This week’s question comes from Zosie (paraphrased):
In answering Zosie’s question, we will be speaking specifically about residential tenancy setting aside any issues relating to building, consumer goods,
fire safety etc.
The Residential Tenancies Act requires that all rental properties be supplied with smoke alarms. ‘There must be at least one smoke alarm within 3 meters
of each bedroom door or every room where a person sleeps. In self-contained caravans, sleep outs or similar, there must be a minimum of one working
smoke alarm. In multi-storey or multi-level homes (including split levels) there must be at least one smoke alarm on each level or storey.’ If
the alarms are installed after 1 July 2016, they must be photoelectric smoke alarms with long-life batteries that last for more than 8 years. Hard-wired
alarms are also acceptable so long as the system has sensors in each bedroom or within 3 metres of each bedroom door and there must also be at
least one smoke alarm installed on each story or level. Though we are unfamiliar with the type of alarm Zosie refers to (smoke + security hybrid),
we assume that the requirements for these alarms in a rental property scenario would be the same.
Landlords must ensure that the alarms they supply at the start of the tenancy are in working order and remain in working order during the tenancy.
This means that the alarms should be checked/tested regularly. In terms of how often they should be checked, we recommend that you refer to the
manufacturer’s instructions in the first instance. Additionally, we also don’t think there is any harm to check the alarms each time you inspect
the property (the RTA allows you to inspect once every four weeks). Under the RTA, landlords can also enter the property between 8am and 7pm after
24 hours notice for the prupose of complying with smoke alarm requirements (installation, maintenance, repair). The Fire Service offers a helpful
guide on maintenance and inspection here. It is also worth mentioning
that each inspection should be properly documented so that you can clearly demonstrate compliance. APIA members can download this template smoke alarm log for this purpose. If the hybrid alarm is monitored, we also recommend getting a regular service log
from the monitoring company to demonstrate compliance.