What tenants need to know about smoke alarm maintenance in rental properties

Smoke alarm maintenance for rentals

Working smoke alarms or detectors are compulsory in all rental homes. Using tenancy services as a reliable source of information, here’s what you need to know.

Who is responsible for the maintenance of smoke alarms?

Both landlords and tenants share this responsibility as follows: 

Landlords must ensure smoke alarms:

  • are working at the start of each new tenancy,
  • remain in working order during the tenancy

Tenants must:

  • not damage, remove, or disconnect a smoke alarm,
  • replace dead batteries during the tenancy if there are older-style smoke alarms with replaceable batteries,
  • let the landlord know if there are any problems with the smoke alarms as soon as possible,

What else should you know about smoke alarms?

  • Smoke alarms must be installed within 3 metres of each bedroom door, or in every room where a person sleeps, in each level or story of a multi-story or multi-level home in all rental homes, boarding houses, rental caravans, and self-contained sleep-outs.
  • All new smoke alarms must be photoelectric, have a battery life of at least eight years, or be hard-wired, installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and meet international standards.
  • Existing smoke alarms do not need to be replaced if they are working, and have not passed the expiry date.


  • If landlords don’t meet their obligations, they could face financial penalties of up to $4,000.
  • If tenants don’t meet their obligations they could face financial penalties of up to $3,000.

If you have any queries about the smoke alarms in your rental home, talk to your landlord or to the property manager of your rental.