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New smoke alarm legislation


New smoke alarm legislation

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									                         New smoke alarm legislation
                                                                                        CONSUMER COLUMN

For immediate release                                                 01 May 2007

As of July 1 2007, every domestic dwelling in Queensland is required to have
smoke alarms. The new laws, which fall under the Queensland Fire and Rescue
Service Act 1990, apply to all residential dwellings in Queensland, not just the
rental sector.

“The law has placed minimum installation standards upon the landlord. The
minimum requirement for the type of smoke alarm is a nine-volt battery operated           The Real Estate
alarm,” REIQ executive manager Elissa Keenan said.                                          Institute of
                                                                                          Queensland Ltd
However the REIQ recommends that landlords consider higher standards of
alarm, such as a photoelectric 10-year tamper proof lithium battery alarm or a
240-volt hard wired alarm with battery back up.                                          Phone (07) 3249 7302
                                                                                          Fax (07) 3249 6202
“The alarms are required to be installed on or near the ceiling on any storey;            www.reiq.com.au
between any areas containing bedrooms and the rest of the house or unit, e.g.
hallways or; on a storey not containing bedrooms on the most likely evacuation
route from the property,” Ms Keenan said.

“The law have imposed maintenance obligations on both the landlord and the

Landlord obligations

Ms Keenan said the landlord must clean and test all smoke alarms at the
property within 30 days of the start of a tenancy. This includes renewal

“For example, if a tenant enters into a six-month tenancy agreement and the
landlord offers a renewal agreement at the end of the current agreement, the
landlord obligation to clean and test all alarms within 30 days of the start of an
agreement again applies,” she said.

“If it is found that the battery is flat or almost flat at the time of cleaning and
testing the alarm, the landlord must replace the battery immediately. If the alarm
fails, other than because the battery is flat during a tenancy, the landlord must
replace or repair the alarm.”

She said the landlord must replace the alarm before it reaches the ends of its
service life.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland                                   Page 1 of 2
Tenant obligations
                                                                                           CONSUMER COLUMN
Ms Keenan said the tenant must replace the battery if the battery is flat or almost
flat during a tenancy.

The tenant must clean and test the alarms during a tenancy only if;

     •    they have a 12 month agreement or longer; or
     •    they are on a periodic tenancy that is 12 months or longer in duration.

If a tenancy is less than 12 months in length, or a periodic tenancy that is less
than 12 months in length, the obligations to clean and test an alarm cannot be
passed onto the tenant.                                                                      The Real Estate
                                                                                               Institute of
The tenant must notify the landlord/property manager immediately if the alarm                Queensland Ltd
has failed other than because the battery is flat or almost flat.

“If a fixed term tenancy rolls over into a periodic without any action from either          Phone (07) 3249 7302
the tenant or the landlord/property manager, the landlord obligation to clean and            Fax (07) 3249 6202
test the alarm within 30 days will not apply,” Ms Keenan said.                               www.reiq.com.au

“This is because a new agreement has not been entered into; the agreement has
merely rolled over to a periodic tenancy under the same terms and conditions as
the fixed term agreement.”

When buying, selling or renting real estate, look for the 2007 REIQ accredited
agency logo as a sign of an agency dedicated to the highest standards of business

“It is important for consumers to be aware that not all real estate agents are REIQ
accredited agencies. The accredited agency logo serves as a visual safeguard to
help consumers make informed and confident choices,” Ms Keenan said.

For a list of REIQ accredited agencies in your local area visit www.reiq.com.au or
phone 07 3249 7347.


For more information contact:

Nicola McDougall – Communication Coordinator
Phone: 3249 7302 or 0405 801 979

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland                                      Page 2 of 2

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