Don’t be blind to smoke alarm laws

Residential property owners in WA need to be on the ball when it comes to smoke alarms and the laws governing them.

The recent house fire in Thornlie, where two lives were lost, is a tragic and timely reminder of the importance of the alarms as in that case the alarm was found not to be working.

Western Australian laws require the owner of a dwelling to have compliant smoke alarms and residual current devices (RCDs) installed before selling, transferring ownership, renting or hiring the dwelling.

The smoke alarms must be in working order, less than 10 years old and in most cases, permanently connected to mains power.  

“If the vendor of a dwelling has failed to comply, the laws allow the new owner to have compliant smoke alarms installed and can recover the costs of doing so,” Building Commissioner Ken Bowron said.

Smoke alarm laws also apply to residential buildings hired out on a casual or short-term basis such as those through the Airbnb website and other similar tourist accommodation.

Landlords of rental properties must also ensure there are compliant smoke alarms fitted and maintained.

“Tenants should report any concerns they have about smoke alarms to their landlord or managing agent in the first instance,” Mr Bowron said.

“Owners intending to sell rent or hire their dwellings also need to ensure that there are at least two RCDs installed to protect all power points and lighting circuits.”

Check out further information in the Smoke Alarm Laws fact sheet or the RCD fact sheet by visiting or email or call Building and Energy Division on 1300 489 099.


Media Contact: Phone 0466 409 828 or email

Building and Energy
Media release
27 Jun 2018

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