Smoke alarms in leased residential properties

ACT Fire & Rescue recommendations

  • Smoke Alarms should be inspected and tested in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations;
  • Smoke alarms have a typical life of around 10 years, and should be replaced by the property owner as routine maintenance or where found to be faulty.
  • ACTF&R recommend hard wired, interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms for residential applications, and that regular testing is undertaken to ensure the alarm operates as designed.
  • ACTF&R recommend tenants become aware of the maintenance requirements of their installed alarms. Some alarms have replaceable batteries others do not.

The ACT residential Tenancies Act was amended in August 2017 to require all leased properties in the ACT to be fitted with smoke alarms that comply with AS3786(1). Existing rental property owners have until 24th August 2018 to comply.

The act also defines the responsibility of the property owner and tenant.

Responsibility of the property owner:

The owner or lessor of a property must install a working smoke alarm that complies with AS3786(1).

An alarm must be installed in each storey of the building. On storeys with bedrooms, the alarm is to be located between the bedroom and the remainder of the building.

Smoke alarms may be hard wired or battery operated.

Responsibility of the tenant:

Tenants are responsible for replacing smoke alarm batteries as required.

ACTF&R recommend replacing the battery annually and testing the operation of the alarm regularly.

For further information please refer to Residential Tenancies Act 1997, Residential Tenancies Regulation 1998, Australian Standard 3786-2014, Building Act 2004, and Building Regulation 2008.

(1) Current Building Code of Australia refers to AS3786-2014


The information contained in this document provides general guidance and information only and is current at the time of printing. Readers should not act or omit to act solely on the basis of anything contained herein. In relation to a particular matter, you should seek appropriate professional advice. 1300 Smoke Alarms and its agents expressly disclaim liability, whether in negligence or otherwise, for any act or omission resulting from reliance on this document or for any consequence of such act or omission

Information provided by Smoke Alarm Association Australia Ltd.