Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes

Smoke alarm

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill has passed into law, requiring smoke alarms and insulation to be installed in rental properties.

The changes will help make homes warmer, drier and safer for tenants, says Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith.

What are the new regulations?

  • Smoke alarms must be installed in all rental homes by 1 July 2016. New alarms must be 10-year long-life models
  • From 1 July 2016, landlords must include in all new tenancy agreements, a declaration of the level of underfloor, wall and ceiling insulation
  • Any replacement or installation of insulation in rental properties must meet the required standard
  • The installation of electrically conductive insulation products (such as reflective foil) is banned
  • By 1 July 2019, (1 July 2016 for social housing) all rental properties must have underfloor and ceiling insulation, meeting the required standard, where it can practically be installed.

Saving lives and reducing injuries and ill-health

The installation of smoke alarms in rental properties will affect 120,000 homes, says Dr Nick Smith and is "expected to save three lives per year, or 30 during the next decade, as well as reducing fire-related injuries and tens of millions of dollars in property damage."

"The new insulation requirements apply to social housing from 1 July 2016 and all other rentals from 1 July 2019. Landlords must include in all tenancy agreements from 1 July 2016 a declaration of the level of insulation underfloor, in walls and in the ceiling, and all insulation installed from 1 July 2016 must be to the latest 2008 standards. This measure is expected to lead to 180,000 properties being insulated by 2019 and to save 129 lives per year. Other benefits include fewer hospital admissions and fewer school days lost."

"These detailed and practical new laws will make our rental homes warmer, drier and safer. MBIE will be running an information campaign for landlords and tenants in the coming months to help ensure its successful implementation," he says.