Rental properties are set to become slightly warmer, drier and safer, under proposed changes to tenancy laws. While the changes, which focus on insulation and smoke alarms, are a start, we don’t think they adequately address our problem with cold, damp homes.

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill was introduced last year after two deaths linked to unhealthy rentals led to renewed calls for a housing warrant of fitness. Once the bill is passed, rental properties will need to comply with the smoke alarm rules and some of the insulation rules from 1 July this year.

We’ve examined the proposed regulations to show what you need to do to ensure your rental makes the grade, and provided our best-practice smoke alarms and insulation advice. The regulations, which cover exactly how much insulation and how many smoke alarms are required, are being finalised by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation.