Smoke alarms save lives. Reports have found that the risk of death in a house fire is reduced by more than half if properly maintained smoke alarms are installed.
There are obligations on both lessors and tenants to ensure smoke alarms are functioning.
Obligations of the Lessor
- Property owners must install and maintain smoke alarms in rental properties, in line with Queensland smoke alarm legislation.
- To test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy
Obligations of the Tenant
- To clean and test the smoke alarm/s at least once every 12 months where the tenant has either a fixed Term Tenancy of 12 months or longer or a periodic tenancy.
- To replace the smoke alarm batteries when they are spent or nearly spent during the tenancy.
- To advise the owner or agent if they become aware that the smoke alarm has failed or is about to fail other than because of a battery being spent.
- To not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.
The tenant can arrange for the work to be carried out by a qualified contractor at the tenant’s cost
Smoke Alarm Problem Solving For Tenants
- If no danger is present, press the hush button to silence the alarm. The alarm may continue to beep for up to 10 minutes as it resets itself
- If multiple alarms are interconnected, then you may have to press more than one hush button. The alarm that sounded first will have a quickly flashing or solid red LED light
- If you can identify the cause such as shower steam or burning toast then air out the area until the area is clear
- If you are unable to identify what caused the alarm to sound, then you can use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean the alarm. This may remove dust, debris or an insect that is causing the alarm to activate
- You may need to replace the battery. You can identify the manufacturer and model by the sticker located on the back of the alarm. A basic internet search should lead you to a user’s guide with further instructions including battery replacement.
Most battery-powered smoke alarms can be removed by twisting the alarm to remove it from the mounting base. Hardwired smoke alarms may have a button or latch on the side which needs to be pressed to detach the alarm and expose the battery.
Newer battery-powered smoke alarms contain non-replaceable lithium batteries. Be aware that replacement of the alarm is the only option to resolve a low battery chirp on these alarms.
Problem not solved?
If you have concerns the alarms are faulty or need to be replaced please submit a repair notification.