Under the proposed new Bill it will be the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the rental property has working smoke alarms while the onus is on the tenant to change the alarm batteries and to notify the landlord of any faulty alarms.
The proposed Bill would also require underfloor and ceiling insulation in residential rental properties. This requirement differs depending on whether the tenancy is income-related i.e where the rent is based on the tenant’s income under the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992 but excludes boarding houses. For these income-related tenancies, insulation is required from 1 July 2016, while for other rental properties it is required from 1 July 2019.
The landlord is also legally required to detail information about the insulation of the property in the tenancy agreement.
The process for a landlord to “reclaim” an “abandoned” rental property will also change. This arises where a tenant is in arrears and has left the property with no intention of returning to it.
Currently cases where an application has been filed with the Tenancy Tribunal can take up to six weeks. The Bill proposes a process which will take ten working days.
The Bill will also allow the landlord to enter the rental premises where the rent is at least 14 days in arrears and where the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned the property. The landlord also would be permitted to enter the property to confirm abandonment if notice has been given to the tenant no less than 24 hours before entry.
This is good news for landlords who will be able to get their property re-tenanted more quickly than before.