• Source

    A Christchurch landlord has been ordered to pay $4,100 after a non-compliant gas supply and non-working smoke alarms were found at one of her properties.

    Lina Liu, the landlord of two boarding houses, was taken to the Tenancy Tribunal by MBIE’s Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) for failing to meet her responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

    “Following complaints of a gas leak at one of the boarding houses, the gas supply to the property was found to be non-compliant. When the TCIT team looked into Ms Liu’s operations, it was established that Ms Liu failed to have working smoke alarms at both of her properties and there were no written tenancy agreements with insulation statement in place,” National Manager Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Steve Watson said.

    The Tenancy Tribunal Ordered Ms Liu to pay $4000.00 in exemplary damages for these health and safety breaches, and additional $100.00 for failing to provide a written statement that adequately described the levels of insulation – a legal requirement that came into effect from 1 July 2016.

    “Insulation statements were introduced to give tenants certainty and choice when it comes to choosing which rental house to live in. The lack of understanding in this area is something we see a lot in our work – it is great to see the Tribunal support the importance of these statements,” Mr Watson said.

    “Just as important as the financial deterrent, the Tenancy Tribunal issued an Order that allows TCIT to return to the property to ensure the gas work has been fixed, which will ensure future tenants can safely live in the rental.”

    The Tribunal Order also issued a restraining Order for two years, which means if Ms Liu is found to breach the law again in that period, she could face criminal charges in the District Court.

    “Landlords need to comply with the provisions of the RTA and not put tenant safety at risk through poor maintenance and ignoring the law. The Tenancy Tribunal Order rightly stated that smoke alarms ‘go to the very heart of tenant safety’.

    “Securing this type of Order highlights the important work the Team is doing across New Zealand to hold landlords who seriously breach the RTA to account,” Mr Watson said.

  • Source

    An Auckland landlord has been fined $2000 for failing to install smoke alarms in a rental property.

    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment successfully took Arie Peter Sterk to the Tenancy Tribunal for the breach last week.

    Sterk has also been restrained from committing the same offence for six years, or will face further legal action.

    Steve Watson, MBIE’s national manager of the tenancy compliance and investigation team, said it served as a reminder to all landlords that failing to comply with tenancy laws would not be tolerated.

    “By failing to meet his legal obligations, Mr Sterk deprived his tenant of a warm, dry, and safe home, and put them at risk if there had been a fire,” said Watson.

    “It is important landlords realise not installing smoke alarms correctly isn’t only a legal compliance issue, but something that can have a very real effect on tenants.

    “When a landlord rents a property, they must have at least one working smoke alarm on each level, either in each bedroom, or within three metres of the bedroom door.”

    The best thing a landlord could do was download the compliance checklist from the Tenancy Services website (www.tenancy.govt.nz) to ensure they were fully compliant with their obligations, Watson said.

    Not installing smoke alarms can cost landlords exemplary damages of up to $4000.

  • Comply today and get the tax man to pay!With End of Financial Year fast approaching, now is the time to book those properties in for their annual Smoke Alarm Compliance check.

    Happy Landlords + Happy Tenants = Happy Property Managers.

    Another Tax deductible service for your Landlords that also keeps your portfolio compliant.

    Already an existing client? Send your work orders through to info@sats.co.nz today and we will take care of the rest.

    Are you a Property Manager wanting to take advantage of a Tax deductible service for your Landlords? Click HERE for further information.

  • It is important that in the event of a fire (or emergency) you have a safety checklist and escape plan. Take the time to put both in place with your family, friends or boarders – it could potentially save a life.

    A home fire safety checklist consists of a to-do list to prevent your home from catching on fire. These measures should be applied on a daily basis to help reduce the risk overall. The to-do list may include items such as times to regularly clean, dust, check and maintain smoke alarms throughout the home. It may also note general safety actions such as keeping flammable items away from heat sources, being present when there are lit flames (candles, fires, BBQs etc.), safe storage of combustible goods and good practices in the kitchen when cooking and cleaning.

    Read our blog to see tips on creating an Escape plan for your home.

Just this year there has already been a hand full of cases heard by the Tenancy Tribunal in which property managers and landlords have been ordered to pay exemplary damages to tenants for failing to fit smoke alarms in their rental properties.

Referring to the Tenancies Act changes that took effect in July 2016, stating landlords are responsible for ensuring there are good, working smoke alarms in their rental properties before the tenant moves in (start of a new tenancy).

An Auckland landlord who failed to comply with these standards got fined $2,000 for not installing smoke alarms in a rental property. It was said in this case the landlord “has been restrained from committing the same offence for six year or will face further legal action.” Examples are being made all through New Zealand making sure the landlords and property managers are complying with Tenancy laws, reminding them that in failing to do so will not be tolerated and can be fined up to $4,000.


