Working smoke alarms or detectors are compulsory in all rental homes. New smoke alarms must be photoelectric and have a long battery life, or be hard-wired.

Smoke alarms must be installed:

  • within 3 meters of each bedroom door, or in every room where a person sleeps
  • in each level or story of a multi-story or multi-level home
  • in all rental homes, boarding houses, rental caravans, and self-contained sleep-outs.

All new smoke alarms must:

  • be photoelectric
  • have a battery life of at least eight years, or be hard-wired
  • installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • meet international standards.

Existing smoke alarms do not need to be replaced if they are working, and have not passed the manufacturer’s expiry date.

Smoke alarm best practice recommendations from the New Zealand Fire Service(external link)

Landlords and tenants are responsible for maintaining smoke alarms

Landlords must ensure smoke alarms:

  • are in working order
  • are working at the start of each new tenancy.

Tenants must:

  • not damage, remove, or disconnect a smoke alarm
  • replace dead batteries during the tenancy if there are older-style smoke alarms with replaceable batteries
  • let the landlord know if there are any problems with the smoke alarms as soon as possible.

Landlords have the right to enter a rental home to comply with smoke alarm requirements after 24 hours’ notice between the hours of 8 am and 7 pm.

Landlords and tenants could be fined up to $4,000 for not meeting their obligations.

Boarding houses

Landlords must replace expired batteries in the common areas of boarding houses like hallways and kitchens.

Tenants must replace expired batteries in their rooms.

If there are problems with smoke alarms

Tenants concerned about smoke alarms should talk to their landlord first.

Parties who cannot resolve the issue themselves can begin the disputes resolution process.

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