Here are some answers to the most commonly raised questions:

1. Important information to know about smoke alarms:
– The REIV says it is the landlords responsibility to make sure smoke alarms are correctly operational.
– There are building regulations relating to the placement of alarms
– Alarms must be replaced periodically when not working or if their expiry date is exceeded
– Having a contracting company ensures the alarms are correctly serviced and the above issues are addressed
– The service ensures their tenants are protected and demonstrates that they are being responsible for their duty of care to their tenants

2. Is a landlord obliged to have their smoke alarms maintained by a contractor?
– The landlord is obliged to ensure their premises comply with relevant building codes, including the correct installation of smoke alarms.
– The REIV recommend that the smoke alarms in rental properties be regularly maintained by a contractor.

3. Why do smoke alarms need maintenance and replacement?
– Smoke alarms have expiry dates indicating when they need to be replaced (at most, every 10 years but earlier in some instances)
– Periodic maintenance is needed to ensure correct operation for the purpose of smoke detection and to ensure the alarms operate as intended by the manufacturer. Dust, small bugs etc. can render smoke alarms much less effective in detecting smoke.

4. How many smoke alarms does a residential property need?
– By law, every residential property must have smoke alarms installed. How many smoke alarms will depend on the floor plan of each property, the property construction type and how many levels the property has.

5. Who is responsible for smoke alarms and their maintenance within rental properties?
– Both the REIV and the Building Commission identify the Landlord is responsible for the installation of smoke alarms and their maintenance – not the tenant
– A property manager may potentially take on some of this responsibility when listing/leasing a property on behalf of the landlord.
– This service is designed with risk management/minimization in mind.

6. Why should the service be implemented into a real estate rent roll?
– It was announced in 1997 every residential property in Victoria must have smoke alarms installed.
– Over 10 years have past since the introduction of this law, resulting in many existing smoke alarms in rental properties being past their expiry date
– To help with risk management within your rent roll

7. What if a tenant refuses entry:
– All Smarthouse Fire Solutions technicians wear an id tag, a cap and uniform with the Smarthouse Fire Solutions logo.
– The service will generally take no longer than 20 minutes.
– A specific appointment time is made with the tenant to avoid tenants waiting for an extended period of time.
– Appointment times are flexible.

8. How often is the service conducted?
– The service is conducted annually.

9. Does the service apply to 240 Volt, hard-wired smoke alarms?
– Yes. 240 Volt smoke alarms contain back-up batteries that must be replaced, and they must be cleaned and tested in the same manner as 9 Volt battery operated alarms. 240 Volt smoke alarms also have expiry dates after which they must be replaced.

10. When will a new smoke alarm be installed?
– Only where an existing alarm does not operate (ie. is faulty), exceeds its expiry date or where no alarm exists and one is required.

11. What type of smoke alarms will be installed?
– We use Ionisation and Photoelectric smoke alarms which are standard for most residential applications.

12. Is Smarthouse Fire Solutions insured for public liability and professional indemnity?
– Yes

13. How is private information handled?
– Any information provided by an agent is held in the strictest confidence and under no circumstances is given to external parties.

14. Are Smarthouse Fire Solutions staff trained?
– All Smarthouse Fire Solutions staff are extensively trained, constantly tested and kept up to date with any changes.