You can read other cases here:


A woman was left clutching her pet rabbit on the footpath after the pair made a narrow escape from a house fire caused by a candle in Dunedin yesterday morning.
A fire investigator said the near-miss should serve as a warning to landlords, property managers and tenants that smoke alarms are compulsory in rentals.

A fire investigator said the near-miss should serve as a warning to landlords, property managers and tenants that smoke alarms are compulsory in rentals.

Three fire appliances were deployed to battle the blaze in the upstairs Stafford St flat about 8.45am yesterday.

A young woman, believed to be the sole occupant of the flat at the time, managed to escape with her pet rabbit. She was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

There appeared to be some structural damage to the unit but the fire was extinguished before it could spread to consume the property, which contained several flats.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand fire risk management officer Mark Bredenbeck said the fire was believed to have been caused by a candle left burning on a corner table in the lounge, and there were no working smoke alarms in the house.

”She was alerted to the fire because her cellphone alarm woke her … She got up to find the house full of smoke, and she’s done a runner.”

He urged tenants to take action if their landlords had not fitted smoke alarms, now mandatory in rental properties.

”And if the landlords aren’t going to do anything, then contact us, and we can take it further.”

However, once the smoke alarm was in place, it was the tenant’s responsibility to insure it was still working, Mr Bredenbeck said.

The Porirua landlords of the property, managed by an external agency, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

  • How much does the service cost my Agency?

    The service is at NO COST to your agency.

    How much work is involved for my Agency?

    The service has been designed by Licensed Real Estate agents to minimize the amount of work for your office. SATS will provide all the information you need to implement the system and even do all the printing for you, at no cost, to ensure all your landlords are aware of their responsibilities in regards to smoke alarms.

    What does the annual fee to the landlord include?

    The fee is per property not per alarm and includes an initial visit to the property to complete a survey and make sure that all alarms are positioned correctly, within their service life and are approved by Australian Standards. The technician will then clean and test alarms. Batteries are tested or replaced as required and marked with an inspection sticker at every visit. We will continue to visit the property throughout the year at change of tenancies and lease renewals at no additional cost and complete a full service. Your office will be issued a Certificate of Compliance within two hours after each visit.

    Is this a compulsory service?

    At this stage, it is not compulsory in all states of Australia, however it is recommended that you offer this service to your landlords and have them either accept the service or decline the service to meet your duty of care. If they decline the service they indemnify your office and take on the responsibility themselves in regards to smoke alarms.

    As an agent what should I do in regards to smoke alarms?

    In all instances, we recommend that you engage the services of a specialist Smoke Alarm service provider to complete the testing of all alarms because most agencies are not insured, qualified or equipped to test smoke alarms. On your ingoing, outgoing and routine inspections you should visibly check and record whether there is a smoke alarm present.

    Is it true that all smoke alarms have an expiry date?

    It is true! All smoke alarms 9volt and 240volt hard wired alarms must have an expiry date to meet Australian standards. Depending on make and model this is sometimes noted as a manufacture date, an expiry date or a manufacture code. We carry this information for all 96 approved smoke alarms in Australia. NB. Smoke alarms must be replaced once they exceed their service life. Failure to do so may result in an alarm not working in a fire situation or in insurance claim being declined.

    What is the best smoke alarm for my property?

    The best smoke alarm for your property depends on the type of property and which state it is located in.

    We only use Photoelectric Smoke Alarms, however the type and model depends on the type of property and which state it is located in. If you have any questions relating to your states requirements you should contact SATS.

    Can landlords undertake their own inspections and servicing of smoke alarms in their owned rental properties?

    In some states they can, however they are not a specialist Smoke Alarm Service Provider. The complexities of positioning alarms to ensure the property complies with the Building Code of Australia and having the knowledge to ensure the smoke alarms are fully functional, can be difficult for the average landlord. For instance, can the landlord check that the power supply is actually connected to the 240v alarm? Can the landlord check the decibel output of the alarm and that it is in the required range? Can the landlord check the manufacture and/or expiry date of the alarm?

    There could be significant outcomes for the landlord if a fire should occur and the property is not compliant or the alarms have not been serviced in accordance with the legislation. Additionally, the landlords insurance on the property may be void if a failure to comply with all legislation is proven. It is far better risk management for a landlord to employ a specialist to ensure compliance and to protect their valuable asset and the lives of the occupants.

    Are faulty smoke alarms removed from the property?

    Faulty smoke alarms are removed from the property. The only time a faulty smoke alarm is not removed, is when its removal would leave significant and obvious paint damage (e.g. If the ceiling has been painted white, but behind the smoke alarm it hasn’t been painted and is yellow). In this case a working smoke alarm would be installed in a suitable location to ensure that the property remains compliant.

    Are expired smoke alarms removed from the property?

    Expired smoke alarms are removed from the property. The only time an expired smoke alarm is not removed is when its removal would leave significant and obvious paint damage (e.g. If the ceiling has been painted white, but behind the smoke alarm it hasn’t been painted and is yellow).