Owner responsibilities

The Fire and Rescue Service Amendment Act 2006 has been law since July 1st 2007, and with it comes added responsibilities for you as a property owner.

The Rules

  • Landlords must ensure that their property is fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms complying with Australian Standard 3786-1993 and installed as per the Building Code of Australia Part
  • A landlord or agent must test and clean each smoke alarm within 30 days before the start of a tenancy, which includes tenancy renewals. In addition, a landlord or agent must replace, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions,
  • each battery in the smoke alarm that is flat or that the landlord or agent is aware is almost flat within 30 days before the start of a tenancy. The landlord or agent must also replace the smoke alarm before it reaches the end of its useful life. If the smoke alarm reaches the end of its service life, the landlord or agent must replace it immediately.

Your Responsibilities

Your property must comply with the new legislation and the Building Code of Australia. This is not just establishing that a property has a smoke alarm. You need to ensure that the property has the required number of smoke alarms; that they are located correctly as per the legislation and the Building Code; that they meet Australian Standards; that they are working; that they are not past their expiry date.

Before the commencement of every new tenancy, you must ensure that smoke alarms are inspected, tested, cleaned and the battery changed (if necessary). The legislation prohibits you from transferring this responsibility to the tenant.

*Australian Standard AS 1851.15 – 1997 sets out the requirements for the regular maintenance of local fire detection and alarm systems designed and installed in accordance with AS 1670.1 and AS 1670.2. Regular maintenance includes inspection and testing procedures. The smoke alarms will be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the relevant procedures in Section 3 of AS 1851.15. In particular, smoke alarms will be checked for secure fitting, fitted with new batteries (except smoke alarms with non-removable batteries), cleaned, checked for operation using the test button, checked for operation using a Smoke Test and tested for adequate decibel output (minimum 75dba).