On 1 January 2022, new legislation regarding smoke alarm compliance in Queensland came into effect. The most substantive change is that residential rental properties are required to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms installed in every bedroom, in hallways and on every level.

Selling Residential Property From 1 January 2022

From 1 January 2022, all residential property owners must install compliant smoke alarms in the property before they sign a contract to sell the property. If an owner sells their property without compliant smoke alarms installed, they will be in breach of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 and may face legal penalties. This also applies to the incoming and subsequent owners of the property.

There is a contractual obligation for the sellers to notify the buyer that compliant smoke alarms are installed in the property. The Queensland Titles Office is notified about the smoke alarms in the property from the transfer forms which transfer the property to the new owner. If the owner states anything false or misleading they may face legal penalties.

It is recommended that owners discuss the above requirements with their real estate agent prior to signing a contract to sell their property.

Leasing Residential Property From 1 January 2022

From 1 January 2022, any property subject to a new or renewed residential tenancy agreement must have compliant smoke alarms. The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 states that the owner must not breach any law dealing with issues regarding health and safety. Therefore, if the owner does not install compliant smoke alarms and signs or renews a tenancy agreement from 1 January 2022, the tenant may be entitled to terminate the agreement or apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to seek an order for the owner to install compliant smoke alarms.

It is recommended that property managers confirm that the properties they manage with tenancy agreements commencing from 1 January 2022 are fitted with compliant smoke alarms.

According to both real estate software management company Console and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ research team, anywhere between 20-50% of Queensland rental properties still do not comply with these new laws.

If you are a landlord or residential property owner/manager and wish to seek further advice in relation to property compliance matters, please contact us.

If you are seeking a smoke alarm fitter to bring your property up to standard, feel free to contact our recommended smoke alarm installer and inspector, Dean Kenway of Reefcosa Electrical and Air.

By Thomas Malios and Josiah Neal