Smoke Alarms. What are your responsibilities?

The cold weather is upon us and now that we’re using heaters, fire places and electric blankets it’s now more important than ever to install and maintain smoke alarms. Below is information regarding smoke alarms in rental properties and your responsibilities as a tenant or landlord. To download this fact sheet please follow this link

Smoke alarms fact sheet

Under the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, administered by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, both tenants and lessors have responsibilities for smoke alarms in their rental properties.

Tenants: Have obligations for cleaning, testing and replacing batteries for alarms during a tenancy.
Lessors: Have obligations for installing, cleaning and testing smoke alarms and replacing batteries before the start or renewal of a tenancy.
See easy reference table for specific details.

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) allows entry to the rental premises by the lessor to install and maintain smoke alarms. These amendments fall under entry provisions (s192 of the Act) allowing lessors to give a 24 hour Entry notice (Form 9) for the purposes of entry to comply with the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 in relation to smoke alarms.

Quick tips

It is good practice for the lessor to give their tenants the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean, test and replace batteries for smoke alarms.
A smoke alarm is required to emit a warning signal before the battery fails, usually a chirping sound.
Changing batteries in smoke alarms on an anniversary such as a birthday will act as a reminder to change them once a year.
Cleaning a smoke alarm usually involves an external clean to remove dust and debris with a broom or a vacuum cleaner.
Smoke alarms are required to have a minimum service life of at least 10 years.
A lessor must not pass on their obligations to the tenant to act on their behalf such as asking the tenant to replace batteries at the beginning of the tenancy.

This fact sheet is prepared for information only. The Fire and Rescue Act 1990 is the primary source on the law and takes precedence over this information should there be any inconsistency between the Act and this fact sheet.

Further information
For more information about the obligations for the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms in rental premises, visit the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service website or call their Information Hotline on 1300 369 003.