Home Safety – Take Stock this Christmas

Disclaimer: This information is intended to be of a general nature. Please do not rely on any of the content as being a professional tax or legal opinion and seek your own independent advice.

April 1st was commonly the day you changed your smoke alarm battery. Nowadays, Hard-wired Smoke Detectors and Residual Current Devices on all electrical circuits ought to be fitted in every home to ensure your family is protected.

Legislation now mandates that two residual current devices (RCD’s) must be fitted at the time a property is sold or when a new rental lease agreement is formed. Similarly, the same rule applies for the fitting of mains power installed smoke detectors with a battery back-up. These smoke alarms also require replacement every ten years.

It is surprising that I am still be asked by property owners (especially privately rented properties) what the rules are around the installation of the RCD’s and smoke alarms. Fremantle’s older style homes do pose some problems and the cost of fitting either device can be prohibitive in some instances where old wiring is involved. Electricians are normally obliged to make good any faulty or dangerous wiring when inspecting a property so often a re-wire is necessary anyway and unavoidable if leasing or selling.

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There are some concessions to the rules in the event the property is due for demolition or if the property is wired with a single circuit then only one RCD need be fitted but generally the rules are designed to include all properties sold or leased.

These regulations may be extended to include curtain and blind cords so as to eliminate the chance of child strangulation. Precisely what these new laws will look like or how they are regulated has not yet been determined.

These proposed curtain cord regulations join an expanding list of government legally enforceable rules which includes pool and spa fencing, smoke alarms and RCD’s. They are designed to keep us safe and protect life and the penalties for non-compliance are significant ($15,000 for non-compliance with the RCD rules for example).

So this Christmas, perhaps spend some time around your property and consider it from not only its aesthetic value but from a safety point of view. Faulty Christmas tree lights could make your Christmas one you’d rather forget if you’re not protected.

By Hayden Groves
REIWA President
REIA Deputy President

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