In most states across Australia, smoke alarms complying with Australian Standards must be fitted in all rental properties and in accordance with the Building Code of Australia.
If you’re a renter, or you own a rental property, read on to understand your obligations when it comes to smoke alarms.
What are the landlord’s responsibilities?
- Landlords have the right of access to rented premises to fit smoke alarms after giving the tenant at least two days notice.
- Landlords must give their tenants the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean, test and replace batteries for smoke alarms (in SA it is the landlord’s responsibility to clean, test and replace batteries unless otherwise stated in the Tenancy Agreement).
- Landlords are responsible for supplying the smoke alarm(s) and for their installation. You will also be required to install a new battery for each smoke alarm at the commencement of each new tenancy.
- The landlord is responsible for the replacement of batteries in ‘hard-wired’ smoke alarm systems that have battery back-up.
- At no time can the landlord remove or relocate the smoke alarm unless it is being replaced or maintained.
- At no time can the landlord do anything to interfere with the alarm’s warning sound.
- At no time can the landlord remove the batteries unless they are replacing them.
- The condition report section of the tenancy agreement must include a specific reference to smoke alarms so that tenants and landlords are able to note and comment on the presence of smoke alarms at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
What are the tenant’s responsibilities?
- Tenants are responsible for cleaning, testing and the replacement of batteries in battery powered smoke alarms (Except SA, Landlords are responsible unless otherwise stated in the Tenancy Agreement).
- At no time can a tenant remove or relocate the smoke alarm or do anything to interfere with the alarm’s warning sound.
- At no time can the tenant remove the batteries unless they are replacing them.
- If the tenant is physically unable to change the battery the tenant is required to notify the landlord as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the need for it to be replaced.
Better to be safe: When did you last check your smoke alarm?
What’s the law on smoke alarms in rental properties?
Smoke alarm laws differ from state to state in Australia. Here’s a summary of what to keep in mind, depending on where you live:
The smoke alarm law in the Northern Territory
Approved smoke alarms have to be installed in all residential premises or movable dwellings, including caravans. Home owners must also test each smoke alarm at least once every 12 months.
The smoke alarm law in Tasmania
Tenants must make sure the smoke alarm is functioning during the whole tenancy. They should let the owner know as soon as they discover that it is not working. The owner must then repair or replace the alarm as soon as possible.
The smoke alarm law in Western Australia
Smoke alarms must be positioned according to the requirements of the Building Code of Australia, be permanently connected to the consumer mains power where it is supplied in the building. If you’re planning to sell, rent or hire out your home, smoke alarms have to be in working order and less than 10 years old from the first date of installation.
The smoke alarm law in South Australia
All South Australian houses must be fitted with a working smoke alarm. Homeowners and residential landlords are responsible for making sure that a working smoke alarm is installed in the property. Fines will apply if smoke alarms aren’t installed.
The smoke alarm law in Queensland
All Queensland houses need to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms, in hallways that connect bedrooms with the rest of the dwelling and on every level.
- Click here for more information