Regulations that came into effect in NSW in March 2020 have impacted obligations for smoke alarm maintenance and water efficiency in rental properties. Penalties apply from April 2021.
On 23 March 2020, updated Residential Tenancy Regulations (NSW) came into force mandating increased obligations for landlords and property managers regarding smoke alarm maintenance including annual testing and battery replacement.
While the new legislation comes with an increased burden for property managers, it doesn’t have to. Detector Inspector clients can leverage our digital mailout system and contracts to sign up landlords with a minimum of fuss.
Why not get in touch with your account manager to ask for an audit today? We can work with you to design an approach to get your landlords to sign up with a minimum of fuss, maintaining compliance and keeping your tenants safe.
The changes that came that came into effect in March 2020 have impacted smoke alarm maintenance and water efficiency compliance. Here’s a summary of the changes:
- Landlords and agents are responsible to ensure smoke alarms are checked annually, replaced within 10 years of manufacture (or earlier if specified), and that batteries are installed or replaced annually in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.
- Landlords and agents are responsible to ensure the urgent repair of smoke alarms (including battery replacement) within 2 business days of being notified by the tenant.
- Tenants must notify their landlord or agent if a smoke alarm is not working or needs a battery changed.
- Tenants may be allowed to replace alarms or batteries or engage a licensed electrician to do so if the landlord or agent has not arranged to restore the alarm to working order within 2 business days. The regulations are complex and are different for strata and non-strata premises.
- Landlords and agents must give 2 business days’ notice to inspect smoke alarms and 1 hour notice to carry out repair or replacement.
- Installation of smoke alarms and batteries must be done according to manufacturer instructions for the specific brand and type of alarm.
The new changes represent a huge new administrative burden, but property managers don’t have to carry it! Detector Inspector’s simple annual smoke alarm service is designed to meet all new regulations. Our digital signup process and online appointments integrate with agents’ existing systems to get landlords and tenants on board with a minimum of hassle.
For the landlord to be able to pass on water usage charges to the tenant, the rental property must be separately metered and meet the water efficiency measures, including:
- All taps and toilets need to be checked and leaks fixed at the start of a tenancy, and whenever other water efficiency measures are installed.
- From 23 March 2025, all toilets in rental properties must be dual flush with a WELS rating of three stars or higher.
- When existing toilets are replaced, landlords should consider installing toilets that meet the new water efficiency requirements before 23 March 2025.
The simplest way to ensure your properties are meeting the new minimum requirements is with Detector Inspector’s new water efficiency service as an add-on to your annual smoke alarm inspection and service.
To reflect the new obligations of landlords and tenants:
- The mandatory terms regarding smoke alarm repairs or replacement cannot be modified or excluded from fixed-term tenancy agreements of 20 years or more (this applies to existing and new agreements from 23 March 2020).
- The landlord or landlord’s agent must indicate “yes” or “no” in relation to the matters set out under the heading “Smoke Alarms” on the condition report.
Have you checked your properties are compliant?
Meeting the new regulations properly generates a huge administrative burden. The complicated rules about when a tenant can and can’t carry out repairs go hand-in-hand with extra notification requirements and potential for confusion. Many landlords and agents are still playing catch-up with compliance since the changes took effect in March 2020.
NSW fair trading has advised that penalties for non-compliance will be imposed from April 2021. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of Detector Inspector’s solutions for landlords and property managers.
By working with Detector Inspector, we can ensure that you and your landlords remain compliant and your tenants are safer in their homes.