Changes to residential rental property regulations

Date: 1st November 2016

Given the large number of holiday makers and short-term residents in the Queenstown Lakes District Council, it’s no surprise that many of our clients are rental property owners. If you earn income from residential rentals, here’s a heads-up that there are new rules you will need to comply with. So let’s have a look at the changes.

view of Wanaka street with houses and Lake Wanaka

New standards on 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’ provide extended guidelines for insulation installers and building owners.

This follows on from changes which 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.

More about the new insulation standards: here

Working smoke alarms essential

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 unlawful

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.

Tenancy investigators may be in the neighbourhood!

Tenancy investigators from a new government team have begun inspecting New Zealand’s rental homes – and say they were disappointed with what they found in Dunedin recently.

“We take breaches of residential tenancy law seriously, and are working to crack down on poor landlord behaviour across New Zealand,” says Paul Coggan, Manager of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s new Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team.

“Our Dunedin visit was just the start of these operations.  We will be in cities and towns across New Zealand to raise awareness of the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords, and to ensure landlords are complying fully with the recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

More information

As a landlord, make sure you are in the know, visit for more information.

Posted in: Alexandra, Latest News, Queenstown, Wanaka