Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Tenancy law changes to include insulation and smoke alarm

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for Building and Housing

Tenancy law changes to include insulation and smoke alarm requirements

The Residential Tenancies Act is to be strengthened with new requirements for insulation, smoke alarms, better enforcement and faster resolution of abandoned tenancies, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“This pragmatic package of tenancy law changes will make homes warmer, drier and safer for hundreds of thousands of New Zealand families without imposing excessive bureaucracy or cost,” Dr Smith says.

“The new law will require retrofitting of ceiling and underfloor insulation in rental homes over the next four years. The requirement applies from 1 July 2016 for social housing that is heavily subsidised by Government, and from 1 July 2019 for other rental housing, including boarding houses. There will be exemptions, such as where it is physically impractical to retrofit insulation due to limited space underfloor or inaccessible raked ceilings.

“There will also be a new requirement from 1 July 2016 for all landlords to state in tenancy agreements the level of ceiling, underfloor and wall insulation to help better inform tenants. These new insulation requirements in our tenancy laws are the logical next step following our programme to retrofit insulation in 53,000 state houses and the 280,000 grants from the Warm Up New Zealand scheme.

“Smoke alarms will also be required in all tenanted properties from 1 July 2016. Regulations will make landlords responsible for ensuring an operational smoke alarm is in place, and tenants responsible for replacing batteries or notifying landlords of defects. Long life (10-year) photoelectric alarms will be required where there is no existing alarm or when replacing an existing alarm.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will have new powers to investigate and prosecute landlords for breaking tenancy laws as part of these reforms, particularly where there is risk to the health and safety of tenants. The changes will also ensure tenants can take concerns to the Tenancy Tribunal without fear of being evicted for doing so.

“There will be a new 10-day process introduced to enable re-tenanting of properties where a tenant abandons a property with no intention of returning. The current process can take up to six weeks leaving a house empty and the landlord out of pocket.

“These reforms are to be supported by a $1.5 million information campaign aimed at improving compliance with existing and new tenancy law requirements, as well as providing guidance on the practical ways that homes can be made healthier.

“This package is a more pragmatic and efficient way of improving housing standards than a housing warrant of fitness scheme. Such a scheme would cost $100 million per year, or $225 per house for inspections alone, and these costs would be passed on to tenants in rents. This is money we believe is better spent on real improvements like insulation and smoke alarms. Significant issues like leaky roofs, insecure doors, excessive dampness and unsafe wiring are already covered by existing regulations, and the better response is tougher enforcement. Other issues like window stays, glass visibility safety strips and hot water temperature are best improved by education.

“The Government is proceeding with the insulation and smoke alarm requirements because they are practical and deliver benefits far in excess of the costs. The insulation retrofitting is expected to cost $600 million, with benefits of $2.10 for each dollar of this cost. The smoke alarms are expected to cost $7 million and provide benefits of $15.10 per dollar of cost. Officials estimate the flow-on effect on rents for a property requiring ceiling and underfloor insulation and a new smoke alarm to be $3.20 per week.

“These reforms will require 180,000 homes to be insulated and the 120,000 homes currently without smoke alarms to have them installed. The health benefits of this will be reduced hospitalisations from circulatory and respiratory illnesses, reduced pharmaceutical costs, and fewer days off work and school. The smoke alarms are expected to save three lives per year,” Dr Smith says.

The package announced today was agreed to by Cabinet on Monday and will be included in a Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill to be introduced to Parliament by October. The specific regulations on the insulation and smoke alarms will be consulted on in parallel with the select committee process.

Related documents are available at: www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/housing/changes-to-residential-tenancies-act.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19: 2 Border-Related Cases Confirmed

Two people who completed their managed isolation in the same facility and at the same time as the Northland case are now being treated as confirmed COVID-19 infections. “While we still can’t categorically rule these out as historical infections, ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Risk Of Being Short Changed By Pfizer

Who knew that the delivery of the Covid vaccines was going to be such a headache? All the predictions had been around the likely distribution problems. Would there be enough trained vaccinators around the country, a sufficient number of medical glass vials, a sufficiently robust “cold chain” to safely store the vaccines out in the field? All those issues remain. Currently though, production and delivery concerns are also hovering over whether the drug companies will live up to their contractual commitments, on time... More>>

 

New Zealand Government: Moves On Climate Promises

The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. More>>

ALSO:

National: Leader Of The Opposition’s State Of The Nation Speech

Kia ora and thank you for that welcome. It is a pleasure to be here. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Auckland and the EMA for hosting me at this first event in your centenary year. National and Rotary share many common principles, including community ... More>>

ALSO:

Ministry Of Health: Probable Case Of COVID-19 In A Returnee

The Ministry of Health is investigating a positive test result in a person who recently travelled from overseas and completed their stay in managed isolation in a facility in Auckland. In the case we are investigating and reporting today, the person had ... More>>


ALSO:


Oranga Tamariki: Chief Executive Grainne Moss Steps Down

Controversial Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss has decided to step down. More>>

ALSO:


Government: New Zealand And China Sign FTA Upgrade

Trade Ministers for New Zealand and China today signed an upgrade to the free trade agreement between the two countries. “This modernises our free trade agreement and ensures it will remain fit for purpose for another decade,” Minister for Trade ... More>>

Oxfam NZ: Wealth Of New Zealand’s Richest Person’s Soars By $3.4bn Since Beginning Of Pandemic

New Zealand’s richest citizen, Graeme Hart, has seen his fortune increase by NZ$3,494,333,333 since March 2020 – a sum equivalent to over half a million New Zealanders receiving a cheque for NZ$6,849 each, reveals a new analysis from Oxfam today. The New Zealand ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Public Housing Plan Announced

RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON DR MEGAN WOODS The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government ... More>>

Government: Pre-Departure Testing Extended To All Passengers To New Zealand

To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels