Helpful Tips

Smoke Alarm Compliance (Queensland)

Landlords are required by law to install and maintain smoke alarms in their rental properties. Compliance is important part of providing an exceptional management service for your investment. 

Landlord / Owner Obligations

Their are obligations that apply to home owners and landlords under the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act (1990).

The law requires that within 30 days before the start of a tenancy (both for new tenants moving in, and lease renewals), the owner/landlord must test and clean each smoke alarm in the home. In the Act, this is noted in section 104RD (Testing smoke alarms); 104RE (Replacing the batteries); and 104RG (Cleaning smoke alarms).

We utilise the professional services of an external smoke alarm compliance provider. This approach provides for the cleaning, testing and replacement of batteries as required throughout the tenancy, and as required for each lease. It also provides the ability to check and inspect the alarms multiple times without callout fees often charged by electricians, should a fault occur.

Another aspect is that of home insurance. Ensuring compliance with the legislation allows an owner to comply with the requirements of legal liability under home insurance policies that often include requirements for smoke alarms to be working, tested and in good order.

Below is an example of smoke alarms being included in a common insurer’s policy Product Disclosure Statement and how it may impact upon the policy:

To ensure that your property remains compliant, we will enrol your property in an annual program to ensure that it is are maintained in line with relevant Queensland legislation.

This provides your home with unlimited inspections, cleaning and checks including for tenancy changes, lease renewals, faults or check-ups. They are a local provider and we choose to work with them because they provide great service that is timely and responsive.

For more information, please contact us to discuss.

New Alarms from 2022

Queensland Fire & Emergency Services – Smoke Alarm Requirements (external link)

Our owners will be aware of the 31st December 2021 deadline to have their rental properties compliant to new smoke alarm legislation. In fact, our proactive approach has resulted in most of the properties under our management already being compliant.

‘What happens if my smoke alarms are not upgraded by 1st January 2022?’

Once a lease agreement ends, you will not be permitted to enter into a fixed term lease unless your property is upgraded. This applies to lease renewals AND new tenancies.

Current tenancies will default into a periodic agreement with limited security for owners, as the tenant can leave at any time with 2 weeks’ notice.

If a tenancy ends, you will not be permitted to place new tenants until the property is upgraded. Obviously, the concern is a reduced rental income while your property sits vacant. As we expect smoke alarm installers to be booked to capacity next year, the potential for loss may become significant.

‘My tenants have just signed a 12-month lease so I can wait until then to upgrade.’

Unfortunately, we can never be 100% sure that a tenancy will run full term because a tenant can apply to end their agreement early (‘Break Lease’) at any time. If this happens from January and your property isn’t upgraded, it could be vacant for weeks while you wait for a contractor with sufficient time and stock to perform the upgrade.

We don’t want to see our owners caught in this situation.

For those who have been waiting for the right time to act – that time has come. Ensure your tenants are safe, your property is protected, and your rental income is secured. Consider and approve your upgrade now.