Despite strict new smoke alarm legislation, many owners are yet to take up professional services to stay compliant. Recent house fires are a stark reminder that legal compliance isn’t the only thing at stake.
Smoke alarms save lives
Shortly before Christmas 2021, a house fire left a Caboolture family homeless but largely unharmed. Their property manager, a Detector Inspector client, says the smoke alarms in the home saved their lives.
Tragically, it was a different story in a Victorian house fire in November 2021. The Werribee community was shattered by the loss of four children in a blaze survived only by the parents and an eight-year-old brother.
Fires like this are not an anomaly, with over 3000 house fires every year in Victoria alone.
These sobering stories are reminders of the urgent need to maintain smoke alarm safety. Compliance guidelines aren’t just legal red tape—the bottom line is that smoke alarms save people’s lives.
Legislation changes in NSW, VIC and QLD reflect safety concerns
The Residential Tenancies Act has been updated in all three Eastern states to mandate stricter standards for smoke alarm safety. Regular smoke alarm checks have been mandatory in NSW since March 2020 and in Victoria since March 2021. QLD has the most stringent new regulations, with legislation mandating not only regular checks but detailed standards for smoke alarm type, placement and interconnectedness in all dwellings leased or sold from January 2022. The legislation reflects the reality that protective measures need to be taken seriously.
Property managers should be able to produce clear evidence that smoke alarms are installed correctly and maintained in good working order in every rental property under their management. In addition to putting occupants in potential danger, property managers may be carrying significant legal risk to themselves, their directors and owners if a fire causes damage, injury or loss of life.
Automatic compliance audits bring peace of mind
Despite general fire safety awareness, Detector Inspector finds that 1 in 3 properties do not have a working smoke alarm on our first visit. Owners still haven’t got the message about compulsory safety standards and regular checks.
Do all properties under your management have working smoke alarms? Are they correctly installed and regularly maintained according to the legal guidelines? If you can’t answer a resounding YES, you need a compliance audit urgently.
With Detector Inspector’s digital audit you can email every landlord who isn’t enrolled in a smoke alarm safety program and have them opt-in instantly online. This automatically recurs once a year, providing you with a digital trail to prove you’ve made every effort to contact your landlords and inform them of their compliance responsibilities. It’s a quick, thorough way to cover your bases and dramatically increase compliance service uptake.
Keeping safety simple
Once an initial safety check and service has got properties up to standard, enrol in a regular service to keep unbroken compliance year after year.
Detector Inspector uses smart technology to keep this process simple and watertight.
- We cut down your record-keeping by uploading time and GPS-stamped photos and service records directly to your system, creating a digital trail to prove services are up to date.
- We put an end to tedious mailouts by sending automated entry notifications when services are due.
- We fix issues sooner with an online urgent job request form that tenants can use directly, saving you fielding those calls and emails.
- You can stay in the loop by checking the status of your properties at any time through your online agency portal.
This all makes it easier for you to stay on top of compliance for your portfolio without letting any properties fall through the cracks.
Ultimately, this means more smoke alarms are maintained in working order year-round in case of an emergency. Because compliance isn’t just a legal headache—the bottom line is keeping people safe in their homes.