Does your Investment Property comply with New Smoke Alarm Laws?

 

New smoke alarm legislation was introduced in Queensland in January 2017. Does your investment property comply? The following update has been prepared by Brisbane Buyers Agency, Your Property Hound .

 

Landlords are currently required to meet the following obligations:

  • To replace smoke alarms that do not operate
  • To replace smoke alarms at least once every 10 years
  • When smoke alarms are replaced, the new alarms must be photoelectric and compliant with the Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
  • Alarms must be tested, cleaned, and batteries replaced within 30 days prior to the start or renewal of a tenancy.
  • Landlords and tenants must not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or tamper in any way with the alarm.

If smoke alarms are currently installed at a property, in working order, and less than 10 years old, they still comply with the new legislation.

 

New smoke alarm regulations – An Overview

The new laws will come into effect over the next 10 years according to the following timeline:

  • 1 January 2017: new rules apply to all new (or substantially renovated) dwellings.
  • 1 January 2022: new rules apply to all domestic dwellings leased and sold.
  • 1 January 2027: new rules apply to all domestic dwellings

 

 

Type of Smoke Alarm

  • New smoke alarms are to be photoelectric and compliant with Australian Standard (AS) 3786 2014. Photoelectric alarms tend to detect smoke earlier and are more effective in a wider range of fires. Photoelectric alarms are also less likely to be triggered by normal cooking or steam from bathrooms.
  • New smoke alarms mist not contain an ionization sensor.
  • New smoke alarms must replaced at least every 10 years.

Location of Smoke Alarms

Install smoke alarms:

  • In EVERY bedroom
  • In hallways that connect bedrooms with the rest of the dwelling (or if no hallway exists, between bedrooms and other parts of the storey).
  • If there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm is to be installed (and located in the most likely path used to exit the dwelling).

 

Installation of Smoke Alarms

  • Alarms are to be hard-wired to a 240v power supply, or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
  • All smoke alarms within a dwelling must be interconnected so that they all activate at the same time in case of a fire.

 

How to make sure that Investors Comply with new Legislation

Your Property Hound Buyers Agents recommend that investors employ the services of an alarm maintenance provider to conduct annual smoke alarm testing and ensure compliance with current legislation.  Investors should ensure that the providers have adequate liability insurance, to help mitigate an investor’s risk associated with non-compliance, dismissal of insurance claims, personal injury or death.

Annual smoke alarm maintenance should involve the following:

  • surveying the quantity and location of smoke alarms
  • ensuring alarms are fitted securely
  • cleaning all alarms
  • replacing batteries in all alarms with removable batteries
  • testing all alarms
  • verifying expiry dates on all alarms
  • checking all alarms for audible notification and visual indicators
  • verifying that all alarms meet current Australian Standards
  • replacing faulty or expired alarms
  • relocating any alarms to make property compliant
  • supplying the owner/property manager with a Certificate of Compliance

 

Useful resources

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have compiled a useful information sheet (click here) specifying the requirements and introduction dates of the new legislation.

The Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA) website is another valuable source of information for investors. (click here)

Click here for other useful articles relating to Property Investment in Queensland.