Get interconnected smoke alarms – it’s the law from January 1

Get interconnected smoke alarms – it’s the law from January 1

From the start of the new year, landlords must install interconnected smoke alarms in residential rental properties.

Interconnected means when one goes off, they all go off, giving everyone extra time to escape in the event of a fire.

Traditional ionisation smoke alarms need to smell smoke before they alert you, meaning by the time you hear it, it could be too late.

Linked photoelectric smoke alarms can see smoke and alert everyone when it’s still just a smoulder; the extra time that gives can make all difference.

Also known as optical or photo-optical, photoelectric smoke alarms detect visible particles of combustion.

They respond quicker to smouldering fires and the dense smoke given off by foam filled furnishings, or overheated PVC wiring.

As a bonus they’re also not filled with radioactive material, and are not as prone to cooking nuisance alarms.

Australian Standard 3786-2014 photoelectric smoke alarms come with a 10-year non-removable battery, and can be installed by landlords themselves.

But if your existing smoke alarms are hardwired to your building’s power supply you will need to get an electrician to help you replace them with compliant alarms.

Owner occupiers in existing dwellings must transition to full compliance with the law by 2027.

For more information visit


What’s changing for dwellings being sold, leased (including an existing lease being renewed)?

  • All residences must have hardwired 240-volt photoelectric or 10-year lithium battery powered smoke alarms.
  • Alarms must be installed in every bedroom and connecting hallways, or if there is no hallway in a nearby open area, on every level. If there are no bedrooms on a level there should be an alarm on the most likely path of escape.
  • All smoke alarms must be interconnected with each other so they all activate together – these can be done wirelessly (e.g. via short radio frequency) or hardwired.



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