The Complete Guide to Smoke Alarm Safety Checks for VIC, AU Rental Properties

smoke alarm safety

Welcome to our ultimate guide on smoke alarm safety checks, tailored specifically for rental properties in Victoria, Australia. 

At the heart of every property management strategy is the safety and well-being of tenants. With the recent bushfires in the Grampians region, the safety of renters should be front of mind for most Victorians.  

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about smoke alarm safety checks. From legislation and regulations to the importance of regular inspections and finding a reliable supplier.

Rental Properties Now Require Annual Safety Checks

In Victoria, landlords have a legal responsibility to maintain smoke alarms in rental properties. The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 mandates that smoke alarms must be installed and maintained in working order. 

The Residential Tenancies Act updates of 2021 mandates that a periodical annual smoke alarm safety inspection is done on each rental property.

Smoke Alarm safety checks come at a very reasonable cost. This is relative to the potential downside of devastating fires that can wreak havoc to both homes and persons.

Property Managers are now well-informed of the benefits of smoke alarms inspections. They generally have preferred suppliers they work with – however, understanding this situation 

Understanding the Regulations Behind Smoke Alarms 

Smoke Alarm regulations differ from state to state. For this article, we will ONLY refer to the Victorian regulations.

The governing regulations/regulatory bodies for smoke alarm installations in domestic properties that we must follow include:

The smoke alarm ‘system’ installed in a property must adhere to all of the above regulations at the time of the installation. For example, if a property was built in 1990 and the smoke alarms were installed at that time, then we must adhere to the regulations at that time. This can be challenging as knowing what was in force/updated when can be challenging.

However – there are some key dates we look for with smoke alarm installations.

August 1997 – Smoke alarm systems installed before this date could be battery-powered smoke alarms (not connected to a hardwired system to either switchboard or fire panel). Smoke alarm systems installed after this date must be hardwired.

May 2014 – Smoke alarm systems installed after this date must be ‘interconnected’. Interconnected means that each smoke alarm is connected in some way. When one alarm sounds, all alarms sound.

Knowing the property build date or smoke alarm system installation date respectively is important in ensuring property compliance. 

Tests Conducted During a Check

Regular testing and maintenance of smoke alarms are essential to ensure they function properly when needed. 

During a safety check, Appliance Fixer’s trained fire technicians conduct a variety of tests and maintenance including:

Positional Test: Ensure that there are an adequate number of smoke alarms. Position them in the correct locations to wake sleeping occupants. It is important to also ensure that smoke alarms are not located in areas called ‘dead-air space’ – where smoke alarms may not receive smoke.

Functional Test: Provide a source of smoke for the smoke alarm to register and ensure it is functioning correctly.

Button Test: Pressing the test button on each smoke alarm to ensure it activates.

Battery Test: Checking and replacing batteries. 

Interconnection Test (if applicable): Verifying that all smoke alarms are interconnected and trigger simultaneously.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Removing dust and debris from smoke alarms to ensure optimal performance.

Locations of smoke alarms to maximise likelihood of alarms picking up smoke

Image: Locations of smoke alarms to maximise likelihood of alarms picking up smoke 

Source: Clipsal

Importance of Reports

After completing a smoke alarm safety check, the landlord or property manager receives a detailed report. This report outlines the condition of each smoke alarm as well as any issues identified during testing.

It also includes recommendations for maintenance or replacement. Keeping comprehensive records of these reports is crucial for compliance. It also demonstrates a commitment to tenant safety.

Finding a Supplier

When it comes to sourcing smoke alarms and conducting safety checks, choosing the right supplier is key. Look for reputable suppliers who offer smoke alarms that comply with Australian standards. 

Additionally, consider suppliers who provide installation, maintenance, and testing services to streamline the process and ensure ongoing compliance.

Ensuring the safety of rental properties through regular smoke alarm safety checks is a legal requirement and a moral obligation.

By staying informed about legislation, conducting thorough inspections, and partnering with reliable suppliers, landlords can create safer living environments for their tenants. Remember, when it comes to safety, there’s no room for compromise.

If you’re a property manager in Victoria looking for expert smoke alarm safety check services, look no further.  Contact us today to ensure the safety and well-being of your tenants. Schedule professional smoke alarm inspections and maintenance.

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