Smoke Alarms: major changes are coming

Smoke Alarm Compliance

What are my current compliance obligations?

Landlords or agents must test and clean each smoke alarm within 30 days prior to each tenancy change or renewal. Each smoke alarm and battery must be replaced before the expiry date. The legislation prohibits the transfer of these responsibilities to the tenant.

What are the new rules coming into effect over the next 20 years?

New Queensland rules require interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms of the home and in hallways where bedrooms are connected.  There is a 10 year phased roll out of these rules.

From January 1, 2017 – new rules apply to substantial renovations or new builds;

From January 1, 2022 – new rules apply to new tenancies at existing residential properties.  **This is the important date for most lessors**

The new requirements will apply to existing residential properties where a contract of sale is entered into or a tenancy is entered into or renewed. These amendments also require that owners of residential properties, including landlords, replace smoke alarms under the amended requirements within 10 years after the manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested. Failure to comply may result in a fine of up to $609.50.

Landlords will need to budget for increased costs to make rental properties compliant over the next 5 years.  At present it is approximately $200 per alarm plus installation but costs may decrease closer to the 2022 compliance date.

From January 1, 2027 – new rules apply to all homes.

 

What other safety compliance areas must landlords be aware of?

  1. Safety Switch Legislation

All owners and landlords must have installed an approved safety switch to general purpose socket-outlet by the end of 29 February 2008.  If the obligation is not discharged the landlord is liable to a maximum penalty of up to $200,000 or 3 years imprisonment. If you do not implement a regular safety switch maintenance testing program to ensure that the device is actually working then you could be breaching your obligation under this Act.

  1. Corded Window Legislation

All leased premises, both residential and commercial, with any corded internal window coverings must have the cords fitted and approved safety devices and warning labels to prevent babies, toddlers and young children accidentally becoming entangled in the cords and suffering strangulation. Non-compliance carries fines of up to $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for companies, as well as the risk of compensation claims.

We use third party specialists, 1300compliance Services and Safety Watch Australia to manage lessor compliance with these strict safety rules.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 

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