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Research report

Smoke alarms in rentals

Smoke alarms are a lifesaver. And in rentals, they’re a legal requirement.

Smoke alarms are a lifesaver. And in rentals, they’re a legal requirement.

What’s the law?

A rental must have smoke alarms either within three metres of each bedroom door or in every room where a person sleeps. If you live in a multi-storey home, they need to be on all levels.

The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to replace expired smoke alarms with long-life battery photoelectric smoke alarms.

If they don’t meet the requirements, they face a fine of up to $4000 for non-compliance.

It’s your responsibility to:

  • Check smoke alarms are working on a regular basis
  • Let the landlord know if there’s a problem with them
  • Change the batteries if necessary.

The smoke alarm should:

  • Be photoelectric
  • Have a battery life of at least eight years or be hard-wired.

Existing smoke alarms don’t need to be replaced if they’re still working or have not passed their expiry date.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has advice on where to place alarms and how to check them. Get more detail on the smoke alarm laws on the Tenancy Services website.

Smoke alarms buying guide

From the different types of smoke alarms to where they should be installed, we tell you everything you need to know. Check out our smoke alarms buying guide.

Smoke alarms for deaf and hearing-impaired

Fire and Emergency New Zealand says the ideal alarm for the deaf and hearing-impaired is a hard-wired series of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms fitted with bed-shakers, strobe lights or pagers.

These systems can be expensive, but there is Ministry of Health funding available to those that meet criteria. More information is available on the Fire and Emergency New Zealand website.

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Why is this free?

This report is free thanks to funding from the Ministry of Health.

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