To enhance safety and minimise loss-of-life in building fires, the NSW Parliament enacted the Building Legislation Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act in July 2005. The Act allows regulations to be made to require smoke alarms to be installed in existing buildings in which people sleep.

A smoke alarm is an effective early warning device designed to detect smoke and alert building occupants to the presence of a fire. Installed in the correct location, it increases the time available for safe escape.
From 1 May 2006, when the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006 came into effect, owners of residential property are responsible for ensuring smoke alarms are installed.

The Smoke Alarms Regulation specifies which types of buildings will need smoke alarms installed, the types of alarms, where they are to be located and other matters. Contact details for more information about the requirements under the Regulation are listed in this factsheet.

Changes to fair trading laws

Several fair trading laws and regulations have been revised as a result of the new smoke alarm laws and this information summarises these changes for the people that are affected.

Landlords and tenants

Under the Residential Tenancies Act and the Residential Tenancies (Residential Premises) Regulation:
IMPORTANT – Owners of residential property who rent out their premises as holiday accommodation are responsible for installing smoke alarms and replacing batteries.

Under the Residential Parks Regulation: The above obligations on park owners equally apply to residents who sub-let their moveable dwellings.

Strata scheme lot owners

In a strata scheme:
Lot owners who rent out their strata scheme residential property should note their responsibilities as landlords in relation to smoke alarms under the Residential Tenancies Act and the Residential Tenancies (Residential Premises) Regulation.

Operators and residents of retirement villages

Under the Retirement Villages Regulation: