NSW Smoke Alarm Legislation

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Your free guide to New South Wales smoke alarm legislation.

Australia’s smoke alarm legislation is complex and ever evolving. Smoke Alarm Solutions aims to give property owners peace of mind by being the experts in legislation and compliance, so you don’t have to be. However, the key requirements have been summarised here, so you are informed of your obligations.

Quick Links – See legal requirements for:

Property Managers Landlords Tenants Home Sellers Owner Occupiers

New South Wales Smoke Alarm Legislation – Overview

Property owners need to be aware that when it comes to smoke alarm maintenance, they need to adhere to two pieces of regulations: Federal requirements and state-based requirements.

Rental Properties

What Landlords and Property Managers need to know

General smoke alarm responsibilities

In NSW, functioning smoke alarms must be installed in certain locations of a rental property. They must be installed on every level of the home and they must all meet the appropriate Australian Standard.

Maintenance responsibilities

Since 1 May 2006, under Division 7A of Part 9 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, smoke alarms meeting Australian Standard AS 3786 must be installed in all NSW buildings where people sleep. This includes owner occupied homes, rental properties, relocatable homes, caravans and camper-vans.

Additional maintenance responsibilities

Since  23 March 2020, NSW landlords, agents and tenants have had additional smoke alarm maintenance responsibilities, which are listed below.

  • Smoke alarms are to be checked every year to ensure they are in working order.
  • Smoke alarms are to be replaced before their expiry – within 10 years of manufacture.
  • Smoke alarms that have a replaceable battery must have their batteries replaced:
    • At the commencement of a tenancy
    • At least once a year
  • Smoke alarms that are not in working order must be repaired (including replacing a battery) or replaced within two business days.

If a landlord needs to inspect or assess a smoke alarm for repair, a minimum of two business days’ notice to the tenant is required. At least one hour notice is required to carry out works to repair or replace a smoke alarm.

Need a smoke alarm maintenance solution for your rental properties?

Smoke Alarm Solutions will help you meet your legal responsibilities with our professional, affordable, and time-saving service and installation solutions.

See Solutions for Agents

Selling a Property

What Home Sellers and Sales Agents need to know

Seller obligations

Property owners must ensure their properties have working smoke alarms that are correctly installed. Smoke alarms must be installed on each storey and between each part of the property containing bedrooms and the remainder of the property.

It is best practice to have the smoke alarms checked in a property you are selling or buying to check if they meet legislative requirements.

Would you like a smoke alarm compliance certificate for a property you’re selling?

Smoke Alarm Solutions will help you meet your legal responsibilities with our professional, affordable, and time-saving service and installation solutions.

See Solutions for Sales Agents

Owners Legislation

What Owner Occupiers need to know

Maintenance responsibilities

Homeowners should regularly test, clean and change the batteries in their smoke alarms as best practice to ensure the safety of the property’s occupants. Homeowners are required to replace any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested and any that were manufactured more than 10 years ago. Replacement alarms must meet Australian standard AS 3786:2014. If the previously installed alarm was hardwired, it must be replaced with a hardwired alarm.

Current smoke alarm requirements

Currently, smoke alarms in owner-occupied properties should, at minimum, be installed on each storey and between each part of the property containing bedrooms and the remainder of the property. Smoke alarms must be placed in hallways near bedrooms; however, if bedrooms are in different parts of the house, you must have alarms installed in each of these locations. If there are no hallways associated with the bedrooms, alarms must be installed between the part of the home containing the bedroom and the rest of the house. You must have smoke alarms on all levels of your home even if there are no bedrooms located on that level.


Tenant FYIs

Tenants also have responsibilities when it comes to smoke alarm compliance within the property they are renting.

  • Tenants must notify their landlord or agent if they discover that a smoke alarm is not working (this includes when the battery needs to be changed).
  • Tenants must notify their landlord when they change a battery in a smoke alarm or engage a licensed electrician to repair or replace an alarm. 
View Tenants FAQs

Legislation References

Federal Legislation

Property owners must ensure their property is properly fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms, complying with the Australian Standard (3786:2014), and they are installed as outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA). This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia.

State Legislation

Current Requirements means the legislative requirements stipulated by the New South Wales Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979; Residential Tenancies Act 2010; the Strata Management Act 2015; and the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2017 applicable to existent smoke alarms and smoke alarm installations and related electrical work (if applicable).

General Note

Considerations around compliance of the smoke alarms at the Inspection Address are the types of smoke alarms and smoke alarm installations, build dates, including dates of significant renovations, and building classes.

Glossary of Terms

Dwellings – houses, townhouses, and units.
Storey – levels of a dwelling.
Photoelectric – the way a smoke alarm detects smoke.
Hardwired – smoke alarm is wired into a dwelling’s electricity supply.
Interconnected – smoke alarms are connected (via wires or wireless) so that when one sounds they all sound.
AS 3786-2014 – An Australian standard applicable to smoke alarms. This standard specifies requirements, test methods and functional criteria for smoke alarms that operate using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization.

Other best practice safety checks

Corded Window Checks

Property owners who have blinds or curtains that have cords installed in their properties should ensure they meet safety requirements. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) identified a major hazard with loop cord systems of 220mm or greater that hang at or lower than 1600mm from the floor as young children face the risk of strangulation. As a result, the ACCC issued Mandatory Standards known as The Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard – Corded Internal Window Coverings) Regulations 2010 which regulate the design, construction and labelling of corded window furnishings.

Cords should have warning labels attached and should be fitted with devices that prevent cords from hanging down.

Smoke Alarm Solutions offers corded window checks as an additional service offering – we inspect all the corded windows in your property and identify any that may be a potential hazard and install devices to stop the cords hanging down if necessary.

Safety Switch Function Tests

A safety switch is a device that will switch off the electricity supply if a possible electrical fault is detected. This is to help prevent electric shock and electricity related fires. Property owners must have safety switches installed in their properties.

It is best practice to have these safety switches regularly tested to ensure they are operating correctly. Smoke Alarm Solutions offers safety switch function testing as an additional service offering. At the smoke alarm inspection, our field team member will also push test the safety switch and report whether it passed or failed.

Water Meter Reading Service

Smoke Alarm Solutions offers a water meter reading service as an add-on to some of our packages. Whilst onsite to carry out compliance work, if requested, our technicians can also locate the water meter and read both the standard and recycled usage. This service proves particularly valuable for properties situated in specific Australian jurisdictions where tenants can be held accountable for excessive water consumption. It is important to note that certain conditions must be met for eligibility, including individual metering and adherence to specific water efficiency requirements. To determine the suitability of this service for your specific situation, we recommend consulting your property manager who can provide additional guidance.