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What are a landlord’s obligations regarding smoke alarm testing in rental properties?

Smoke detectors can be life-saving devices that detect smoke before any sleeping occupants. They have the potential to save lives and your property by providing critical seconds to act. All Victorian homes are required to have smoke alarms.

Rental providers must ensure that smoke alarm testing devices are properly placed and functional (landlords). Renters must guarantee that they continue to operate, and if they do not, they must tell their rental business.

Rental providers are required to install smoke alarms

Smoke alarms are required in all Victorian houses, condos, flats, and townhouses. Rental companies are required to install smoke alarms in rented houses.

Buildings built after August 1, 1997, must have hard-wired smoke alarm testing devices with a battery backup. Buildings built before that date are allowed to have a battery-operated smoke alarm.

Rooming house smoke alarm testing devices

Smoke alarms must be hardwired in rooming houses. Learn more about how rooming house owners and operators must comply with gas and electrical safety regulations. A rooming house is a structure that rents out one or more rooms to groups of four or more people.

Why it’s important that smoke alarms are inspected regularly?

Life safety

Regular inspections of smoke alarms are an important safety measure. Ensure they are functioning properly and ready to detect smoke and alert occupants in case of a fire.

Legal obligation

In Melbourne, landlords and property managers are required to have smoke alarms installed. It’s also a requirement that they are maintained and in working order.

Early detection

Smoke alarms play a crucial role in the early detection of fires, which can help reduce damage, prevent injuries, and save lives.


Regular testing can assist in identifying any issues. These may include dead batteries or malfunctions, allowing for timely repairs or replacements.

Broken smoke alarms require immediate repair

If a rental provider receives notification that a smoke alarm is not working, they must arrange for it to be repaired or replaced as a priority. This should be done by someone who is qualified to do it. This may not always imply that the person is qualified.

Changing the battery in a smoke alarm, for example, does not require any particular training. A hard-wired smoke alarm must be installed by a licensed electrician.

The renter or resident can authorise and pay for an urgent repair of up to $2,500 if a rental provider or rooming house operator cannot be reached or does not fix the smoke alarm quickly. They must be reimbursed within seven days by the rental supplier.

Renters’ smoke alarm obligations

  1. A  smoke alarm must not be deactivated, removed, or interfered with by a renter. This is a violation of duty, and a landlord may issue a notice to vacate if a renter, resident, or visitor does so.
  2. If a smoke alarm is malfunctioning or not working, you must notify your landlord as soon as possible.
  3. When moving out, batteries should be left in the smoke alarm.

Smoke alarm testing with landmark inspections

It is not a well-known fact that smoke alarms have an expiration date, however, they do and typically within 10 years of being installed. This means you need to be proactively testing your alarm and having it thoroughly checked on any new property purchase to determine if the alarm is in working order or if it requires replacing.

As part of our vigorous smoke detector testing, we identify the type of detector that has been installed, if it is hard-wired to the electrical system or battery operated, the expiry date of the detector and the location of the detectors to ensure they meet Australian Standards. Our technician will then perform a smoke test on the alarm to ensure it is operating correctly as a final assurance.

The inspector will then complete a detailed report outlining the condition of the smoke detectors and if any issues were identified at the time of inspection so you can then complete any rectifications that are required so your family or tenants can sleep soundly at night knowing that your smoke alarm is fully operational.

Get in touch with Landmark Inspections today and schedule your smoke alarm testing today.