Smoke detectors maintenance and battery replacement

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Forums By-laws Smoke detectors maintenance and battery replacement

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  • #236037

    Hi Amanda,

    Our scheme has adopted the common property memorandum and registered as a part of the by-laws, and it states that ‘smoke detectors whether connected to the fire board in the building or not’ are the responsibility of the Owners Corporation. Would this extend to all elements of the detector, including repair, replacement, maintenance and battery change?

    Thank you.


    Amanda Farmer

    Hi StrataSpeak,

    Yes, in my experience that’s how most buildings approach smoke detectors.



    Thanks for asking this question @StrataSpeak. And for your response here @Amanda.

    I have a follow-up question. We seem to have had an instance recently where a tenant may have been changing batteries in a smoke alarm, as the alarm had been giving false alarms (not the chirping to say that the battery was out of juice, but actual false alarms). The alarm was investigated and changed. It was at this point that the tenant let slip that they had previously changed batteries, despite the alarms all now being the OC’s responsibility to maintenance and that the batteries are checked/changed every year as part of the annual fire safety inspection.

    I think this raises a range of issues.

    Residents / tenants may not be aware that the alarms are now the OC’s responsibility. Presumably it would be useful to send out an item to let everyone know that they must not tamper with alarms, or change batteries. Is this a good idea?

    It might be useful to also do this to help ‘educate’ all residents, and to make sure that they realise that they need to report any issues with the smoke alarms in their units, rather than them taking action, and so that they know that they will not bear the cost (i.e. as an encouragement to people reporting issues rather than not out of fear of having to pay for repairs).

    Have other SP’s got any experience with this and an example of a letter / notification they’ve sent to residents (tenants and owners) that can serve as both an educational piece and also to advise them that they mustn’t tamper with alarms?


    Amanda Farmer

    Hi stratify,

    Sorry, I missed this post earlier in the month.

    If your building is happy to take on responsibility for all smoke alarms (and there is sense in that) then yes, I think putting a by-law in place which makes that clear is a good idea, and making clear that residents should not be ‘tampering’ with or otherwise changing batteries etc in smoke alarms: they should be notifying the owners corporation of any malfunction.

    Do bear in mind that it’s a standard clause in most residential tenancy agreements that tenants are responsible for smoke alarms, so that could be why tenants attempt to deal with them: they probably go and read their lease before they read the by-laws (though the by-laws should be attached to the lease…often they are not).


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