explain the new rules and regulations which under the new law relate to insultation and smoke alarms. 

We’ve tried our best to make this summary straight forward and easy to understand. If you want to dig into this more, then please check the Tenancy Services website.

Insulation 

The regulations require that the ceiling and underfloor must be insulated. Based on the significant extra cost versus benefit, walls do not need to be insulated. There are couple of things to understand before we can assess compliance.

     
  1. If there is no insulation at all:
       
    1. It needs to be insulated and this must comply with the Building Code 2008 requirements regarding R Value. The best description for ‘R Value’ is here
    2. The quality of the installation must also meet the NZS4246:2006  standard (new version coming out soon). This bit is critical as this standard ensures the insulation  performs to its potential and that all safety issues have been addressed. Aside with not complying the regulations, there will also probably be liability issues (such as fire risk associated with how the insulation is installed around chimneys, downlights and other electrical equipment in the ceiling) if this standard is not followed.
  2. If there is some insulation installed but it is not performing up to the R values set out in the 1978 Building Code – it may have been damaged, moved, or poorly installed – then top up insulation will need to be installed so that the insulation meets the 2008 Building Code R value.
       
    1. Usually this done using a ‘top up’ blanket over the top of existing insulation but there may need to be additional insulation added underneath this blanket as well.
    2. The extra insulation should be installed in compliance with NZS4246:2006 to ensure performance and safety issues are addressed. 

Exemptions

There are exemptions to the above requirements. Without getting into the detail, where the underfloor and ceiling cavities are too small or non-existent (concrete floor and skillion roof for example), then insulation is not required.  Please check the Tenancies Services website for more detail on this.

Smoke Alarms

     
  1. Where smoke alarms are not installed at all, new photoelectric (typically 10 year lifespan – batteries cannot be accessed) alarms must be installed:
       
    1. Within 3 metres of any bedroom,
    2. On each floor of a dwelling (must be at least one on each floor). 
  2. Existing smoke alarms are ok as long as they are still within the manufacturer’s recommended replacement lifespan. These alarms still need to be in the right location. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure they are in working order but the tenant must ensure that there is a working battery in them.
  3. There are no exemptions for this section – every rental property must have properly installed and working smoke alarms.

Videos on the new Regulations