Smoke alarms in houses are re­quired by law

Whitsunday Times - - REAL ESTATE -

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.

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