Smoke Alarm Laws in NSW Strata - Are Your Compliant?

21 January 21

SMOKE ALARM LAWS IN NSW STRATA – ARE YOU COMPLIANT?


If you act as a letting agent for an owner of a strata building in NSW, you need to ensure that smoke alarms installed in your rented units are in working order.

Requirements for landlords and agents effective from March 2020

1. Where a smoke alarm is not in working order, landlords and agents must ensure the alarm is repaired (this includes replacing a battery) within 2 business days.
2. Landlords and agents must check smoke alarms every year to ensure they are working.
3. Landlords and agents must ensure:
 smoke alarms are replaced within 10 years of manufacture, or earlier if specified by the manufacturer, and
batteries are installed or replaced every year (or for lithium batteries, in the period specified by the manufacturer).
4. Landlords and agents must give at least 2 business days’ notice to inspect or assess the need for smoke alarm repair or replacement, and at least 1 hour notice to carry out repair or replacement of a smoke alarm.

Requirements for tenants

 Tenants must notify their landlord or agent if they discover that a smoke alarm is not working (this includes when the battery needs to be changed).
 Tenants must notify their landlord when they change a battery in a smoke alarm or engage a licensed electrician to repair or replace an alarm. The different circumstances where a tenant can change a battery or engage a licensed electrician are provided in the table below.

Responsibilities for certain types of alarms

BATTERY-POWERED ALARMS

Responsibility in strata premises 

Replace an alarm unit

The landlord, agent or person authorised by the landlord, unless the Owners Corporation is responsible (this will be indicated in the tenancy agreement).

If the Owners Corporation is not responsible, the tenant can arrange for replacement if the landlord or agent does not do this within 2 business days of being notified that the alarm is not working. The tenant must notify the landlord or agent within 24 hours of the work being completed

Responsibility in strata premises

Repair an alarm unit

Battery operated alarm units should not be repaired unless the repair is changing the battery in the alarm.

Otherwise, the alarm unit should be replaced.

Change a removable battery

The landlord, agent or person authorised by the landlord, unless the Owners Corporation is responsible (this will be indicated in the tenancy agreement).

If the Owners Corporation is not responsible, the tenant can arrange for replacement if the landlord or agent does not do this within 2 business days of being notified that the alarm is not working. The tenant must notify the landlord or agent within 24 hours of the work being completed.

HARD-WIRED ALARMS

Responsibility in strata premises

Replace alarm unit

A licensed electrician:

- arranged by the Owners Corporation if they are responsible (this will be indicated in the tenancy agreement).

Repair alarm unit

- arranged by the landlord or agent if the Owners Corporation is not responsible.

Change removable back-up battery

The landlord, agent or person authorised by the landlord, unless the Owners Corporation is responsible.

Reimbursement for repairs

A tenant is entitled to reimbursement within 7 days after giving written notice of relevant expenses.
The notice must detail the nature and cost of repairs together with copies of receipts or invoices. This does not apply to social housing tenants.

 

Article Written by Col Myers of Small Myers Hughes Lawyers 
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
Disclaimer – This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. 

Additional Documents

Click here to download: 2021_02_Feb___Smoke_Alarm_Laws_in_NSW_Strata___Are_you_Compliant.pdf

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