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New laws for landlords now in place

By Staff Reporter
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As of today, investors with rental properties in Tasmania are expected to adhere to newly altered rules, according to the state government.

The minister for consumer protection, Nick McKim, has previously announced that smoke alarms will be required in all residential rental properties.

The new requirements are contained in the Residential Tenancy Amendment Act 2012 and Residential Tenancy (Smoke Alarms) Regulations 2012.

“Smoke alarms significantly reduce the risk of death, serious injury, property damage and financial loss caused by house fires,” said Mr McKim.

“This transitional arrangement reduces the immediate cost to property owners and allows them three years to budget and arrange for mains powered or ten-year non-removable battery alarms to be installed.”

From 1 May 2013 until 30 April 2016, smoke alarms must be installed in tenanted premises. They can be battery powered or mains powered, provided they comply with AS 3786-1993. This applies to numerous dwellings, including houses, town houses, villas, units, guest houses, apartments and blocks of flats.

Consumer Affairs Fair Trading Tasmania noted “The Act provides that for the first three years from commencement, nine volt removable battery alarms will comply with the legislation. However, after the initial three-year transition period, alarms must be either mains powered, or 10-year non removable battery alarms in order to comply. Wednesday 1 May 2013 has now been set as the date for commencement of these requirements.”

From 1 May 2016, they will need to be mains powered or fitted with a 10-year non-removable battery alarm.

New responsibilities for investors have been outlined in a fact sheet by Consumer Affairs Tasmania, and tenant requirements have been further outlined.

“Until now, tenants have been required to seek the approval of the property owner to install smoke alarms in their rental properties. However, the amendments shift this responsibility from tenants to owners and make the installation of alarms mandatory,” Mr McKim said.

“These requirements are all about safety - the safety of tenants and their belongings as well as the safety of rental properties,” he continued.

Research cited by the minister said without a smoke alarm, when a fire occurs, the owner is 57 per cent more likely to experience property loss or damage.

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