Landlords: How safe is your rental property?

first_imgIs your rental property up to scratch when it comes to fire safety? The Queensland government has updated its smoke alarm regulations with vital revisions for landlords. As of January last year, legislation requires all rental property owners to install interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms throughout the dwelling.While this is standard for all Queensland homes, rental properties must meet these obligations by January 1, 2022.Here’s everything you need to know to get cracking.If an alarm isn’t working, landlords are responsible for replacing it immediately. Picture: Kate HunterGet new smoke alarmsCommunity Engagement Manager of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Inspector Alan Musk says photoelectric alarms are replacing ionisation models as the preferred type for residential properties.While ionisation types detect heat, photoelectric alarms detect smoke offering occupants a greater chance to address and escape fire threats, he explains.Landlords are required to replace their alarms with photoelectric models and ensure they are interconnected to respond simultaneously to hazards. The new laws require each alarm to be either be hardwired to the main electrical source and have a back-up battery, or powered by a 10-year non-removable battery.Check expiry datesInspector Musk urges landlords to double-check the expiry date of their current alarms.“Smoke alarms have a 10-year life. They normally have an expiry date on them and if they’ve expired you have to replace them,” he warns.Similarly, if an alarm isn’t working, landlords must replace it immediately.Where to put your alarmsThe new regulations state an alarm should be placed in every bedroom and along hallways connecting them. If the house has multiple levels, an alarm must be placed on each storey.Finally, place an alarm along the ‘exit route’ or near the point of exit, Inspector Musk says.If installing new alarms or building a new property the alarms should not be placed within 30cm of a wall or light fitting, or 40cm from an air-conditioning vent or the blades of a ceiling fan. Furthermore, try to keep them slightly removed from windows or doors that could enable air flow to intercept the early detection of smoke.What to do if you’re getting new tenantsIf leasing a property to someone new, landlords must clean and test the smoke alarms at least 30 days before the tenants move in.Smoke alarms must be cleaned and tested before new tenants move in. Picture: Kate HunterIf a hardwired alarm needs replacing, you must replace it with a photoelectric model in accordance with the new regulations, Inspector Musk confirms.Obligations of the tenantThe person living in the home is required to clean and test alarms at least once a year, replacing any dead batteries. If there’s something else wrong with the device, the tenants should contact their landlord or property manager immediately so the issue can be rectified.“The real estate agent can often organise for a contractor to come through and ensure you meet the legislation, that the smoke alarms operate and the batteries are fine,” Inspector Musk says. “This should happen around once a year.”All information provided by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.last_img

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