Tampering with Smoke Alarms
It goes without saying that every rental property requires a working smoke alarm or detector. However, when it comes to the legalities surrounding information about smoke alarms in your rental properties, things can get a bit hazy. Section 13a of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) outlines minimum requirements for tenancy agreements but doesn’t explicitly mention the necessity of disclosing information about fire alarms. Additionally, the 2016 Smoke Alarm Regulations are also silent on this matter.
So, what does this mean for you as a landlord? What happens when a tenant claims that the landlord hasn’t provided information about the fire alarm in the tenancy agreement?
In a recent case, a tenant raised concerns that their landlord had neglected to include information about the fire alarm in the tenancy agreement. This situation landed in the tenancy tribunal, which ultimately ruled that the landlord had no legal obligation to provide such information under section 13a. As a result, the tenant’s claim was dismissed.
While there may be no legal requirement, it’s evident that a professional norm has developed around smoke alarms in rental properties. Landlords, like yourself, have an obligation to ensure smoke alarms are working at all times and adding information on the tenancy agreement about expiry dates provides another layer of assurance.
Here at OneCiti, we always insert the smoke alarm clause in our tenancy agreements. This proactive step ensures that should a tenancy dispute reach the tribunal, the responsibility and cost of reinstating or replacing smoke alarms would fall on the tenant. Without a clearly defined clause in the agreement, the adjudicator may pass on the cost to you.