Smoke Alarms - What you need to know

If you are a tenant, you must not damage, remove, or disconnect a smoke alarm, and should replace worn out batteries during the tenancy if this is possible, such as when the qualifying smoke alarm is not a sealed unit, and let the landlord know if there are any problems with the smoke alarms as soon as possible.

If tenants do not meet their obligations, they could face financial penalties of up to $4,000. Property managers are surprised when tenants remove a smoke alarm, as it is in the tenants’ best interests to be protected by working smoke alarms, but it does happen.

Harcourts has adopted a zero tolerance to any interference with smoke alarms and we take our responsibility under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 very seriously. The tenant has a responsibility not to do anything that could interfere with smoke alarms or the means of escape from fire, so if you do experience problems with your smoke alarms, speak to your property manager about your concerns.

Working smoke alarms or detectors are compulsory in all rental homes. New smoke alarms must be photoelectric and have a long battery life or be hard-wired.
Smoke alarms must be installed:

• Within 3 metres of each bedroom door, or in every room where a person sleeps
• In each level or storey of a multistorey or multi-level home
• In all rental homes, boarding houses, rental caravans, and selfcontained sleep-outs.

All new smoke alarms must:

• Be photoelectric
• Have a battery life of at least eight years, or be hard-wired
• Installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions
• Meet international standards.

Existing smoke alarms do not need to be replaced if they are working and have not passed the expiry date.
If a tenant has been excessively acquiring items for which there is no space, this may result in items blocking exits and prevent rooms from being used for their intended purpose. This is a breach of the tenants’ responsibilities, being interfering with means of escape from fire; failure to keep the premises reasonably clean and tidy which can result in a health hazard; and without adequate ventilation when storing the items, this can result in damage to a property.