• What are the laws on RCDs and smoke alarms?

    Since August 2009, sellers of residential properties have been required by state law to have at least two RCDs installed in the property. These safety devices must be fitted at the meter box (main switchboard) or distribution board for the residence by the settlement date. 

    The same law applies to owners with rental properties. Any residential property being leased must have RCDs fitted prior to the time the property is leased.  

    These devices can save people from electrocution. RCDs can also protect against fires which can start from small leakages of current from wires with damaged or perished insulation. Any licensed electrician can supply and fit the RCDs on the switchboard to a property. 

    There can be an exemption where the buyer will be demolishing the property. In such cases the seller should obtain a notice of intended demolition from the buyer prior to settlement. The notice will state the new owner’s intention to demolish the premises within six months after the settlement.

    REIWA has prepared form 099 RCD Exemption in the Case of Demolition that can be used for this purpose.

    The Electricity Regulations 1947 set out the Penalty for not installing RCDs: 
                      (a)    in the case of an individual — a fine of $15 000;
                      (b)    in the case of a body corporate — a fine of $100 000.

    For more information about RCDs visit the Energy Safety website

    Smoke alarms

    In addition to this RCDs requirement, there is also a requirement to have hard-wired smoke alarms, no more than ten years old, in all residential properties being sold or made available for lease. The common battery operated smoke alarms will no longer be sufficient. 

    In situations where a hard–wired alarm cannot be fitted (such as flats or units with concrete ceilings that won’t facilitate new wiring), then long-life lithium battery operated smoke alarms must be installed. 

    In early 2018 the regulations were changed to provide an exemption to the requirement in cases where the buyer intends to demolish the built structures within six months of becoming the registered proprietor.

    To comply with the exemption the buyer needs to make a declaration. REIWA has prepared a form 097 Smoke Alarm Exemption that can be used for this purpose.

    For more information about smoke alarms, visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services website


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