What do you know about smoke alarm testing in rental properties? Unless you’re up with the latest information it might be worth a quick read of this article. This will help you to be sure you know what to do in your particular situation. Property owners, landlords and property managers and tenants have individual responsibilities they have to keep track of and carry out.
2022 smoke alarm testing in rental properties requirements
As of New Year’s Day this year, requirements around smoke alarms in rental properties have changed for the better. However regarding testing, not a lot has changed. Here are the requirements for each party to take note of.
Tenants are required to:
- At least once every 12 months the tenant should test and clean each smoke alarm. Cleaning can be done by vacuuming or dusting.
- Batteries that are flat or even nearly flat should be replaced. To be safe it makes sense to just replace them on a regular schedule. A schedule should be a minimum of every 12 months.
- If any issues are noticed with the rental property smoke alarm it should be reported to the property manager or property owner. This doesn’t apply to batteries. Batteries should be simply replaced- there’s no need to bother anyone else about that! Note that this may require access to a ladder so perhaps think about this in advance.
- It’s also a requirement that the property owner or property manager is allowed entry to the property to install smoke alarms. This is obviously in the tenant’s best interest so shouldn’t cause a problem.
- It’s really important that no actions are carried out to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm. For example don’t ever paint it or cover it or take the battery out (other than to replace it). Similarly, never remove a smoke alarm. Does it go off when you burn the toast or have a hot steamy shower? Then just get a tea towel or towel and flap it till it’s clear. Then, do things differently next time. Disabling a smoke alarm is downright dangerous.
Smoke alarm testing in rental properties can be done by any of the parties
No one needs to be qualified or specially licensed to clean or test a smoke alarm in a residential domestic rental property.
These days it’s usual – or certainly not unusual – for a property manager to outsource smoke alarm maintenance for you to an external company as part of their routine processes. This may cost a little more but at least the tenant, property owner and property manager have peace of mind that everyone’s wellbeing and safety has been taken care of. The fact that there is an expert process in place to ensure that just makes good common sense.
In addition to cleaning, smoke alarm testing in rental properties is vitally important. smoke alarms should be tested on a regular basis. If you’re not good at remembering things off the top of your head, and let’s face it who is set an alarm in your digital To Do List.
New regulations from 1 January 2022
Requirements for cleaning and smoke alarm testing in rental properties has not changed. However, property owners now have a new requirement placed on them.
Smoke alarms in rental properties must now:
- be photoelectric (and must meet AS 3786-2014)
- must not also contain an ionisation sensor
- be newer than 10 years old
- operate successfully when tested
- be either hardwired into the buildings electrical system, or powered buy a non-removable 10 year battery
- equally importantly, they must be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the building. This is so that they all activate at the same time. This is an investment the property owner makes.
Multiple story dwellings must be sure to also have these requirements:
- a smoke alarm installed in each and every bedroom
- smoke alarms installed in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
- if there is no hallway, a smoke alarm installed between the bedrooms and other parts of the building on the same story
- or if there are no bedrooms on a story a minimum of one (1) smoke alarm installed on the most likely path a person would take to exit the building dwelling
To be sure you completely understand these requirements, refer to the following resource https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/during-a-tenancy/maintenance-and-repairs/smoke-alarms
Something Your Property Manager can help you with
For peace of mind, if you would like your Position One Property manager to have your smoke alarms routinely maintained by a third party contractor as one of the property management duties they carry out for you, contact us now.