Good Property Managers ... Manage the Risk with Smoke Detectors

Number 6 in a series of short articles for investors on What Good Property Managers Do by a Victorian educator/real estate agent.

A good property manager knows that smoke detectors save lives. A good property manager knows the law.

Smoke alarms are compulsory and must be installed in every residential building, on or near the ceiling of every storey and be located in a position designed to wake sleeping occupants. Smoke alarms need to be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers specifications.

In all new residential buildings, constructed on or after 1 August 1997, the smoke alarms must be connected directly to the consumer power mains as well as having a battery back-up. Residential buildings constructed before 1 August 1997, can be fitted with a battery-powered smoke alarm.

A good property manager makes sure the landlord complies and avoids any tragedies. Nobody wants to have any kind of tragedy in their own home or their investment property.

All investment properties must comply with Australian Standards 1993; AS 3786 installed as per the Building Code of Australia Part (2006) Regulations.

This is not just establishing that a property has a smoke alarm. Landlords must ensure the property has the required number of smoke alarms, the location is correct as per the Building Code and Australian Standards are met, and all are working and maintained and not past their 10-year expiry date.

It is landlord's responsibility to ensure smoke alarms are installed and kept in a good working condition. The legislation prohibits the transfer of this responsibility to the tenant. As a result, tenant(s) can take action to ensure compliance with the Regulations.

A good property manager ensures that the landlord is not fined.

A good property manager knows that industry bodies recommend that agents on behalf of the landlord engage an independent contractor to maintain smoke alarms in rental properties. Proper testing of smoke alarms requires more than just pushing a button. And with 7 out of 10 smoke alarms not operating properly in the event of a fire, it's just too important to ignore.

A good property manager will ensure the professional inspector will do the following during their Smoke Alarm Inspections to ensure compliance?

The preservation of records detailing that the property is compliant with current smoke detector legislation. This includes smoke detector positioning according to the Building Code of Australia and compliance with the Australian Standards AS 3786-1993

Cleaning detector and surrounding areas
Battery replacement
Decibel testing
Smoke test to ensure effective operation of the detector
Replacement of faulty and expired smoke detectors
Leaving information card for occupant upon completion of the smoke detector service

Sometimes a property manager has to take on a broader role than just following the law on behalf of the landlord. In older properties there have ben countless cases of tenants actually removing the batteries from detectors because of annoying warning beeps when the battery is wearing out. The property manager has to educate the tenants on the value of the detectors as well as checking that they replace the batteries.

Make sure you choose a good property manager.

Toni Planinsek, principal of Planinsek Property Group, is happy to answer any queries through social media - Facebook and LinkedIn. She has prepared some free offers to help you on your road to becoming a successful property investor. To access yours go to

This article was published on 15 Oct 2014 and has been viewed 1139 times
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