Smoke alarms are compulsory in every home under Victorian law. You can buy a compliant smoke alarm at most electrical appliance or hardware stores.
If you own, rent, are building or are renovating a home, you must follow these smoke alarm requirements.
Where to place smoke alarms
In a home, smoke alarms must be installed:
- outside each sleeping area to wake sleeping occupants
- on each storey in a multi-level home, located in the path that people will use to evacuate
- on the ceiling at least 30cm from the wall. If a smoke alarm cannot be installed on the ceiling, it can be placed on a wall as long as it is located between 30cm and no more than 50cm from the ceiling.
Australian fire services recommend smoke alarms also be installed in all living areas, hallways and bedrooms.
By law, if you are a landlord you must make sure that smoke alarms:
- Are correctly installed and in working order.
- Are tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions at least once every 12 months.
- Have their batteries replaced as required.
- Are repaired or replaced as an urgent repair.
Learn more about rental standards on the Consumer Affairs website.
If you are renting a house or unit, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure smoke alarms are installed and in working condition.
Real estate agents may arrange a company to carry out smoke alarm maintenance on behalf of the landlord. However, it’s important you:
- Notify the landlord in writing if a smoke alarm is faulty or not working.
- Leave batteries in the smoke alarm when moving out.
- Do not deactivate, remove a smoke alarm or interfere with its operation in any way.
Learn more about your rights and responsibilities on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
Renovators and home builders' responsibilities
Homes constructed after 1 August 1997 must have smoke alarms connected to 240V mains power and have a backup battery.
Country Fire Authority and Fire Rescue Victoria recommend the use of smoke alarms powered by a 10-year lithium battery that lasts the life of the smoke alarm unit.
Smoke alarms should also be interconnected, so that all smoke alarms will sound when any alarm in your home activates.
Smoke alarms for vulnerable people
Specialised smoke alarms that use tactile and visual stimuli are available for homes with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
You can also connect smoke alarms to a personal alarm system in the homes of older people or people with a disability.
Visit the Expression Australia website for information about the Victorian smoke alarm subsidy providing specialised smoke alarms to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For more information on smoke alarms, visit the Fire Rescue Victoria website.