We regularly hear the reminders to change the batteries in our smoke alarms, but how many of us really know the laws around it? As a home owner (or multiple home owner if you’re an investor), you need to be aware that legislation is in place to make domestic smoke alarms compulsory for all residential buildings.
Smoke Alarm Types
The type of smoke alarm you require depends on when you purchased your home or the age of your home;
- For homes or residential rental properties that are purchased before 1 February 1998 you are required to fit a replaceable battery powered smoke alarm.
- For homes or residential rental properties purchased on or after 1 February 1998, regulation 76B requires a smoke alarm (or smoke alarms) to be fitted within six months from the day on which the title is transferred and be either a 240 volt, mains-powered smoke alarm or a 10-year life, non-replaceable, non-removable, permanently connected battery powered smoke alarm.
- For homes or residential rental properties built on or after 1 January 1995 the Building Code of Australia requires a 240 volt, mains powered smoke alarm.
- Smoke alarm maintenance is governed by both State and Federal legislation and any person who does not comply with the relevant legislation is guilty of an offence.
- Landlords who fail to take every practical step to ensure the safety of their tenants can face a multitude of unpleasant and unwanted consequences that, with the right guidance, can be easily avoided.
South Australian State Legislation
The Development Act 1993 requires smoke alarms must be installed on every storey, they must be located between each part of the dwelling containing bedrooms and the remainder of the dwelling. Smoke alarms must also be installed in any hallway leading to the bedrooms.
Landlords must comply with smoke alarm legislation in all residential rental properties including detached houses, villa units, sole occupancy units, guest houses and hostels.
Landlords must ensure that their rental property is properly fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms, complying with the Australian Standard (3786:2015), and that they are installed as outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) part 188.8.131.52. This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia.
When selling a home, you will be asked as a part of the legal documentation if you have a compliant smoke alarm, so it pays to understand what that is.
At Smith Partners Real Estate, we ask that a hard-wired alarm be fitted to all rental properties; due to the high chance of a tenant tampering with a removable battery powered alarm (9-volt battery powered alarms). In the case where a hard-wired smoke alarm cannot be fitted, then it is recommended that a 10-year lithium battery operated alarm be installed. This type of alarm is easily fitted, like a 9-volt type alarm, but the 10-year lithium alarm has a battery sealed inside that cannot be removed.
We regularly offer to all our Landlord’s to have a professional service check the smoke alarms and install new ones as required.
If anything you’ve read is of concern to you, or to learn more, call Smith Partners Real Estate on (08) 8251 3249 to have a chat with one of our friendly staff.