Many legal minds making NZ LAW work

We are an association of independent legal practices, proactively sharing ideas and expertise for the benefit of our clients.

Is your rental safe and healthy?

Published: 8th May 2018

Author: Catherine Donaldson, Wilkinson Rodgers Lawyers

Published in: Property Speaking | Issue #27

Welcome to our first issue of Property Speaking for 2018. We hope you find the articles in this edition both interesting and useful.

To talk further about any of the topics we’ve covered, or indeed any property matter, please don’t hesitate
to contact us – our details are above.

 

Is your rental safe and healthy?

Penalties for landlords dragging the chain

New laws came into effect on 1 July 2016 that require landlords to make their properties safe and healthy for tenants. These new laws provide some lead time for properties to be brought up to standard; they will apply to all rented properties from 1 July 2019. Will your rental property meet the new standard?

A recent Tenancy Tribunal decision shows that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is not shy of showing its teeth to ensure that tenants have safe and healthy homes by complying with the health and safety amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The Residential Tenancies (Smoke Alarms and Insulation) Regulations 2016 outline requirements for rental properties, including underfloor and ceiling insulation, and requiring smoke alarms within three metres of each bedroom.

Hefty fines

MBIE brought a claim[1] against Mrs Liu, a landlord in breach of the recent building standards implemented in July 2016. Mrs Liu was fined $4,000 for failing to insulate her tenanted properties, and there was an additional $100 fine for failing to complete an insulation statement as part of the tenancy agreement.

Exemptions

There are some exemptions to the new regulations. These can be properties that, for example, cannot be insulated because they have concrete floors or no ceiling access. Properties that are to be demolished or to be substantially rebuilt within 12 months also do not need to comply.

Unless your property is exempt you will have 90 days to make your property compliant once you enter into a new tenancy agreement. All properties must be compliant from 1 July 2019 – just over a year away.

Must include insulation statement

All new tenancy agreements must also include an insulation statement, that can be downloaded from here (along with the standard tenancy agreement form here). The insulation statement identifies whether your property meets the minimum standards under the Building Act 2004. It’s important for landlords to understand what insulation they have in their property as some types will be unacceptable. For example, underfloor foil is no longer allowed to be installed (but will be acceptable if already installed): it can be non-compliant if worn. You may be liable for fines up to an eye-watering $200,000 if deteriorating foil creates a fire risk when it comes in contact with electrical wires.

Financial help is available

Upgrading a rental property to meet these new standards can be financially stressful. Thankfully, many local councils offer low interest loans for property owners looking to improve heating and insulation in their properties; the loan can be repaid through a small increase in periodic rates payments. We recommend that you check with your local council to find out about your local scheme.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority also provides subsidies of up to 50% off the costs of insulating tenanted and owner-occupied homes. These grants are available to landlords whose tenants have community services cards or special health needs. You will, however, need to be quick; these grants are only available until 30 June 2018.

Landlords – get cracking

The Tribunal’s decision against Mrs Liu sets a warning to landlords. MBIE set up the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team in 2016 specifically to audit landlord compliance. In 2017 alone this team audited five of the country’s largest property management companies; it found varying levels of compliance across the sector.

The regulations are set out in the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act 2017 which came into force on 5 November 2017. This legislation states that non-compliance with the new insulation and smoke alarm requirements is punishable with fines of up to $3,000.

All of these new laws and obligations can seem overwhelming, but there is help available to guide you through this process. We recommend that you take the first step towards meeting your obligations sooner rather than later. More information can be found here. Alternatively you can discuss these requirements with your local council, or get in touch with us.

 

 



[1]    The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment vs Liu, Lina [2018] NZTT Christchurch 4090222 / 4090244

 

Related Articles

  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Canterbury
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Hawke's Bay
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Manawatu - Wanganui
  • Marlborough
  • Nelson
  • Northland
  • Otago
  • Southland
  • Taranaki
  • Waikato
  • Wairarapa
  • Wellington
  • West Coast

Simpson Western

Simpson Western is a leading law firm in Auckland North, with offices in Takapuna and Silverdale.

The firm has ten partners, supported by a team of specialist lawyers, legal executives and a general manager, together with a team of excellent support staff.

