July 4, 2023

ost people know that, since 2006, it is the law in New South Wales that smoke alarms should be installed in all buildings where people sleep. You probably have one in your home (in fact you should have one on every level) – but what about that granny flat you’ve listed on Airbnb? Or the caravan you’re taking up the coast these holidays?

Smoke alarms are not only proven to save lives – they’re a legal obligation. They must be working, installed correctly in the right places, and not disabled or tampered with.

What do I need to do to comply?

The minimum requirement is to have one smoke alarm on every level of a residential premises.   That includes your home, a property you rent out and movable homes such as caravans. The smoke alarm(s) must be kept operational and must not be disabled.

If you don’t meet the minimum requirement, then you will be committing an offence and may be subject to penalties.

You may be also be in breach of the terms of your insurance policy which could have serious consequences.

What type of smoke alarms should I use?

Your smoke alarm(s) should comply with Australian Standards 3786 (“AS3786”). You can buy suitable smoke alarms at reputable hardware stores which you can install yourself and these run off batteries which need to be replaced.  Fire & Rescue NSW recommend that you install photo-electric smoke alarms, powered by a non-removable lithium battery which lasts for 10 years.

Certain new buildings are required to have hard-wired smoke alarms and some larger buildings are required to have regular fire system tests and inspections so, whenever you take on new property,  you should check the rules carefully.

What should I do when buying or selling?

The NSW sale of property contract contains a statement regarding smoke alarms and says that a Vendor must ensure that the property complies with the smoke alarm legislation prior to completion of the sale.  Purchasers should inspect the property to ensure that it complies both prior to exchanging contracts and at their pre-completion inspection.

Where can I get more information?

Read more Shipton & Associates blog posts here.

This information and information published on our website and social media sites is general in nature and for information and entertainment purposes only.  This information does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  If you require legal advice which takes into account your personal circumstances, please contact us for an appointment.