17 Jan 2016

Renters beware: fake ad designed to shock

3:51 pm on 17 January 2016

The Fire Service is using pretend online advertisements for rental properties to push its message about the importance of smoke alarms.

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Photo: TradeMe screenshot

Over the weekend, an ad was posted for a Wellington rental that offered remnants of a washing machine and fridge - but no smoke alarm- accompanied by a picture of a burnt-out house.

"Commanding villa with heaps of space," the ad said. "Perfect for a group of students.

"The only regret the previous tenants had is that they never checked to see if the smoke alarms were working."

Fire Service external communications manager Caroline Rosenowski said the service was trying different ways to grab the attention of returning students and young families.

Miss Rosenowski said it was clear to readers that the ads were not real. The Fire Service had owners' approval to base the mock ads on their properties - which were not for rent.

She said 50 percent of fires attended by the Fire Service were in rental properties and 90 percent of fatal fires occurred in rental properties.

"So that's a disproportionate amount compared with the housing stock out there."

The Fire Service was pushing for students and young families to make sure smoke alarms with long life batteries were installed.

The ad urged tenants to ensure landlords had installed alarms. "Working smoke alarms are your only voice," it said.