Do you own rental properties?

If you gain income from rentals, be aware you need to comply with new rules. These changes aim to make homes warmer, drier and safer for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.

Insulation

On 1 October 2016, changes to the Residential Tenancies Regulations came into force to reflect new standards on insulation. Standards New Zealand’s ‘Energy efficiency – Installing bulk thermal insulation in residential buildings’ provides extended guidelines for insulation installers and building owners.

This follows up on changes that took effect on 1 July 2016 requiring all rental properties to have ceiling and underfloor insulation by 1 July 2019. Landlords must now provide a statement in the tenancy agreement for any new tenancy commencing on or after 1 July 2016 about the location, type and condition of insulation in the rental home.

Smoke alarms

Landlords must now have working smoke alarms installed in all their residential rental homes. Replacement alarms that are subsequently installed need to have long-life batteries and a photoelectric sensor. Hardwired smoke alarms are also permitted.

Expedited abandonment process

There is a new process for landlords to regain possession of their rental property if the tenant has abandoned the property. This enables a Tenancy Adjudicator to decide the case, based on evidence landlords provide in their application. The process doesn’t allow for landlords to claim the bond, or costs such as rent arrears and damages. This would need to be done by further application.

Retaliatory notices

It is now unlawful for a landlord to end a tenancy in retaliation where a tenant exercises a right under the tenancy agreement, relevant law, or by making a complaint relating to the tenancy. Tenants who take direct action against landlords will now be able to challenge an alleged retaliatory notice up to 28 working days after it has been issued.

More information can be found at: www.tenancy.govt.nz

Published summer 2016

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