The Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 came into effect in Queensland in 2017 to provide for the prevention of fires and other incidental emergencies; and to establish a framework for the management of compliant fire safety. If a property is not in compliance with current fire safety requirements, it places home owners and occupants at a significant risk.
From 1 January 2022, any residential owner who enters an agreement to sell or lease their property must comply with the following legislative requirements. Please note this is applicable for properties built before 31 December 2016.
The owner of residential property must install smoke alarms which comply with the following:
- be powered in a way prescribed by regulation;
- comply with other requirements prescribed by regulation;
- have been manufactured less than 10 years before the smoke alarm is installed;
- operate when tested; and
- be interconnected to every other smoke alarm installed in the domestic dwelling.
It is important to note that the above requirements can be enforced if existing, incoming and subsequent owners of property do not comply with smoke alarm requirements.
Selling Residential Property From 1 January 2022
From 1 January 2022, all residential property owners must install compliant smoke alarms in the property before they sign a contract to sell the property. If an owner sells their property without compliant smoke alarms installed, they will be in breach of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 and may face legal penalties. This also applies to the incoming and subsequent owners of the property.
There is a contractual obligation for the sellers to notify the buyer that compliant smoke alarms are installed in the property. The Queensland Titles Office is notified about the smoke alarms in the property from the transfer forms which transfer the property to the new owner. If the owner states anything false or misleading they may face legal penalties.
It is recommended that owners discuss the above requirements with their real estate agent prior to signing a contract to sell their property.
Leasing Residential Property From 1 January 2022
From 1 January 2022, any property subject to a new or renewed residential tenancy agreement must have compliant smoke alarms. The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 states that the owner must not breach any law dealing with issues regarding health and safety. Therefore, if the owner does not install compliant smoke alarms and signs or renews a tenancy agreement from 1 January 2022, the tenant may be entitled to terminate the agreement or apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to seek an order for the owner to install compliant smoke alarms.
It is recommended that property managers confirm with their that the properties they manage with tenancy agreements commencing from 1 January 2022 are fitted with compliant smoke alarms.
There may be insurance implications for owners of residential property where damage occurs due to non-compliance with fire safety laws. From 1 January 2022, owners will be in breach of the fire safety laws if they enter an agreement relating to their property without compliant smoke alarms installed.
Insurers may refuse to negotiate competitive premiums or potentially decline policies where it has been found that an owner has not complied with fire safety laws.
From a Buyers perspective, it is important to note that in standard Queensland contracts, the property is at the their risk from 5:00pm on the first business day after the contract date. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that buyers contact your relevant insurance provider to discuss your insurance cover and ensure they are aware of any risk they may face, especially if they enter an agreement where the property does not have compliant smoke alarms installed.
Key Points to Consider
- From 1 January 2022, all residential property owners have the responsibility to install compliant smoke alarms in the property to comply with the current fire safety lawsbefore they sign a contract for sale.
- From 1 January 2022, owners have the responsibility to install compliant smoke alarms in the property before they sign or renew a lease.
- When it comes to installing the compliant smoke alarms in the property, ensure a qualified tradesperson installs the correct model of smoke alarms in accordance with the Queensland Government’s regulations.
- The next approaching deadline is 31 December 2026 where all residential properties in Queensland must have installed compliant smoke alarms in the property.
As always, Affinity Lawyers have an experienced and professional team in place ready to assist with any of your conveyancing needs, so feel free to telephone our Gold Coast office today on 07 5563 8970 to discuss your specific requirements.