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Collection: Smoke Alarm Legislation for Victoria


If you are a residential landlord, leasing properties to tenants in Victoria, you are directly affected by The Victorian State Government changes to the Residential Tenancy Regulations (Vic), due to come into effect on 29 March 2021.

Here, we specifically talk about the smoke alarm legislation and how these changes impact you as a landlord or property manager.

The Victorian Building Regulations 2018 requires smoke alarms to be installed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Importantly:

  • Smoke alarms are compulsory and must be installed in residential buildings on or near the ceiling of every storey.
  • Smoke alarms need to be located in a position designed to wake sleeping occupants of a building and give them time and safe passage to evacuate the building.*
  • Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms and are also required to maintain the rented premises in good repair under the Residential Tenancies Act.

While this information outlines the legal requirements, the CFA Victoria recommends that smoke alarms should be interconnected, even in existing homes. Read our article on What are Interconnected Smoke Alarms and Why are they Important?

* Although it’s not a legal requirement to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, recent research has shown that when a fire starts in a bedroom with the door closed, the smoke alarms in the hallway do not activate. Even with the bedroom door open, the hallway smoke alarm may not activate in time to allow people in the bedrooms to get out. It makes sense, therefore, that smoke alarms should be installed inside bedrooms.

This is why CFA now recommends smoke alarms inside all bedrooms as well as in the hallway.

The increased use of plastic products, synthetic materials and devices in our home these days mean that fire could start anywhere in our living areas and bedrooms. Whereas 30 or 40 years ago, you may have had 10-15 minutes to escape, these days you may only have less than three minutes for everyone to wake up and get out of the house.

New Homes:

Victoria law now states that any new home, or home undergoing significant renovation, requiring multiple smoke alarms must use interconnected smoke alarms.

Interconnected smoke alarms can be:

  • hard-wired (which should be installed by an electrician), or
  • wireless interconnected smoke alarms powered by a ten-year lithium battery (which can be easily installed without requiring an electrician).


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