From 23 March 2020 there are changes to the NSW tenancy legislation coming into effect and this included new obligations on landlords in relation to the annual maintenance of smoke alarms.
Many landlords believe that if their investment property is in a strata building then the annual activities that the strata manager organises will take care of their obligations in relation to smoke alarms however this is no longer sufficient for a Landlord to rely upon.
The activities that the strata manager organises in relation to fire safety check are actually for the common areas of the building, not the individual unit (even though the technician may enter the property and test the smoke alarm inside the unit). In order to fulfill the obligations on Landlord the following must be preformed by an appropriately qualified technician:
- carry out annual checks to ensure all smoke alarms installed at the property are in working order
- replace a removable battery in all smoke alarms in the period specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer (for a removable lithium battery), or otherwise annually
- repair or replace smoke alarm that is not working within 2 days of becoming aware that it is not working
- replace a smoke alarm with a new smoke alarm within 10 years from the manufactured date, or earlier if specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer.
Previously tenants were responsible for changing the battery of a smoke alarm during the tenancy. Under the new legislation tenant is responsible only for notifying the agent/landlord that the battery is in need of replacement.
We recommend to all our clients to subscribe to a Landlord Smoke Alarm service offered by a specialist company. Our preferred supplier is Smoke Alarms Australia, and for the set annual subscription fee a technician will attend at least once per year to test the smoke alarm and will issue a compliance certificate to us that we will hold on file. Also included in this subscription is the between tenancy service (to ensure that the smoke alarms are checked prior to any new tenants moving in and an after hours service for unexplained beeping of a smoke alarm.