Smoke Alarms Testing: Guide for First Moved-in Renters

Education & Training with Property Investment Wise

Queensland, Australia, is facing an epidemic in the amount of deaths that have resulted from fires. In the past 12 years, there have been over 150 deaths due to a house fire, and the worst part is that many of these deaths could have been prevented. In response, Queensland area residents will be required to have smoke alarms in most areas of the house. The alarms must be interconnected, photoelectric and hard-wired in every bedroom, living area and escape paths. The deadline for residents to get their homes up to code will be sometime in 2027.

The Requirements for Landlords in Queensland

Emergency services agencies are encouraging landlords across Australia to install the newer and safer photoelectric alarms. It's important to realize that these new smoke alarms are not the same as the older alarms that have been in use. The smoke alarms may look the same, but they operate a little bit differently and the internals uses a different method of fire and smoke detection.


The first time apartment renter should be aware that landlords are required to replace their units by no later than 2027. Failure to do so will put the landlord in violation of the Building Code of Australia. The cost of these new smoke alarms is similar to the previous generation of ionisation smoke alarms. In most cases, the smoke alarms can be replaced without a licensed electrician. However, if the smoke alarm uses a 240-volt hookup, an electrician will be required. One option is to simply put a new, photoelectric fire alarm that uses batteries next to the existing 240-volt alarm.

Guidelines For Renters

When you move into your new flat, make sure you check each room and ensure that your new domicile meets the new guidelines. If your landlord refuses to comply, they have a few years to get up to code. In the meantime, consider purchasing your own smoke detectors to ensure that you have the safest living conditions possible.


Landlords have the right to access your flat to fit smoke alarms, but they are required to give you two days notice before entering. Your landlord should also provide you with instructions on your specific system that details how to clean, test and replace batteries. Landlords are also required to supply smoke alarms, but they may continue to provide the older systems until 2027. Tenants are typically responsible for replacing the batteries on their own, but some landlords may agree to do this for the tenant. The only exception is when the unit is a hard-wired smoke alarm. In these cases, the tenant is required to replace the batteries.


Additionally, a landlord may never take the batteries out of the unit unless they are planning on putting new batteries in the unit. The landlord also can't change the location of the smoke alarm, interfere with the sounding of the alarm or require a tenant who is physically unable to replace the batteries to replace them without help.

Placement of Alarms

The rules for alarm placement can help make your flat safer, and it's a good idea to make any of the suggested changes yourself if your landlord refuses to comply.


  • Alarms must be located between bedrooms.

  • Alarms must be placed along the most likely escape path of each property.

  • Alarms should be places on every level of the residential property.


Safety At Home Tips

  • Smoke alarms only last for about 10 years before they need to be replaced.

  • Smoke alarms testing should occur monthly to ensure they are operating properly.

  • Smoke alarms should be cleaned every six months with a vacuum. The grille area often becomes clogged with dirt, which can reduce the functionality of the alarm.

  • Smoke alarms will emit an annoying chirping sound before they fail. If this happens on a wired alarm, you need to call an electrician to check the system.


Keeping Your Alarm Functioning: How to Check Smoke Alarm

A smoke alarm needs very little maintenance. While the landlord should conduct regular checks to ensure that all of the alarms in the complex are working properly, you shouldn't rely on their compliance. Check your smoke alarm monthly by pressing the button located on the bottom of the alarm. If the alarm sounds, it means it is functioning properly. If the alarm fails to sound, talk to your landlord about getting a replacement.


Batteries should also be replaced at least once per year. Use an easy to remember date to remind yourself that batteries need to be replaced. Choose a significant holiday, birthday or anniversary and change your batteries without fail. Even if they don't need to be changed yet, it's still a good idea to make it a yearly habit to ensure proper functioning.

Final Considerations

When you're sleeping, your sense of smell greatly diminished. This is why many people fail to wake when there is a fire. The smoldering fumes from a fire may burn for an extended period of time before you're even aware that a fire has started. By the time you wake up, it may be too late for you to escape with your life. Smoke alarms are designed to wake you up at the first sign of a fire. Even if a fire doesn't kill you, the poisonous gases can knock you unconscious before you have a chance to get out of the apartment. Because of this, it's crucial for you to ensure your alarm is functioning optimally.


Posted by

Joe McCord works at REAA.

Comments (2)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I wasn't familiar with this part of Nevada too much. Thanks for posting this in general. All the best!

May 17, 2016 04:05 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I followed you because I think you're going to be a good resource for me in the near future with my work in Los Angeles. Feel free to follow back. :)

May 17, 2016 04:06 PM