Something as easy to maintain as a smoke detector can sometimes be overlooked by landlords, despite how vitally important they are for the management of the property and ensuring the safety of the tenants. That’s why it’s so important to have them checked by a professional.
Many landlords may think that simply replacing the battery in the smoke alarm – usually leaving it up to the tenant – is enough.
However, that can be an attitude fraught with danger that can leave the landlord exposed.
In most states, the landlord’s responsibility lies with maintaining alarms, which will include replacing alarms and batteries.
For example, in Queensland, landlords are required to replace alarms before the end of their service life (usually 10 years under normal conditions of use). They are also required to test and clean alarms within the first 30 days of a tenancy beginning or renewing.
In fact, Queensland is tightening the legislation in this area, with new requirements commencing as of the 1st of January, 2017, for photoelectric, interconnected alarms to be installed in all bedrooms and hallways of a residence. Any property that has been significantly renovated or completed by that date will need to comply with the new laws.
Any smoke alarm being replaced after January 1, 2017 must also be a photoelectric alarm. Houses being leased or sold will have to comply within five years, and owner occupied properties will have 10 years to meet the new legislation.
No matter what state their property is in, it is best for landlords to engage a professional smoke alarm inspector to conduct an annual check-up to ensure the alarm is in working order.
Professional inspectors will test the smoke chamber to ensure it is operational, as well as replace the battery. They will also undertake a decibel test, button test, and replace any faulty parts. They will also ensure the alarm is in the correct position as per the building regulations. They will then issue a Compliance Certificate for the property
Engaging an inspector is only about $100 and is tax deductable. For peace of mind and ensuring their property is fully compliant, it’s well worth landlords making the call. Your Property Manager can arrange this on your behalf, and ensure that the property is compliant and meeting legislative guidelines.
Remember to speak to your property manager to ascertain the relevant information and compliance for your state.