Smoke Alarm requirements in QLD: Everything A Renter Should Know

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What is the legislation for smoke alarms in Queensland?

Queensland is on its way to having the safest households across Australia, with the new smoke alarm legislation’s second phase of regulations kicking off in January 2022. The new legislation cited as the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) spells out the smoke alarm requirements in QLD that started January 2017. The goal is to help improve fire safety, and ultimately save lives by requiring all of Queensland to install and maintain interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in rental properties and home dwellings. 

The QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation 10-year rollout plan is divided into 3 phases:

  • Starting January 2017, all the requirements are mandatory for all new and substantially renovated dwellings.
  • By January 2022, for all domestic dwellings leased and sold
  • And by January 2027, for all other domestic dwellings

With only a few months left before the second phase of the legislation rolling out, is your property ready? Start prepping up now!

What do I have to do as a property owner/renter?

As a property owner, renter, or manager, you must be aware of your obligations and comply with all the health and safety requirements ordered by laws in the state of Queensland.

The smoke alarm legislation explicitly states the type of smoke alarm you have to install, how to maintain them and where they should be installed. Get in touch with your electrician on the Sunshine Coast to help you comply with the new smoke alarm requirements in QLD

In addition to the installation requirements, all property owners and managers are also required to:

  • Test and clean each smoke alarm 30 days before the start of each lease and replace their battery if they are flat or almost flat
  • Replace smoke alarms after 10 years since their manufacturing date
  • Replace smoke alarms if they stop working during a tenancy
  • Not do anything that will reduce the effectiveness of the alarm, such as painting it
  • Never remove a smoke alarm or battery unless they’re replacing it

When a property is sold, the vendor must submit a form Queensland Land Registry stating if the property has compliant smoke alarms and that the purchaser is aware of the fact. 

Smoke Alarm Requirements in QLD for all dwellings

What kind of smoke alarms do I need?

You are required to install photoelectric smoke alarms in your rental properties and home dwellings. These alarms should comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014.  The photoelectric alarms use light to detect fire. They are known to be much faster at detecting the earliest signs of fire. 

The alarms should also:

  • not contain an ionisation sensor (a type of smoke alarm that detects more rapid flame fires)
  • Be less than 10 years old

Be interconnected with all the smoke alarms in your property, so they all activate together when one alarm sounds, alerting all the people in the dwelling.

Smoke Alarm requirements in Queensland
Photo taken from the Residential Tenancies Authority website.

Do smoke alarms need to be hard wired in Qld?

All the smoke alarms in your property MUST-BE HARDWIRED or powered by a 10-year non-removable battery or a combination of both.

How many smoke detectors do you need in a house in QLD?

The number of required smoke detectors or smoke alarms in rental properties depends on its number of rooms, hallways, and storeys. Talk to your local Sunshine Coast electrician to get a quote on how many smoke alarms you need for your property and to comply with the safety standards required by law.

Where should I install the smoke alarms?

According to the new legislation, smoke alarms must be installed:

  • in each storey of your rental property, whether they have bedrooms or not
  • in each room of your property, whether they’re a bedroom, study room, office, or playroom
  • in each hallway that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey
  • and if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

The smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling of each room. However, they should not be placed:

  • within 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall;
  • within 300mm of a light fitting;
  • within 400mm of an air-conditioning vent;
  • within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan. 

Stairwells, sloped ceilings and ceilings with exposed beams have specific special requirements when installing smoke alarms. These are all explained in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

What maintenance is required for smoke alarms?

The maintenance of the smoke alarms is the responsibility of both the tenant and the landlord. Inform your tenant of what is required of them to help with the maintenance of the smoke alarm

It is your tenant’s responsibility to do the following:

  • Test the alarm by pressing the test button at least once every 12 months. 
  • Clean the smoke alarms using a vacuum or a soft brush once a month
  • Make sure that the batteries are working and replace flat or almost flat batteries. The smoke alarms usually make a ‘chirping’ sound when they’re almost flat.
  • Inform you, the landlord, if there are any issues with any of the smoke alarms other than battery problems
  • Give the property owner rights to enter the property when installing or replacing smoke alarms.
  • Never tamper with the smoke alarms nor their batteries other than to replace them.

There is so much to consider when complying with the new smoke alarm requirements in QLD. It’s best to find a trusted expert to help you make sure that your property, business, and assets are protected. 

Riley Hurlock - Walt Electrical Sunshine Coast

Contact Walt Electrical for Sunshine Coast smoke alarm services that will help you meet all the standard fire safety requirements for your rental properties. Talk to our electrical expert for more information on the smoke alarm requirements in Qld.

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