Operation Magazine - Report into boarding house fire safety and landlord compliance

Last updated: 27 March 2024

Following the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, similar properties were inspected throughout New Zealand to identify and address any immediate fire safety concerns. The inspections will also be used to inform any future work to strengthen fire safety requirements in boarding houses.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) engaged with councils to identify buildings with a similar profile to that of Loafers Lodge. The characteristics identified for inclusion in the operation were that the buildings:

  • were a boarding house; and
  • had three storeys or more in height; and
  • had no sprinkler system.

Analysis of the data provided by councils resulted in a list of 40 buildings across 9 council areas to be inspected. The total of 40 was reduced to 37 buildings following an inspection refusal by three building owners (mainly due to having recently had an inspection by their council).

The buildings were spread across New Zealand. Almost two-thirds of the boarding houses were in three council areas: Auckland Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Wellington City Council. Other council areas with buildings in scope included Nelson, Lower Hutt, Christchurch, Whangarei, Invercargill, and Hamilton.

The report

A report on the findings from the 'Operation Magazine - Boarding House Fire Safety and Landlord Compliance' has been published.

Operation Magazine - Report into boarding house fire safety and landlord compliance [PDF 1MB]

Information for territorial authorities

MBIE will be publishing a document with a guide to territorial authorities to improve compliance in this area.

Requirements for building owners

Building owners play a key part in ensuring buildings are safe for building occupants. Building owners have strict requirements under the Building Act 2004 which must be adhered to. Where requirements are not met, building owners can face instant infringement fines or may be prosecuted.

Learn more about building owner roles and responsibilities.

Managing your BWoF (for buildings with specified systems)

Inspection and maintenance of specified systems

Building owners operating a boarding house also have landlord responsibilities and requirements they must meet under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and the Healthy Homes Standards Regulations 2019.

Boarding houses - tenancy.govt.nz 

Information and resources for boarding house landlords [PDF 1.5MB] - tenancy.govt.nz

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: