An Auckland boarding house operator has been fined $1,500 after a box of unused smoke alarms was found after a fire.
The Tenancy Tribunal ruled that the landlord, Silvija Sumich, failed to meet mandatory smoke alarm requirements. She has been banned from committing further breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act, which would result in charges being laid in the District Court.
The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) brough the case to the tribunal after a member of the public complained that the boarding house didn't have smoke alarms.
Following the complaint, TCIT sought confirmation from Sumich that smoke alarms had been installed. In October 2016 she produced a receipt with proof of purchase for 20 alarms but said they were scheduled to be installed the following week
A fire broke out at the property in January this year requiring the Fire Service to attend. The Fire Service found that there were no correctly installed smoke alarms in the property and discovered a box of new smoke alarms under the patio.
Sumich said she had given the alarms to her father to install but did not check if the job had been done.
"It is unacceptable this landlord failed to meet her obligations," said national manager of tenancy compliance and investigation Steve Watson.
"Ms Sumich, and in fact every landlord in New Zealand, has a legal and moral obligation to comply with tenancy laws, which are designed to save lives."
"Landlords are running a business, and have a responsibility to ensure their property meets all requirements under the RTA. This includes installing smoke alarms, having insulation statements for new tenancy agreements and installing insulation by July 2019," Watson said.