Helpful Tips

Smoke Alarm Compliance (Queensland)

Landlords are required by law to install and maintain smoke alarms in their rental properties. The minimum legal requirement (until 2022 when new legislation takes effect) is for all existing dwellings to have smoke alarm that comply with Australian Standards.

Compliance is important, so we engage a specialist Smoke Alarm Compliance provider to help ensure compliance, along with providing regular servicing for tenancies. The provider will visit the property to service the smoke alarms as many times in the year as required – be it a tenancy change, a fault, or a check-up.

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

We utilise the professional services of an external provider. This provides your home with unlimited inspections 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.

2022 Compliance Obligations

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.

We have been undertaking upgrade quoting for many months. Where you have already been provided a quote, we will resend it to you in the coming week. 

The smoke alarm industry has been starting to show signs of pressure as the deadline approaches. Many smoke alarm suppliers and manufacturers rely on global supply chains to manufacture and ship their products. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has slowed transportation and imposed domestic and international border restrictions, causing challenges with smoke alarm stock shortages across Queensland.

Of concern is the fact that only 55% of all Queensland rental properties have been upgraded. Therefore, as the deadline approaches, hundreds of thousands of property owners will be scrambling to have their properties upgraded.

The current industry average wait time for a 2022 upgrade is 4-6 weeks and the stock challenges may increase this timeframe.

‘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.