Region: Auckland

Phone: 09 486 3058

Kaimai Law Limited

Kaimai Law Bethlehem has been based in Bethlehem, Tauranga for nearly a decade, and our new office at The Lakes opened in March 2017.  The majority of lawyers in our professional team at Kaimai Law Bethlehem & Kaimai Law The Lakes has 10 to 30+ years of experience in their respective fields, which means that they have the knowledge required to give you legal advice you can trust. 

Kaimai Law Bethlehem & Kaimai Law The Lakes specialise in all property matters including conveyancing, finance and subdivisions, as well as family law, commercial law, estate planning, estate administration, trusts, wills, employment law and relationship property. Kaimai Law Bethlehem & The Lakes are your one stop law shops in Tauranga.

Region: Bay of Plenty

Phone: 07 579 3316

Parry Field Lawyers

With expertise in a wide variety of legal matters, Parry Field has developed a reputation for providing high quality legal advice and services in a timely fashion.

With offices in Riccarton, Hokitika and Rolleston Parry Field like to cover all bases.

Region: Canterbury

Phone: 03 348 8480

Purnell Lawyers

There is nothing as inevitable as change. Since opening for business early last century, we at Purnell Lawyers have seen many changes both in name and in the people who have made up the members of our team. We have been privileged to have served the public throughout all of these times. 

We are confident that we will continue to bring top quality legal services to our clients well into the future.

Region: Coromandel

Phone: 07 868 8680

Woodward Chrisp

At Woodward Chrisp we strive to meet the needs of our clients by providing a wide range of high quality legal services within a supportive and collaborative environment.

Woodward Chrisp is the amalgamation of two long established Gisborne legal firms: Woodward Iles & Co and Chrisp and Chrisp. Today’s partners are Ross Revington, Adam Simperingham, Jeff Allen and Ellie FitzGerald.

Region: Gisborne

Phone: 06 869 0900

NZ LAW Limited

NZ LAW Limited is an association of independent legal practices with member firms located throughout New Zealand. There are currently 53 member firms practising in a wide range of legal disciplines ranging from business law, home buying and selling, immigration law and intellectual property to aviation law and viticulture.

The group was established in 1992 when about five law firms met in Auckland to find a way to benefit their clients by replicating the conviviality and the sharing of ideas and expertise that occurs in larger law firms, but still be able to retain client confidentiality and their own independence.

Region: Hawke's Bay

Phone: 06 835 5299

BMC Lawyers

BMC lawyers has built a reputation for providing quality service and delivering real results. Our strength is our broad-ranging legal experience that gives us the ability to match clients with the right mix of legal skills for their particular needs.

Our legal professionals are passionate about what they do and work alongside a talented team of support and administration staff to make a real positive difference to our clients.”

Region: Kapiti Coast

Phone: 04 296 1105

Dorrington Poole

Dorrington Poole Lawyers has a long tradition in Dannevirke and was founded in 1914 by Percy Dorrington. The firm still acts for families of some of the earliest clients. The long term relationship with those clients gives continuity in a fast changing world.

The firm provides quality legal services within New Zealand for its rural, commercial and private clients. We provide services for clients not only in the Southern Hawkes Bay/Tararua area but also throughout the country.

Region: Manawatu - Wanganui

Phone: 06 374 7089

Wain & Naysmith

Based in Blenheim, Wain & Naysmith Lawyers is a full service law firm, and a powerhouse for property, family and business law.

We pride ourselves in providing clear and cost effective legal solutions and practical advice for you, your family and your business.

Region: Marlborough

Phone: 03 520 6103

Knapps Lawyers

As a firm, we promise to look after you and treat you in a manner that we would expect to be treated by a professional services provider; we promise to use every available legal remedy available to us to resolve your issue and to do what you ask us to do in a timely manner.

We will hold in strict confidence all information that we acquire through our work for you and which concerns your business or personal information.  The only exceptions are where you authorise us to disclose such information or where we must do so by law.

Region: Nelson

Phone: 03 544 7888

Thomson Wilson

Thomson Wilson is a full service law firm based in Whangarei. We’ve been trusted lawyers for the Northland community and beyond for 75 years.

We act for individuals and families, businesses, public sector and other organisations. Whether you need no-fuss advice on a simple matter, or a team of legal experts. 

Our staff provide advice in most areas of the law, including property law, business law, trusts and estates, separation and divorce, resource management, criminal law and more.

We also offer expertise in specialist areas such as Maori land, local government law, farming and forestry.

