Smoke alarm maintenance is governed by both State and Federal legislation and any person who does not comply with the relevant legislation is guilty of an offence.
Landlords who fail to take every practical step to ensure the safety of their tenants can face a multitude of unpleasant and unwanted consequences that, with the right guidance, can be easily avoided. As a Property Manager, Landlords entrust you with one of their greatest investments, which is a sizeable responsibility to shoulder. Here at 1300 Smoke Alarms, we aim to ease the burden in ensuring that your properties are compliant.
Smoke Alarm Legislation
To enhance safety and minimise loss-of-life in building fires, the NSW Parliament enacted the Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2006. Smoke alarms in buildings providing sleeping accommodation requires: (a) Installation of one or more smoke alarms in buildings in which persons sleep. (b) The maintenance of smoke alarms installed in such buildings. (c) Prohibiting persons from removing or interfering with the operation of smoke alarms installed in such buildings.
The Legislation refers to residential accommodation across NSW and requires under Division 186B that a smoke alarm ‘must be functioning’ and must comply with the requirements of Australian Standard 3786:2015 specifications and must be Scientific Services Laboratory (SSL) listed. SSL is part of the Federal Government Analytical Laboratories. The landlord is responsible to ensure that smoke alarms are installed and maintained in the residential premises in accordance with section 146A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Landlords must ensure that their rental property is properly fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms, complying with the Australian Standard (3786:2015), and that they are installed as outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) part 126.96.36.199. This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia.
Safety Switch Compliance
Safety switches are an insurance against electric shock and are designed to prevent injury or death. They monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and automatically shut off the electricity supply when current is detected leaking through faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances.
A safety switch will turn off the power in a fraction of a second if a leakage of current to "earth" is detected. This can happen if there is a faulty power point or electrical appliance or you accidentally hit a live cable, but there may be instances where it doesn't operate if a person is not earthed. To ensure a safety switch continues to work correctly, you should test your safety switch regularily. It cannot protect you if it is not working properly.
Regular testing is the only way to ensure that it continues to work. If you do not implement a regular safety switch (RCD) maintenance testing program you could be breaching your duty of care obligations.
Corded Window Legislation
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recognised that blinds, curtains and any other window coverings with cords used to open, close, raise or lower them represented a strangulation hazard for children. From July 1, 2-11 owner landlords were orded to comply with the Trade Practices Mandatory Safety Standards as part of the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard – Corded Internal Window Coverings) Regulations 2010.
All leased premises, both residential and commercial, with any corded internal window coverings must have the cords fitted and approved safety devices and warning labels to prevent babies, toddlers and young children accidentally becoming entangled in the cords and suffering strangulation. Non-compliance carries fines of up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for companies, as well as the risk of compensation claims.
Even if your corded internal window coverings were installed prior to July 1, 2011, landlords in all states of Australia have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their tenants as well as anyone the tenant invites into the property. Insurers may not pay if the owner has been advised of safety issues and elects not to deal with the problem.Corded Window Compliance