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Western Australia’s Building Regulations 2012 require owners of residential dwellings to have compliant smoke alarms installed prior to the sale, transfer of ownership, rent or hire of the dwelling.
Changes to the Regulations that come into effect on 23 January 2018 provide an exemption for owners who are transferring ownership to a person intending to demolish the dwelling.
This means the current owner of a dwelling that is subject to transfer of ownership may choose not to install smoke alarms if the new owner has provided a declaration of intended demolition to the current owner before the transfer of ownership.
A declaration of intended demolition is a statutory declaration made by the person to whom the ownership is to be transferred (the new owner), declaring that the person intends to demolish the dwelling within six months, beginning on the transfer day (being the day on which ownership is transferred). A statutory declaration is a written statement that the maker (the new owner) signs and declares to be true before an authorised witness. Further information about statutory declarations is available on the Department of Justice website www.courts.dotag.wa.gov.au.
If the property is not demolished, the new owner must install the required number of smoke alarms within six months of the transfer. Prior owners would have a defence against a charge of not installing smoke alarms prior to the transfer of the dwelling’s ownership if they can prove the new owner gave them a declaration of intended demolition for the dwelling before the transfer day.
This does not remove the requirement for the new owner to install smoke alarms should he or she subsequently decide to rent or hire the dwelling after the transfer.
The Building Regulations 2012 are available on the Parliamentary Counsel's Office website www.legislation.wa.gov.au.
A general Smoke alarm laws fact sheet is available on the Building Commission website www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/building-commission and has been updated to reflect these changes.