Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA

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We've just received notification from the management agency for a rental
property we own, regarding installation and maintenance of RCDs and smoke
alarms in rental properties. The notification appears to be on behalf of the
WA government, and states requirements for installation and 'maintenance' of
these safety devices. Attached to the forms is a 'quotation' from Alinta (WA
energy supplier), offering a service to regularly test them, with an
implication that as property lessors, we are more or less obliged to adopt
this service. Not a good way to keep me on side.

Does anyone know what the actual legal requirement is, in terms of periodic
testing of RCDs and smoke detectors in WA? What tests need to be done, and
is any fancy gear required?  TIA



Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA

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As far as I know, SFA.
We had a similar letter, but it was clearly about the agent covering
their arse at our expense from some imaginary future case.

It would be cheaper to just install a new alar each year.
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Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Regarding installation

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_reg/br1989200/s38l.html

Regaring maintenance

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_reg/br1989200/s38p.html

Looks to me like you don't actually have to do any maintenance or
testing until and unless you receive a rectification notice.

Sylvia.




Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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These devices are mandatory - them must be installed, and they must work
correctly.  Their maintenance is up to the owner of the property.  The owner
is perfectly free to maintain the devices (ie check that they work
correctly) as they please.


Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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It looked to me as if there's no penalty for non compliance with the
requirement that they work, only for non-compliance with a rectification
notice.

Sylvia.

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Paragraph (a) of the applicable offence provision has a double-barrelled
requirement of installation and compliance with the specific regulation (ie
working correctly).  If it doesn't work correctly, there is an offence.

But I assume that the main penalty provision used is where the owner fails
to comply with a notice.


Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Proof of the offence under 38L(1) would require a proof that the
requirement to achieve (a) was not met within 14 days. If at some later
time it becomes apparent that the device is not installed, and was never
installed, then the owner will likely be convicted. But if the device is
installed but simply no longer works, then the prosecution would have to
show that it hadn't been working within the relevant 14 days. It would
not be sufficient to show that it is not working at the later time.

Sylvia.

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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I had in mind reg 38L(3), which will replace the earlier regs.

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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OK.

"extent practicable" is a nicely vague term to have in a provision that
creates an offence.

The OP should probably have the alarms tested several times a day until
such time as the tennant refuses to allow it any more.

Sylvia.

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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How it really works is that they just charge the person regardless.
Faced with the prospect of spending around $10,000 on legal fees for
representation, even if they win, they are likely better off
financially just pleading guilty.  Charges are largely laid based on
this factor in other matters but  If they have legal aid, or are a
legal professional themselves, it seems to be different.

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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One doesn't have to have legal representation, and for a potential $5000
fine, it might not be inappropriate for the reasons you give. If the
required evidence is not available, a plea of not-guilty will likely see
the prosecution dropped - eventually.

Sylvia.

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Unfortunately most investors who rent out houses do so via  a private
Company. As I understand corporate law, a company may well be a separate
legal entity but unlike people, companies are forbidden from
representing themselves in court. It is mandatory to engage a lawyer to
represent a company. so in response to this thread...

By all means maintain your own smoke alarms but be aware the onus for
the continual working is on the property owner. Tenants have been known
in the past to remove batteries from smoke alarms to enjoy a joint or
two in the comfort of their lounge room.

Once done, the owner is responsible for NOT having a functional smoke
alarm, not the tenant who disarmed it. It is indeed cheaper to just pay
the fine by default than engage a solicitor and a barrister to defend
the matter.

HH

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Cite evidence, please.

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What law does that?

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What law does that?

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Depends on what that means.  It is nor that explicit in the law.

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If that happens, the properrty owner will clearly not be liable.

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Depends on what that means.

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That may be so in any minor criminal matter, and is therefore not
particularly relevant in this thread.


Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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I last owned property in WA in 2003. I'm fairly sure the laws governing
rental properties would have changed since then.

In Queensland I'm liable for smoke detectors that stopped working
because tenants had removed the batteries. Trying to fight the issue
would have cost me 5x the cost of shutting up and paying up. To avoid
further litigation and a possible fight with my insurers in the case of
a fire... I'd jump at the offer from a third party to take over
responsibility for maintaining the blasted things.

The owner's liability doesn't stop at installing smoke alarms... Despite
what many might think/hope or believe. This is most likely why the firm
offering frequent checks and maintenance of smoke alarms is prospering.
How they offset the the issue of liability would (I guess) be the deal
breaker.

HH

Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Strictly, you are wrong.  On your claim, you would be liable from the moment
that the tenant removed the batteries.  That is not so.

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That's a different matter.

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That in no way removes any obligations from you.

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They don't.  It's just a way for property owners to get someone to do the
maintenance check.  It doesn't do anything positive for the property owner
if things go wrong.


Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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The law in Queensland relating to smoke alarms seems to be more sensible
than that in WA, in that it doesn't assume that tennants are incapable
of looking after a smoke alarm.

I can see nothing that would make the owner liable where a tenant has
removed the batteries.

The tennant would have committed an offence by removing the batteries,
though.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/farsa1990210/s104rh.html

The tendency for people to cop a fine rather than defending cases like
this just encourages the authorities to initiate proceedings on spurious
grounds.

Sylvia.


Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Are you suggesting that those authorities are capable of reasoned thought?


Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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Oh, perhaps, up to the level of "We can issue fines, and there's no
downside, so we do."

Sylvia.




Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA
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I have property in QLD, the owner is only liable to test the alarm at
the start of a tenancy (and possibly a lease renewal)
Other than that - the tenant is responsible for checking and changing
the battery while they are in the unit.

We had mains powered alarms installed (the agent had it done) and
these still require the battery check by law.
The mains powered ones, I checked them and they do continuously
"chirp" if the battery is removed and the mains is available.



Re: Government requirements for RCD & smoke alarm testing, WA


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All correct
  and you realise by trying to reason with syliva she will drag you down
to her level of stupidity ?
  If you won't answer her the rest of us don't see her shite

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