January 1 2022 Deadline for new smoke alarm compliance edges closer

Deadline: 1st January 2022

The Rental Tenancies Authority (RTA) website summarises the requirements as follows :

Smoke alarms in all leased dwellings must:

  • be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • be less than 10 years old; and
  • operate when tested; and
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together; and
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:

  • in each bedroom; and
  • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
  • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

In addition to the above, property managers/owners are currently required to:

  • test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start of a tenancy
  • not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.

Tenants must:

  • test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months
  • replace any flat or nearly flat batteries
  • advise the property owner/manager if there is an issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)
  • allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms
  • not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint or cover it

Prices: Please ensure that your smoke alarm installer uses high-quality compliant alarms, check what brand they’re using, warranty, and make sure they meet the below requirements:

• be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and

• not also contain an ionisation sensor; and

• be less than 10 years old; and

• operate when tested; and

• be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together; and

• be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Warranty: Some brands offer 5 years warranty, some offer 7 years. Red Smoke Alarms brand offers 10 years warranty with remote control. Brooks Smoke Alarms are one of the leading brands in Australia and also have a product with a 10 year warranty.

Consequences:

If your rental property is not compliant by the deadline, the property cannot be leased, existing tenancies cannot be renewed and the property cannot be sold.

After the upgrade, smoke alarms still need to be serviced in rentals properties. As mentioned above they must be serviced within 30 days prior to a lease renewal or changeover.

Regardless of who you choose to complete the upgrade, your current smoke alarm contractor, or an electrician, we strongly recommend that you subscribe to an Annual Service Plan like most of our owners do so all the alarms are serviced and maintained as per legislative requirements.

Benefits:

1. Unlimited visits with compliance certificate = peace of mind

If anything happens to your rental properties. It’s really not worth the risk of voiding your house insurance.

2. Cost saving if you do short-term leases (3-6 months), or tenant breaks lease or there are false alarms.

3. We have several trusted smoke alarm contractors. We’re here to help you make your rental property compliant.

For more information: RTA offers a webinar on Smoke alarm laws: https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/news/2020/08/12/smoke-alarm-laws-what-you-need-to-know-in-queensland

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