There are new smoke alarm obligations for landlords and tenants under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

Landlords need to ensure smoke alarms installed in a rented property are in working order.

Under the new Regulation, a landlord must repair/replace a battery-operated or hardwired smoke alarm and:

• carry out annual checks to ensure all smoke alarms installed at the property are in working order
• replace a removable battery in all smoke alarms in the period specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer (for a removable lithium battery) or otherwise annually
• repair/replace a smoke alarm that is not working within 2 business days of becoming aware that it is not working
• provide more than an hour’s notice to the tenant to replace or carry out repairs to the smoke alarm
• replace a smoke alarm with a new smoke alarm within 10 years from the manufactured date, or earlier if specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer.

If the landlord has not carried out their obligations (penalties apply if fail to comply), a tenant is able to do so. If the tenant carries out the replacement of a removable battery or a removable back-up battery, they must:-

• notify the landlord that tenant will replace the battery
• replace the battery within 2 business days of the notification
• notify the landlord within 24 hours of replacing the battery in the smoke alarm

A tenant who replaces a removable battery is entitled to reimbursement for repair/replacement of the smoke alarm battery by the landlord within 7 days after giving written notice to the landlord and must provide:-

• details and costs of the repairs/replacement,
• copy of receipt/invoice paid by the tenant
• receipt to be given to the landlord as soon as practicable after the repair/replacement was carried out

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