New fire alarm legislation – what does it mean for tenants, landlords and homeowners?

The Queensland Government has approved the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016 (which you can read here), which relates to how Smoke Alarms are fitted and distributed around new and existing properties.

This legislation will come into effect from 31st December 2016, and will be gradually phased in over the next ten years. But what do you as a homeowner or landlord need to do to become compliant?

What type of alarms should be installed?

The Coroner ruled that these smoke alarms should be interconnected and be hard-wired in new residences, or alternatively powered by a 10 year lithium battery in existing residences.

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Bill 2016 requires that smoke alarms comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014.

Where should Smoke Alarms be located?

The State Coroner advised that photoelectric Smoke Alarms should be installed in every bedroom, between areas containing bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling, in any hallway servicing bedrooms, and in any other story of a domestic dwelling.

This means that smoke alarms should be installed in locations as stated in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 for existing buildings, and the Building Regulation 2006 for new buildings.

How does this affect existing properties?

The Act will only initially apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 or in any property that will undergo a substantial renovation.

So any new, or substantially renovated homes will need to be compliant with the new smoke alarm provisions as of 1st January 2017.

I’m a Landlord – what do I need to do?

The Act states that these requirements will apply to every existing property where a Contract of Sale is entered into or a Tenancy is either entered into or renewed by 31 December 2021.

So within the next five years, Landlords must ensure that all properties that are being rented will need to adhere to the specifications outlined in the Act.

Additionally, any owners of existing properties – including Landlords – will need to replace smoke alarms under these new requirements within 10 years of the manufacture date of the existing smoke alarms or whenever they fail any routine checks.

How can Clark Real Estate Help?

Ellen Sifonios, Clark Real Estate’s Operations Manager says, “As all Clark Real Estate managed properties are covered by a flat annual rate, no matter how many smoke alarms are in a property or what the legislation is, our contractors will ensure that all smoke alarms are compliant under the current Bill. This ensures that the owner is fully covered by insurance in the event of any claims.

“If any property owner is looking to sell or renovate Clark Real Estate can help through our trusted smoke alarm contractors. Owners who service their own smoke alarms however might have slightly more to do than before in order to ensure your alarms are compliant, however as you’re one of our clients, we will look after you and you don’t have anything to worry about.”

If you are a Landlord and need any assistance with these changes, why not contact our property management team to see if they can be of any assistance?