Region: Northland

Phone: 09 430 4380

Downie Stewart

At Downie Stewart Lawyers Dunedin we are focused solely on helping you achieve your goals. 

We have an incredibly talented team of Dunedin lawyers that will listen to you and provide you with sound legal advice, always striving for the simplest solution to any problem.

We are committed to this region and have worked with Dunedin and Otago families and businesses since 1867. 

Region: Otago

Phone: 03 477 2263

Sheddan Pritchard Law Ltd

Incorporating traditional values and a fresh perspective, Sheddan Pritchard Law is here to assist you with all your legal needs. 

Our friendly and team-driven approach underpins our firm’s values, recognising the importance of putting people first and allows us to connect and nurture professional relationships with new and existing clients within our local community of Gore, as well as throughout New Zealand and extending overseas.

Region: Southland

Phone: 03 209 0030

Welsh McCarthy

Welsh McCarthy practises in Hawera, South Taranaki. Predominant industries in the South Taranaki district are dairy farming, oil and gas. The South Taranaki area also has the largest one-site multi product milk processing facility in the world

We deal with company and commercial transactions, commercial and family law, farm and residential sales and purchases, estate planning and family and charitable trusts. A large part of the firm also deals in the area of family law.

Region: Taranaki

Phone: 06 278 5039

Lamb Bain Laubscher

The firm advises clients on a regional and national level, regularly meeting with clients throughout New Zealand at their places of business or residence. Building on the experience of its members, the firm has forged a successful relationship with its clients, and in some cases act for and advise three generations of the same family.

The firm seeks to create innovative and advantageous solutions based on their knowledge and experience and a keen appreciation of each clients individual circumstances.

The firm has modern internal systems and an infrastructure which enables direct and efficient means of service to clients. There is an emphasis on building strong relationships with our clients and providing a personalised service.

Region: Waikato

Phone: 07 878 1011

Gawith Burridge

Gawith Burridge traces its history back to 1875 when Charles Gawith first set up his practice. Since then the firm has undergone many changes, including a merger between Gawith & Co and Burridge & Co in 1998 to form our current practice.

Our firm draws on the breadth of expertise available from some of the region’s most senior legal practitioners, as well as the skills of those who have moved here from larger corporate environments.

As a result, we provide clients with a comprehensive range of legal services right here in the Wairarapa. We can provide you with legal assistance whether you are an individual or a company, with everything from setting up a Will to selling your farming business. 

Region: Wairarapa

Phone: 06 370 0000

Gillespie Young Watson

We specialise in Property, Commercial and Trust Law. When it comes to law firm size we are bigger than smaller and smaller than big. By limiting the work we do to our specialist areas, we like to think we bring together the best of big firm skill sets with the personal care, attention and relationships of small firms.

We expect our clients to receive clear, practical and timely advice. We place a premium on accessibility and convenience to our clients. We value and appreciate all of our clients and want to do the best possible job for each of them. When we close a file we want the client to feel they have received exceptional advice, service and value.

Region: Wellington

Phone: 04 569 3997

Hannan & Seddon

The Law Firm of Hannan & Seddon dates back to September 1867.

The firm's offices were in Werita Street from 1867 until 1982 when the firm moved to Tarapuhi Street and then to its current spacious premises at 61 Guinness Street in 1998.

The name Hannan comes from Mr Michael Hannan whose son John Hannan (Jack) joined the firm in 1908. Jack Hannan remained in partnership until he passed away in 1974 at the age of 90!

The name Seddon comes from Mr T E Y Seddon (son of Premier Richard John Seddon from Kumara) who joined the firm in the 1920's. The other prominent Solicitor at Hannan & Seddon was Cyril McGinley who joined the firm in the late 1920’s and retired as a Consultant in 1997 aged 87.

Currently we have two Partners within our firm. Tony Sullivan who has been with us for 29 years and Colin Smith, 26 years. The firm also has two long serving Legal Executives Elaine Knowles and Beverley Walsh.  

Region: West Coast

Phone: 03 768 4169

All the information published on this website, or in any article herein is true and accurate to the best of the authors' knowledge. Information on this site should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by NZ LAW Limited, or individual NZ LAW member firms for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on information published on this site. Views expressed in any article are the views of the authors individually and do not necessarily reflect the view of NZ LAW or their member firms. Information appearing on this site may only be reproduced with prior approval from NZ LAW Limited Head Office, and credit being given to the source. © NZ LAW Limited