Buying smoke alarms
On 1 January 2017, new laws about smoke alarms commenced in Queensland.
As of this date, all new and substantially renovated homes must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms (compliant with Australian Standard 3786) installed.
The smoke alarms must be:
- in every bedroom
- in hallways that connect bedrooms
- on each level of the home.
If a homeowner replaces a smoke alarm, it must be replaced with a compliant interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm. From 1 January 2022, these requirements will apply to all houses leased and sold, and from 1 January 2027, they will apply to all homes.
Read more about smoke alarms.
Avoid dodgy traders
Dodgy traders may try to take advantage of the new requirements for smoke alarms.
Protect yourself by making sure you know the requirements for your home.
It's illegal for a business or trader to tell you something that's false or misleading. This includes:
- in all advertising, for example on their website or on a leaflet dropped in mailboxes
- in emails, letters or text messages you receive
- on shelf or other in-store labelling or signage
- on product packaging
- in conversations with you.
Examples of illegal business practices
Here are some examples of illegal things a dodgy business might try to say or do. You should also double-check any information passed on to you by your real estate agent or body corporate manager.
Saying you need to immediately pay to upgrade your smoke alarms.
Only new or substantially renovated homes, where the building application was submitted on or after 1 January 2017, need to be compliant. Other dwellings have longer to become compliant (as above).
Telling tenants that they are responsible for making the dwelling compliant.
Making the dwelling compliant is the responsibility of the owner.
Saying a licensed electrician must perform the installation.
There are compliant smoke alarms available (e.g. wireless alarms) which don't need electrical work to be carried out during installation. A licensed electrician will need to be engaged if the installation involves electrical work.
Saying incorrect things about the law
Saying a smoke alarm is compliant with the law when it isn’t, or saying a smoke alarm isn’t compliant with the law when it is― for example, to get you to buy a more expensive product. Saying that you need more smoke alarms installed than the law says you do.
Saying you are no longer allowed to test your own smoke alarms
Saying you need a qualified technician or electrician to test your smoke alarms. You may test your own smoke alarms.
Door-to-door and telephone sales
There are extra rules business need to follow if they want to sell products or services by approaching you without invitation, either door-to-door or over the phone.
- not approach a residence displaying a ‘do not knock’ notice
- not phone a number on the ‘do not call’ register
- not contact you during restricted hours
- tell you certain things upfront, including why they are visiting or calling
- give you a written agreement
- give you a 10 business day cooling-off period
- not take any payment during the cooling-off period
- not supply any goods over the value of $500 or supply any services at all.
Be wary of any unsolicited offer for smoke alarms you might get via a phone call, text message or email.
Scammers may try to:
- direct you to a website to fill in your personal or financial details
- convince you to pay money for inferior or non-compliant smoke alarms
- suggest you are eligible for a rebate or free smoke alarms.
Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Find more information about recognising and avoiding scams.
Supply and demand
By 2027, every residential dwelling in Queensland will need to have compliant smoke alarms installed.
Given this demand for products, it’s possible supply will be limited or prices will rise, especially near the cut-off dates of 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2027.
The Queensland Government doesn’t set the prices for smoke alarms. Businesses can set their own prices.
To avoid any possible supply and demand issues, we strongly recommend you don’t wait until the last minute to make your home compliant.
Make a complaint
If you believe a business is making misleading statements about smoke alarms, or breaching door-to-door trading rules, you can report it to us.