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Who is responsible for smoke alarms?

Landlords, it is your responsibility under the Residential Tenancy Act to ensure that you meet  the smoke alarms legislation and that a fully functional smoke alarm is installed on every level in the premises, at the commencement of each tenancy. This includes new tenancies and tenancy renewals.

You need to ensure, on levels where bedrooms are located, that a smoke alarm is installed in every corridor where a bedroom is situated on either the ceiling or near.  On levels where no bedrooms are located, a smoke alarm must be installed in the path of travel that a person would take to evacuate the building.

Therefore landlords, it’s time to ensure a smoke alarm is installed on every level of your investment and to ensure that the said smoke alarm is fully operational now.  You have the right to access your investment premises to fit and maintain smoke alarms after giving your tenant 2 days written notice. And remember under the Residential Tenancy Act you are not able to remove or interfere with the operation of any smoke alarm installed within the premises, except with reasonable excuse, so only touch your smoke alarm if you have to change the batteries, check that its working or replace it immediately it is not.

At House & Home Real Estate we advise landlords to agree to a smoke alarm maintenance plan with Smoke Alarms Australia or one of the local fire protection companies in your area. By doing this the professional smoke alarm maintenance company are able to competently test and ensure each smoke alarm is fully operational   and that it complies with Smoke Alarm legislation every 12 months or at the beginning of each tenancy. And as part of this service they should also change the battery, replace any faulty smoke alarms if required and then provide to you a compliance certificate.

It is advised that you get a professional company to undertake the maintenance of smoke alarms within your investment property, as they are able to ensure that the smoke alarms installed will actually work in a fire and that they are positioned correctly to meet legislation and the building code. They will also supply you with a compliance certificate which will help you if it ever comes to an insurance claim related to fire.

It is also important to also ensure as a landlord that you use an agent who at the pre-tenancy / ingoing property inspection ensures and signs off that all smoke alarms are tested and are working.

Tenants, it is your responsibility to maintain smoke alarms in the premises during your tenancy and to ensure that they are working during this time.  You will also if needed replace the battery. It is also your responsibility under the Residential Tenancy Act to ensure you, other persons staying within the premises, or visitors do not remove or interfere with the smoke alarms at the property, except with reasonable excuse.  NSW Fire and Rescue provides a smoke alarm and battery replacement service for people over the age of 65 or people who are disabled and who have no one to assist them, by contacting your local fire station who should be able to assist you with this.

So ensure you are smoke alarm compliant now, as time you waste could be a risk not only to your property but to you, your tenants and your hip pocket.

For more information on becoming compliant contact Liz today at House & Home Real Estate on 0488 104 645.

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