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Buying or selling? Get the right advice

Smoke detectors in rental properties

By ps0104 18 June 2010 20

Hi everyone,

I have tried to google an answer to this question with no luck.

Does anybody know what the law says in the ACT with regards to smoke detectors in rental properties? I live in an apartment complex that was built around 1999-2000ish and my apartment does not have any smoke detectors.

I know in several other states it is the responsibility of the landlord to fit smoke detectors in a rental property.

Am I within my rights to ask the landlord to fit smoke detectors or is it something I will have to foot the bill for myself?

Thanks for your help

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Smoke detectors in rental properties
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Pandy 11:19 am 20 Jun 10

What ever you do, get the landloards permission 1st and in writting. If you drill into the ceiling and then take the smoke detector away, you will be up for the cost to fix and repaint the ceiling. Trust me on this that depending upon the paint, you cannot just patch things up and expect not to notice that it looks like a slap and dash fix.

Mr Evil 11:37 pm 18 Jun 10

LurkerGal said :

A smoke detector will cost you about $12. We rent, and none were in place, so we bought 4 of them and put them on top of various cupboards.

Cheap, and works well (at least, they seem too whenever I forget about the toaster…)

It’s worth shelling out a few bucks for your own safety.

I would advise you to place the detectors on the ceiling, where they have a much better opportunity to detect the smoke from a fire quickly enough so that you will have a greater chance of escaping in time before becoming overcome by smoke.

Because smoke rises, a detector on a ceiling will pick it up much quicker than one located on a wall or elsewhere. Even though you may have your detectors located within 20-30cm of the ceiling, that could still make a big difference between life and death. Plus, being on top of cupboards may allow them to collect dust and lint, which may also negatively affect their performance.

Badly installed detectors are nearly as bad as having no detectors at all.

glennmatthew 11:01 pm 18 Jun 10

I remember my apartment complex in Sydney getting a semi-regular check by the authorities for fire safety stuff, but NSW is moving towards hardwired smoke detectors with backup battery.

Perhaps you could point out there is no smoke detector to the landlord – who probably doesn’t realise because they don’t live there – and ask if they will reimburse you the $12 if you buy one from Bunnings?

If not, then you could buy one yourself and just take it with you.

urchin 7:16 pm 18 Jun 10

dvaey said :

#3 +100

People seem to think that because theyre in a rental place (especially public housing tennants Ive found), that theyre entitled to everything for free.

really? i don’t see anyone asking for anything for free. i reckon all of these people are paying rent. this rent covers a range of services. they are entirely within their rights to demand that the landlord live up to his/her obligations under the contract.

considering that we have some of the highest rents and crappiest houses in the country i don’t think it is at all unreasonable. lord knows that plenty of landlords follow the precise letter of the law (and more) when it means more money for them–why should tenants be different?

Postalgeek 6:46 pm 18 Jun 10

Wouldn’t it be ironic if there was a fire in your apartment while you were waiting for the landlord to install a fire alarm installed because you were too tight to buy one yourself.

dvaey 3:10 pm 18 Jun 10

Aurelius said :

Dvaey,
You’ve never worked the phones at an ISP, have you?
Same thing happens there.

Strangely enough, I have, it tends to be some sort of entitlment syndrome. Funnily enough, those trying to pay less tend to complain more too.

James-T-Kirk 2:48 pm 18 Jun 10

Looks like I am being undercut – DAM COMPETITION……

Install 42.50 – battery check $18.25 No need for cuteness…

luther_bendross 2:28 pm 18 Jun 10

Yeah I think I agree with everyone else here. Yes, your landlord is probably required by law to install them. But for less then $15 you can buy a device that will potentially save your life and all your belongings. Fork out the coin now, find out what you’re entitled to later.

I will also offer to install them, but for the budget price of $45, battery checks at $19.95. Your move Kirk.

James-T-Kirk 2:03 pm 18 Jun 10

I am very happy to install smoke detectors for you for a small fee of $50.

