As a landlord, ensuring you are meeting your duty of care to your tenants is vital. Maintaining working smoke alarms in your property is part of your duty of care, and can not only decrease the likelihood of property damage associated with fire, but can be life-saving in the case of a house fire at your property.
Queensland introduced new smoke alarm legislation in 2017 that governs existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as non-operating smoke alarms. These must be replaced with photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms complying with Australia Standards.
From 1st January next year , your property must meet new requirements as part of the legislation.
What are interconnected smoke alarms? To put it simply, when one smoke alarm in the property goes off, they all go off. Photoelectric is the type of sensor in the alarm which uses a light sensor affected by smoke.
All new properties should be up to date with photoelectric interconnected smoke alarms fitted as per requirement.
Any existing smoke alarm replaced after 1st January 2017 must have been replaced by a photoelectric-type alarm.
From 1st January 2022 they must be interconnected.
Working smoke alarms are both the responsibility of landlords and tenants. Landlords must ensure their property is fitted with correct and working smoke alarms, and tenants should be aware of the need for testing and cleaning alarms to keep them working correctly.
While your property manager will be on top of this, next time you are visiting your property, press the ‘test’ button on your smoke alarm to ensure it is working correctly.
If you are in any way unsure if your property’s smoke alarms have been upgraded to meet new Queensland requirements, speak to your property manager as soon as possible. There are certain requirements for where smoke alarms must be installed and this must be done by a licensed electrician.
For other states and territories:
WA: Mains powered smoke alarms have been mandatory since 1st October 1997. Interconnection to other alarms is required for homes approved for constructions after 1st May 2015; interconnection is not required for premises built before this date.
NSW and ACT: Since 1st May 2006, all homes (including caravans and moveable dwellings) have been required to have smoke alarm installed to every level.
VIC: All homes must have working smoke alarms on every level. Homes built before 1st August 1997 may have battery powered alarms, if built or majorly renovated after this date, they must be connected to mains supply. Homes constructed or renovated after 1st May 2014 are required to have interconnected alarms fitted.