In 2017 new legislation came into effect in Queensland requiring all smoke alarms in rental proprieties Qld to be photoelectric by 2022. Photoelectric smoke alarms detect visible particles of combustion. They respond to a wide range of fires, but are particularly responsive to smoldering fires and dense smoke.

Changes to the smoke alarm legislation will impact every one of the Queensland’s estimated 550,000 rental properties by 2022.

As a property owner, it is imperative that you protect your asset and as a landlord it is a legal requirement that you meet smoke alarm guidelines. Queensland has the most stringent legislation in Australia regarding smoke alarms in rental properties qld. 

smoke alarms in rental properties qld

What does this mean for you?

New legislation requires that owners with smoke alarms in rental properties throughout Queensland update the alarms to photoelectric. They must also:

  • Be less than 10 years old.
  • Operate when tested.
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together.
  • Be either hard wired or powered by a non removable 10 year battery.


Where do the smoke alarms in rental properties qld need to be?

  • Smoke alarms must be installed on each level of your home.
  • They must be located in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling.
  • If there are no hallways, they must be located between all bedrooms and other parts of the level.
  • If there are no bedrooms on a level at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.
  • There MUST be a smoke alarm in EVERY bedroom.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFRS) research found that only 20% of Queensland households had a smoke alarm in their main bedroom, despite new legislation stating that all properties must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in rental properties in all bedrooms by 2022 and owner-occupied properties by 2027.


Where possible smoke alarms must be placed on the ceiling and cannot be:

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


The Rental Tenancy Authority (RTA) also requires all property managers/owners to:

  • Test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy.
  • Not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.


As a tenant it is also your responsibility to:

  • Regularly test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms. You should to this every 12 months. 
  • Replace any flat or nearly flat batteries (if you are unsure how to do this safely please call your Property Manager). 
  • Call the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries).
  • Allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms.
  • Not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint or cover it.

Owners of rental properties can perform the above tasks themselves. If you are unsure how to clean or test your smoke alarms give a qualified technician a call. 

If you are concerned or require more information regarding  the legislative changes please give your Property Manager a call  on (07) 3843 4511, as we are up to date on all of the current legislation.  


*Credit for image and some information supplied by Safe Home Services