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.
From the 1st July 2007, changes were applied to the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, stating that every smoke alarm in a Queensland rental property requires ongoing maintenance. Under this legislation, Landlords or agents must test and clean each smoke alarm within 30 days prior to each tenancy change or renewal. Not only this, but each smoke alarm and battery must be replaced before the expiry date. The legislation prohibits the transfer of these responsibilities to the tenant.
The Queensland Government has now passed the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 on 1st September 2016 making it the toughest smoke alarm legislation in Australia.
The Queensland smoke alarm law will be rolled out over the next 10 years as follows:
- By January 1, 2017: All new dwellings or substantially renovated properties
- By January 1, 2022: All dwellings sold or leased; all Government-owned housing
- By January 1, 2027: All domestic dwelling
From January 1, 2017
These new provisions will apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation that account for more than half of the volume of the existing building or structure. From 1 January 2017, a photoelectric alarm will need to be installed whenever a smoke alarm is replaced or a new one installed.
From January 1, 2022
These new requirements will apply to existing residential properties where a contract of sale is entered into or a tenancy is entered into or renewed. These amendments also require that owners of residential properties, including landlords, replace smoke alarms under the amended requirements within 10 years after the manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested. Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to $609.50.
From January 1, 2027
All other homes will be required to be in compliance with these new requirements within 10 years of commencement.
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 18.104.22.168. This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia.Qld Fire and Emergency Services Legislation
Changes to Smoke Alarm Legislation
Safety Switch Legislation
The Electrical Safety Regulations 2002 (Qld) requires all owners and landlords to install an approved safety switch to general purpose socket-outlet by the end of 29 February 2008. The Electrical Safety Act 2002 (Qld) places an obligation, which must be discharged, on landlords to ensure that electrical equipment (including a safety switch) is electrically safe.
If the obligation is not discharged the landlord is liable to a maximum penalty of up to $200,000 or 3 years imprisonment. If you do not implement a regular safety switch maintenance testing program to ensure that the device is actually working then you could be breaching your obligation under this Act.Safety Switch Compliance
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.Corded Window Compliance