May 12, 2022

March 2020 – What do you need to know?

Legislation in NSW is changing. These changes are important from a landlord's perspective as there is more accountability for them in relation to how smoke alarms are managed in their rental properties. These changing components are mandatory. For some landlords who have taken on the responsibility of maintenance themselves in the past, this new legislation now requires them to do more.

What does it mean for the landlord?

Under the new legislative obligations, it is required that landlords:

  • Must service smoke alarms annually, and ensure that the smoke alarms are functioning
  • Must replace alarms within their 10-year expiry
  • Must install or replace, (or engage a person to install or replace), all removable batteries in all smoke alarms annually
  • A landlord who becomes aware that a smoke alarm is not working must, within 2 business days repair or replace the smoke alarm, or (b) cause the smoke alarm to be repaired or replaced
  • Must reimburse the tenant for the costs of a repair or replacement of a smoke alarm
    in accordance with clause 18 of the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019
  • Must provide a condition report to the Agency relative to smoke alarms and batteries for the inclusion in the tenancy agreement before the tenant moves in.
It is important to note that a fine of 20 penalty units ($2200) for failing to meet the requirements for smoke alarms can be imposed on the landlord.

What does it mean for Strata?

Properties under strata are exempt from these regulations only if the owner's corporation takes full responsibility for the repair and replacement of the alarms & the tenant has been provided with that information in writing.  A copy of that report will also need to be held at your agency in case of dispute with the tenant.

What does it mean for the tenant?

As smoke alarms are now classed as an emergency item, tenants can get repairs to their alarms organised if the landlord or property manager has not responded in two days. If this happens, it is required that the tenant is reimbursed within 7 days.  This could put extra cost pressures on the landlord.

How can Smoke Alarms Australia help?

Landlords can sign up for our annual subscription program which takes care of their smoke alarms in their rental properties.  Smoke Alarms Australia provides surety of cost through a low no more to pay program.  This includes annual service checks, unlimited visits, full function testing, alarm location, and expiry checks, replacement of all batteries, and alarm replacements as needed on each visit. Once a property is onboarded with Smoke Alarms Australia, our bookings team liaises with the tenants directly to make an appointment at an agreeable time.  Compliance certificates are provided back to the agency, after each visit for sharing with the landlord and tenant if required. Smoke Alarms Australia makes it easy to manage compliance for your rental properties.

Read the legislation here and the fair trading information here.

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