Smoke alarms in houses are required by law
FROM July 1 2007, every domestic dwelling in Queensland was required to have smoke alarms.
The laws, which fall under the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, apply to all residential dwellings in Queensland, not just the rental sector.
“The law placed minimum installation standards upon the landlord (and) the minimum requirement for the type of smoke alarm is a nine-volt-battery-operated alarm,” Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella said.
However, the REIQ recommends landlords consider higher standards of alarms such as photoelectric, 10-year, tamper-proof lithiumbattery alarms or 240-volt, hard-wired alarms with battery back-ups.
“The alarms are required to be installed on or near the ceiling on any storey; between any areas containing bedrooms and the rest of the house or unit, e.g. hallways or; on a storey not containing bedrooms on the most likely evacuation route from the property,” Ms Mercorella said. She said the laws imposed maintenance obligations on both the landlord and the tenant.
She said the landlord must clean and test all smoke alarms at the property within 30 days of the start of a tenancy and including renewal agreements.
“For example, if a tenant enters into a six-month tenancy agreement and the landlord offers a renewal agreement at the end of the current agreement, the landlord’s obligation to clean and test all alarms within 30 days of the start of an agreement again applies,” she said.
“If it is found that the battery is flat or almost flat at the time of cleaning and testing the alarm, the landlord must replace the battery immediately.
“If the alarm fails, other than because the battery is flat during a tenancy, the landlord must replace or repair the alarm.”
Ms Mercorella said tenants must replace the battery if the battery was flat or almost flat during a tenancy.
She said the tenant must clean and test the alarms during a tenancy only if they had an agreement for 12 months or longer.
For tenancies of less than 12 months the obligations to clean and test an alarm cannot be passed onto the tenant.