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  • Smoke Alarms

    Some one mentioned to me the other day that it was a legal requirement for Landlords to install smoke alarms in rental properties. Can anyone confirm if this is correct?? It makes good sense to have them in for both yourself and tenant but wondered about the legal requirement and who is responsable for ensuring battery is okay if they are stipulated.

    Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory - General George S. Patton

  • #2
    Hi Gobbers.

    Welcome to PropertyTalk.

    I am not aware of it being a legal requirement. Maybe in commercial buildings or motels etc. But I dont think it is a legal requirement in residential property.

    However as you say, it is a very good idea. I always install one or 2.

    The tenants have a habit of taking the batteries out for 2 main reasons. They choose to smoke inside (which I dont like) or you place the smoke alarm to close to the kitchen which keeps setting it off.


    • #3
      The NZ Fire Service has regulations on this. Can't remember the exact details but if there are a minimum number of units in a building (4 I think), then you must have certain fire safety equipment - could be alarms and extinguishers.

      Actually smoke alarms may not be required (in at least older buildings) but if you provide them, they have to be maintained.

      New buildings will have to comply will all appropriate regulations.

      Would be worth finding a link to these rules.

      My experience here is with running a bodycorp for a block of 8 units in a 70's building. It had hose reels, fire switches/alarms, and extinguishers in each unit; but no smoke alarms. There were monthly checks required, 6-monthly fire trials, yearly IQP checks (on equipment). Stuff that most rental properties won't need to worry about.


      • #4
        Originally posted by RentMaster
        or you place the smoke alarm to close to the kitchen which keeps setting it off.
        Even steam from a shower can set some detectors off.



        • #5
          I believe there is a requirement of sorts as I had an inspection of one of my properties in a body corp where we had to install an additional one (there were two - three already) to comply with fire regulations.

          The inspection was done by a council authority to ensure the building met certain standards.



          • #6
            That is interesting that some people have required smoke alarms.

            I have a home in a body corporate structure, which did not have any smoke alarms. I chose to install some anyway. However the body corporate has not made a mention that they are required, and have never check for them. The home is in a block of 8.


            • #7
              Hi Rentmaster

              You may wish to check with your local authorities.

              Are your bodycorp units standalone. Or in one building structure.
              If one building structure, you should check urgently about the requirements.
              And do you have any other reqts: fire trials, extinguishers etc.


              • #8
                I think you can get types that have a 'disable' button after they go off - they stay disabled for about 10 minutes after pressed. Could be a good idea as tenants might press that button instead of throwing the thing over the balcony (as my tenant did).


                • #9
                  Hi Guys

                  Interesting article in this morning's Dominion about smoke alarms in apartments:

                  Apartment residents risk death silencing fire alarms

                  MONDAY , 31 JANUARY 2005

                  By ADRIAN BATHGATE
                  Apartment residents are risking death by disconnecting fire alarms to avoid paying stiff callout fees when fire engines are sent to false alarms.

                  A woman who ignored an alarm in her apartment building, thinking it was yet another false one, soon after opened her door to a smoke-filled corridor.

                  Fire Service engineer Russell Dickson – now working fulltime to curb the number of false alarms – said the problem was getting worse for firefighters, especially with the growing numbers of central city apartments. The apartment resident who ignored the alarm had to be evacuated through a fourth floor window, Mr Dickson said. "It's only a matter of time before we get a serious situation."

                  While Auckland had the biggest proportion of false alarms at apartment buildings, about a third of central city callouts, Wellington was catching up.

                  It is leading to big bills for some apartment residents. The Fire Service allows two false alarms a year per building. After that, it charges $1000 plus gst for each unwanted activation – a cost usually met by the residents. One building was up to $25,000 worth of calls in a year, Mr Dickson said.

                  To try to get around it, some apartment residents deactivated their alarms or smoke detectors. Others ignored ringing alarms.

                  The problem, Mr Dickson said, was caused by many developers installing "type 4" alarms, the minimum standard required. These activated through an entire building.

                  But the Fire Service recommended more advanced "type 5" systems that could be isolated to a particular apartment. Unless a fire spread, there was no need to evacuate the building and have it cleared by the Fire Service.

                  "What this means is if one person burns their toast, the whole building isn't out standing on the street," Mr Dickson said. While type 4 alarms were sufficient under the building code, the Fire Service had argued for years the minimum should be type 5.

                  The type 4 alarms, often combined with bad building planning that meant cooking fumes were not properly vented, could lead to a situation where alarms were repeatedly activated. Mr Dickson estimated about half of new apartments had type 4 systems.

                  A Building and Housing Department spokesman said both type 4 and 5 alarms satisfied the performance criteria under the building code and it was up to designers to pick the appropriate system. The department was in discussions with the Fire Service on the issue.
                  "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx


                  • #10
                    Smoke alarms

                    While this may be an old topic,I have only seen it.
                    The Building Code advises when any new work is carried out in a house and ,requires a building consent part of the requirements will be to ensure smoke alarms,that is with battery are installed. The Fire Service recommends that people should consider installing the hard wired smoke alarm. This means if the battery is removed as long as there is power to the house the smoke alarm will work. This is only for houses not for commercial properties. The Fire Service only have legal teeth in housing when a house or building is used as sleeping accommodation and that has more that 5 people sleeping in it. It is called the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Building Regs 1992, as well as the Fire Service Act 1975 21A
                    Whatever the requirements how much is a life worth, early warning can also prevent further damage to your propertyby waring the occupants at home. Remember when you are asleep,the sense of smell ceases to work. A working smoke alarm is a small price for peace of mind. I am a Fire Safety Officer,in the Fire Service, hope this helps for those who read it


                    • #11
                      we've had a final inspection, and are required to install "hush" smoke detectors. I'd love to find the building regs on line so i can find out what standard is required for the smoke detectors. it's all a bit vague - how many, where, what type etc.


                      • #12
                        think i found it - they're called the Building Code Compliance Documents, and can be found >>here<<


                        • #13
                          A smoke alarms is a device that detects smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial, industrial, and mass residential devices issue a signal to a fire alarm system, while household detectors, known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half.


                          • #14
                            Really thought it was what you set on your phone to remind you to have a smoke.


                            • #15
                              Can we get posts by Alliee removed/blocked? They're just spamming for links.
                              You can find me at: Energise Web Design