As a landlord, there are a whole host of regulations to meet and obligations you must fulfil, one of which is the fire safety of your property, in particular, smoke alarms.

According to NSW landlord fire safety regulations, you are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing all smoke alarms. But what are these specific regulations? And what are your responsibilities as a landlord? Read on to find out.

Installation

Smoke alarms must be installed in all rental properties and in each room where people sleep. This applies to all rented private dwellings such as:

•detached houses, terrace houses, townhouses and villas

•apartments, units and flats

•caretakers flats and flats above shops

•relocatable homes

As part of NSW landlord fire safety regulation, all smoke alarms are required to meet Australian Standard AS 3786. The power supply and location requirements of smoke alarms will depend on the type of building but will either be hard-wired to the main electricity supply or battery-powered. For multi-storey rental properties, smoke alarms must be installed on every storey, located on or near the ceiling in every corridor associated with a bedroom.

Repairs

By law, landlords are responsible for the urgent repair and replacement of smoke alarms. Where a smoke alarm is not in working order, landlords must ensure the alarm is repaired (this includes replacing a battery) within two business days. NSW landlords and agents must give at least two business days’ notice to inspect or assess the need for smoke alarm repair or replacement, and at least one hour’s notice to repair or replace a smoke alarm.

Maintenance

To ensure investment property fire safety is up to scratch, landlords must have an accredited fire practitioner conduct an annual inspection of the smoke alarms to ensure they are working and compliant; this can be part of your AFSS. Landlords are also responsible for the replacement of batteries and are obligated to replace alarms as per manufacturers’ instructions. Usually, smoke alarms should be replaced within ten years of manufacture or earlier if specified by the manufacturer. Lithium batteries generally have a ten-year lifespan, but all batteries must be checked annually and replaced in the period specified by the manufacturer.

Tenants

Tenants must notify their landlord or agent if they discover a smoke alarm is not working, including when the battery needs to be changed. In some circumstances, tenants may be able to change the smoke alarm battery or arrange for a licenced electrician or fire safety professional to carry out repairs. However, tenants must notify the landlord they are doing so, and once the works are completed. More information on this can be found at the Department of Fair Training NSW.

Other Fire Safety Equipment

While NSW legislation provides for a minimum level of protection, we recommend that landlords consider higher levels. Fire equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers and fire hoses, as well as the installation of fire doors, may not be required for some rentals; nonetheless, we recommend that landlords install these to provide greater fire protection and peace of mind.

It is important to note that landlord fire safety requirements differ for short-term rental accommodation, such as Airbnb. If you need help understanding fire regulations for rental properties, contact the team at Betta Fire Protection today on (02) 8669 9100 and ask about our fire services for landlords in Sydney.