2022 Fire Alarm Legislation Changes and What That Means for Your Property

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Fire alarm legislation is changing across Queensland, and property owners will be required to have interconnected fire alarms installed within their premises from January 2022. The new legislation, while being mandatory, aims to ensure a universal standard of safety for homeowners and tenants alike. Although tragedies like the Slacks Creek house fire may feel like a distant memory, new safety legislation such as this will help residents to ensure such incidents remain a thing of the past. Essentially, the new ruling aims to ensure that tenants/occupants will have ample time to evacuate a property in the event of a fire.

Safe to say, the new ruling will apply to all properties across the state. Specifically, having interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms will certainly help to prevent occupants from being caught unaware in the event of a fire at home. According to the new Smoke Alarm Legislation, these interconnected smoke alarms must be installed within all bedrooms, in hallways that connect bedrooms, and on every level of your premises. So what does that mean for you, whether to do with your residence or investment property?

Fire Alarm Legislation Changes Preventing Tragedies and Keeping Queensland Households Much Safer

Unfortunate tragedies have occurred, where occupants of a residence were unable to evacuate a blaze due to being unaware. Interconnected smoke alarms will trigger a unified system within your entire household, especially if a fire were to break out within an isolated area of your property. While having smoke alarms within each bedroom of a home would certainly make for rude awakenings, the fact is that this new system is bound to save more lives than if it weren’t implemented.

Since the legislation requires compliance across all properties, not having your smoke alarms updated may leave your investment property deemed illegal to rent out. According to the Residential Tenancies Authority of Queensland, all smoke alarms in a dwelling must comply with the following requirements from the beginning of 2022 onwards:

  • Must be photoelectric,
  • Must not also contain an ionisation sensor,
  • Not be older than 10 years,
  • Operates when tested,
  • Be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so they all activate together, and
  • Be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Essentially, these requirements help to minimise instances of disconnected smoke alarms or ineffective operation that fails to facilitate the safe and timely evacuation of residents when a fire breaks out.

What Does This Mean for the Valuation of Your Property?

The new legislation is outlined by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and falls within the state’s Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act of 2016. By law, homeowners and property investors will be required to have their smoke alarm systems updated to meet these guidelines. Since this clearly does not impair any valuation of your property, it may be worth understanding its effects on investment or rental properties instead.

Landlords may be under more scrutiny with regards to this legislation, especially since their properties may be deemed illegal to rent without smoke alarm systems that comply with the new legislation. If you’ve heard of the new requirements and are wondering whether to get this done yourself, my advice is to contact your real estate agent or property manager. They can assign a trusted service provider to ensure that a qualified professional can help to ensure your new smoke alarm system meets every new requirement.

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So Who’s Responsible for What?

However, it could be worth stressing the fact that you don’t need to be licensed or qualified to ensure your new smoke alarm system is working, by testing it and keeping it clean. Under the new smoke alarm rulings, property managers or owners are required to test and clean smoke alarms, as well as replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days from the start of a new tenancy.

As for tenants, this new smoke alarm legislation requires them to test and clean smoke alarms once every 12 months — whether by vacuuming or dusting. As part of the requirement, tenants in long-term tenancies should also replace batteries as needed, and advise their property managers or owners in the event of faults to do with their smoke alarm systems. Additionally, both owners and tenants are required not to tamper with or make any adjustments to their alarms that may impair their effectiveness (such as painting over or covering them).

Probably Best to Get the Process Started Before Christmas!

The new smoke alarm legislation does require property owners to outfit their properties with a more comprehensive set of smoke alarm systems. In addition to the key requirements outlined above, there do exist other considerations to the new ruling, such as needing to keep an interconnected smoke alarm on every level of a property, and in the most likely path of travel to exit a building.

Regardless of any particular concerns or questions, you might want to consider, it’s good to at least be aware of the requirement, and that your property manager will likely be able to help you get your new smoke alarm system updated. You’re always welcome to give me a call on 0407 090 087 if you’d like to know more about servicing your property to keep your smoke alarm system up to date.

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Article by Melinda Kirby

Melinda Kirby is a confident and motivated Sales Consultant at Ray White Rockhampton who understands the importance of strong relationships in achieving exceptional results.

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