Smoke alarms


Rental law changes introducing minimum housing standards came into effect for new tenancies (including renewed tenancy agreements) from 1 September 2023, and will come into effect for all remaining tenancies on 1 September 2024.

The property owner/manager must ensure the rental premises meet all health and safety requirements.

Smoke alarms save lives. Reports have found that the risk of death in a house fire is reduced by more than half if properly maintained smoke alarms are installed.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

If the existing smoke alarms were manufactured less than 10 years ago, and are still in good working order, they can remain in place until the respective staged implementation date which requires the smoke alarm to be AS 3786-2014 compliant.

However, it is important for property owners/managers to understand the new requirements and the timeframes that apply.

Find out more about the new smoke alarm legislation from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

If you have questions concerning the new smoke alarm legislation, email

How the new legislation affects dwellings being sold, leased or renewal of an existing lease

From 1 January 2017
When replacing smoke alarms, they must be of a photoelectric type which complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.
Existing smoke alarms, manufactured more than 10 years ago, must be replaced (Note: smoke alarms should have the date of manufacture stamped on them).
Smoke alarms that do not operate when tested must be replaced immediately.
Existing hardwired smoke alarms, that need replacing, must be replaced with a hardwired photoelectric smoke alarm.
From 1 January 2022
Smoke alarms in all dwellings must:
  • be photoelectric (AS 3786-2014); and
  • not also contain an ionisation sensor; and
  • be less than 10 years old; and
  • operate when tested; and
  • be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together; and
  • be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey:
  • in each bedroom; and
  • in hallways which connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling; or
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms and other parts of the storey; and
  • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

In addition to the above, property managers/owners are currently required to:

  • test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start of a tenancy. This also includes a renewal tenancy.
  • not remove a smoke alarm or a battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint it.

Tenants must:

  • test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months
  • replace any flat or nearly flat batteries
  • advise the property owner/manager if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)
  • allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms
  • not remove a smoke alarm or the battery (other than to replace it), or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm e.g. paint or cover it

You do not need to be qualified or licensed to clean or test a domestic smoke alarm. Some real estate agents may outsource smoke alarm maintenance to another company as part of their processes. Tenancy rules permit entry for the purposes of complying with smoke alarm legislation. Repairs relating to a non-functioning smoke alarm may be considered emergency repairs.