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So, you're a landlord and you'd like to know what the new Residential Tenancy Act changes mean for you, your tenants and your investment.

Minimum Standards

On the 18th April 2016, cabinet agreed on the changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that came into effect from the 1st July 2016 and requires insulation and smoke alarms to be retrofitted to an estimated 180,000 homes across New Zealand before 1st July 2019.

  • Should insulation meet the 1978 standard then no further insulation is required.
  • Should insulation not meet the 1978 standard then the insulation must be bought up to the current standard (2008 amendment).
  • Where accessible, under floors and ceilings shall be insulated under and above all habitable space.
  • Wall insulation is not required to be retrofitted however needs to be assessed and stated on tenancy agreements.
  • A minimum of one working smoke alarm within three meters of each bedroom door. In a multilevel home a smoke alarm is required on each level.

From 1 July 2016

All rented homes where tenants receive an Income Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS), such as those provided by Community Housing Providers or Housing New Zealand, must meet the minimum insulation requirements. 

  • Any new insulation installed into rented homes (whether income-related or not) from this date must meet or exceed the higher requirements for newly installed insulation.
  • All landlords must declare the extent of insulation in their rental properties on new Tenancy Agreements from this date.
  • All rental properties must have smoke alarms.

From 1 July 2019

All other rented homes covered by the Residential Tenancy Act must also meet the insulation requirements.

  • Privately owned rented homes must have insulation which meets or exceeds the minimum requirements.

The 1978 standard for insulation

Table OneA5  Table OneB5

Insulation must be dry, in good condition and must be installed effectively in order for the existing insulation to meet the 1978 standard. Insulation must be installed to New Zealand Insulation Installation standard NZS4246 to ensure the insulation is effective and safe. 

The current building code standard (2008 amendment)

NISI R values Ceiling Underfloor table bigger2

New insulation can be added to existing insulation to meet the current building code standard. Where segments are installed, rather than a continuous product, allowance needs to be made for the uninsulated area above the ceiling joists. In the North Island this requires an R3.6 segment to be installed to give the same thermal performance as an R2.9 continuous blanket.

More information for landlords...

The following button is a link to a document written by Tenancy Services, which provides advice about how to assess “reasonable” condition for insulation installed in residential rental properties to comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986:

Insulation Requirements | Tenancy Services (PDF)

Smoke Alarms

EnergySmart supply and install high quality Quell Q1400 smoke alarms supplied directly by Chubb New Zealand that feature.

  • Sealed long life (10 year) battery
  • Photoelectric sensor
  • Simple to use Hush Button and test button
  • Meets AS3786:1993 standard

Certificate of Compliance and Warranty

On completion of the installation of insulation, EnergySmart shall produce a Certificate of Compliance and Warranty that shall contain the following:

  • Property address
  • Details of the products installed by EnergySmart and the warranty details of such products which shall include smoke alarms.
  • Warranty of EnergySmart’s workmanship in meeting installing standard NZ 4246
  • Compliance to the Minimum Standard legislative requirements
  • Date of installation and assessment

EnergySmart shall retain a copy of the Certificate of Compliance and Warranty within our database for prompt retrieval and duplication should the need arise. Any tenant dispute whether or not the property meets the minimum standard would be between the tenant and EnergySmart. EnergySmart employ only qualified and professional staff. We have a $5,000,000 liability insurance policy; all our vehicles are insured in the unlikely event something goes seriously wrong.


EnergySmart is one of the largest installing businesses in the country. The government estimates 180,000 rental properties across the country require insulation before 2019. At the height of the government subsidised insulation programme in 2011 the industry installed around 60,000 houses per year. It took three years to build the installing capacity to this level and at times there were material shortages.

The basic laws of economics would suggest it is going to get more expensive for landlords to insulate their properties the closer they leave it to June 2019.

Our recommendation is to take advantage of EnergySmart’s current rental property offers and make the decision to have your home insulated through EnergySmart today.

Funding & Offers

If your tenants meet the criteria of the new EECA Healthy Homes Programme, aimed exclusively at Landlords with low income tenants, you can get a 50% government subsidy to insulate the ceiling and underfloor. If your rental property qualifies for a government subsidy and your property requires insulation, you really should call us without delay as subsidies are subject to availability and are only offered through a select few service providers.

To meet the criteria tenants must hold a Community Services Card (CSC) or Super Gold Card with CSC endorsement.

If your tenants do not meet this criteria, it's not bad news – EnergySmart are offering you hefty discounts on insulation packages*.

*Applies to Pink Batts ceiling insulation and Terra Lana underfloor insulation only.

​We are offering a 30% discount on selected ceiling and underfloor products.

​Your Tenants

Are happier, healthier and (through savings on energy bills) financially better off having an insulated home. While tenants may request you insulate the property, with EnergySmart they don't have to be involved (other than to supply any proof of eligibility) – we can look after the rest and deal directly with you, the landlord.

Your Investment

Having your rental property fully and properly insulated will add both to its capital value and the rental value in the future. Particularly as, with this scheme the property will be insulated according to government standard.

In addition a well insulated house will stay warmer and dryer, which means it will be less prone to deterioration from rot, mould, mildew, and damp.

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