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A Guide To Smoke Alarms For Landlords

Whether your tenants have informed you that the smoke alarm isn’t working or you are expecting new tenants to move into the property you manage, the smoke alarm is the landlord’s responsibility in Australia. Depending on the state in which you live, the smoke alarm regulations for landlords differ slightly, and it’s important to know what is expected of you to keep your tenants safe and abide by the law.

To ensure you meet the landlord fire alarm requirements, we have put together a useful guide to help you decipher whether the responsibility of the smoke alarm is the tenant’s or landlord’s, so you can meet Australian regulations.

Landlord smoke alarms

  • New South WalesNSW legislation mandates that the fire alarm is the landlord's responsibility. Landlords are required by law to ensure the residence meets the minimal requirements of having at least one working smoke alarm installed on every property level. After the tenancy begins, the tenant is responsible for replacing the battery, if needed, in battery-operated smoke alarms. Hard-wired smoke alarm back-up batteries are to be replaced by the landlord.
  • Victoria — According to the Residential Tenancy Regulations in Victoria, landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms and are also required to maintain the rented premises in good repair. Homes constructed before 1 August 1997 need only standalone, battery powered smoke alarms. Homes constructed after 1 August 1997 must have smoke alarms connected to 240 volt mains power. These smoke alarms must also have a backup battery installed in the smoke alarm in case there is a loss of power.
  • Australian Capital Territory — It is the responsibility of the tenants to test and replace smoke alarm batteries as required. However, rental property owners are required to ensure their smoke alarms comply with the legislation.
    ACT Fire and Rescue recommend hardwired, interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. An alarm must be installed in each storey of the building. On storeys with bedrooms, the alarm is to be located between the bedroom and the remainder of the building.
  • Northern Territory — If you are selling or leasing your property, you must install an approved photoelectric smoke alarm. However, it is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the fire alarms in good working order. A property manager, landlord or another nominated person may act on behalf of an owner to maintain, test or replace fire alarms.
  • Tasmania — Ensuring the smoke alarm is compliant at all times is the shared responsibility of the tenants and the landlord. The owner or landlord is responsible for cleaning, testing, and operating the smoke alarm before each new rental property occupancy. From 1 May 2016 ALL smoke alarms in rental properties are required by law to be either mains powered or have a 10 year non-removable battery. Generally, in a rental property a smoke alarm must be installed in every hallway near a bedroom and on each level of a multi-storey home. These are minimum requirements and owners are encouraged to install additional smoke alarms to increase the level of early warning for tenants in the event of a fire.
  • South Australia - In a rental property, it is the responsibility of the building owner or landlord to install and maintain working smoke alarms. The rules change depending when the property was built or purchased: Homes or residential rental properties purchased before 1 February 1998: Landlords are required to fit a replaceable battery powered smoke alarm. Homes or residential rental properties purchased on or after 1 February 1998: smoke alarms are to be fitted within six months from the day on which title is transferred and be either:
  •     a 240 volt, mains-powered smoke alarm
  •     a 10-year life, non-replaceable, non-removable, permanently connected battery powered smoke alarm. Homes or residential rental properties built on or after 1 January 1995: The Building Code of Australia requires a 240 volt, mains powered smoke alarm. New dwellings and new additions or extensions to existing dwellings: require interconnecting smoke alarms.

Your trusted and certified smoke alarm providers

If you are still unclear about whether the smoke alarm is the tenant or landlord’s responsibility, Evadare Smoke Alarms is here to answer any of your questions. From information about the smoke alarm regulations for commercial buildings to helping landlord’s find compliant smoke alarms for their properties, a trustworthy sparkie to install it or a landlord smoke alarm checklist — we’re here to help. 

Shop for our range of smoke alarms online today and enjoy free delivery across Australia. If you have any questions or enquiries, feel free to reach out to our team today.

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