putting battery into smoke alarm

Smoke alarms in rentals

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


Choose what’s right for you with confidence

Join today and get instant access to all test results and research.

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.

Smoke alarm tests

We tested 20 smoke alarms for their effectiveness in two different types of fire. Check out our results here.

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.

18jul renters guide promo2 default

A renter's guide to a warmer home

Our free guide provides advice and tips on what you can do to make your home warmer, cosier and cheaper to heat.

See more from our guide

Why is this information free?

This report is available free to consumers and was produced with funding from the Ministry of Health.

If you'd like to support our work as a non-profit organisation, consider making a donation. We’ll use your contribution to work for change to benefit all consumers.