I will also check your battery every year for $25… Free if your Missus is extremely cute…

Aurelius 1:41 pm 18 Jun 10

dvaey said :

People seem to think that because theyre in a rental place (especially public housing tennants Ive found), that theyre entitled to everything for free. I wonder if these same people would go out and buy a $1000 car, then throw a hissy fit at a car dealer because they have to pay to have it fixed, instead of just having someone else pay their way.

Dvaey,
You’ve never worked the phones at an ISP, have you?
Same thing happens there.

niceplacetolive 1:33 pm 18 Jun 10

Stop your whinging. Ask the landlord for one, and if they don’t install one ask if you can install one yourself. Pay your rent on time. All will be good.

You start throwing weight around by Law this and law that, and you’ll rightfully get known as a difficult tenant.

Get over it and start treating your safety as something you can manage rather than pushing liability to others!

LurkerGal 12:55 pm 18 Jun 10

A smoke detector will cost you about $12. We rent, and none were in place, so we bought 4 of them and put them on top of various cupboards.

Cheap, and works well (at least, they seem too whenever I forget about the toaster…)

It’s worth shelling out a few bucks for your own safety.

ThatGuy 12:31 pm 18 Jun 10

Uhhh I don’t see the OP complaining or bitching about how the landlord hasn’t done anything. They’re simply asking for advice.

The amount of landlords who treat good tenants poorly is equal to the amount of tenants who treat properties poorly or have inflated senses of entitlement.

If you start letting landlords breach legislation built around the safety of tenants then it’s a very slippery slope from there on in.

Furthermore, a question of responsibility over fire detectors in an apartment complex could highlight incompliance to BCA. As stated the complex was built in the late 90s early 00s. I’m almost sure that all new dwellings required fire detectors post mid 90s(?). If the builders didn’t comply in one apartment then there’s a good chance they didn’t comply in the rest. One late night fire in a complex with no detectors….well that’s going to be a big bbq.

S4anta 11:56 am 18 Jun 10

bergamot said :

Sorry – getting a bit sick of tenants who seem to think they have zero responsibility for their own safety / warmth etc.

+100.

dvaey 11:55 am 18 Jun 10

#3 +100

People seem to think that because theyre in a rental place (especially public housing tennants Ive found), that theyre entitled to everything for free. I wonder if these same people would go out and buy a $1000 car, then throw a hissy fit at a car dealer because they have to pay to have it fixed, instead of just having someone else pay their way.

As you properly point out, smoke detectors cost hardly anything and the fireys will install them for free. I suppose the OP would also be expecting the landlord to send someone out every 6 months with new batteries for their detectors too? And heaven forbid if the tennant had to pay for their own batteries.

Katie 11:29 am 18 Jun 10

In my experience (2 separate rental properties), they will request you purchase and have the alarms installed (by firemen) and they will reimburse you the cost of the purchase.

bergamot 11:16 am 18 Jun 10

Don’t know what the law says about this, but I am quite sure that it is only new houses that are now required to have smoke detectors before things are legal.

You can ask your landlord for anything you want, but you know what, you can pick up perfectly good smoke detectors for about $10 from bunnings. It would cost your landlord probably a couple hundred dollars by the time they source someone to go and buy the items and then have them installed in the apartment. Suck it up people!

Sorry – getting a bit sick of tenants who seem to think they have zero responsibility for their own safety / warmth etc.

troll-sniffer 11:09 am 18 Jun 10

You can ask and you might have luck, if it all gets too hard I think they can be bought for about $12.95 or so, which you can take with you when you leave. Not a biggie methinks.

ThatGuy 10:40 am 18 Jun 10

RiotACT should be getting paid by the Tenat Advisory.

You are well within your rights to ask for one and it should be provided by the landlord. In fact it should really already be there, didn’t the smoke detector act requiring detectors in new buildings get passed in the early 90s?

Only thing to remember is it’s your responsibility test the alarm and to replace the battery if it runs out during your tenancy.

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