A new free service for property managers has been developed after a survey showed that almost half of tenants claim their smoke alarms have never been checked.
According to Smoke Alarm Solutions, who have conducted more than one million inspections on properties since 2007, 50 per cent of all homes inspected for the first time do not have working smoke alarms.
“The first time we go to a new property the first inspection reveals a non-working smoke alarm, an alarm in the wrong location or an expired alarm half the time,” Vicki Bailey told Residential Property Manager.
“Couple that with the number of deaths which result from fires, the idea of Alarm Reminders was born.”
The new service, which will remain 100 per cent free, will email or text tenants when their smoke alarms are due to expire and when to test them.
“We’ve just commissioned a survey with some scary statistics results," Ms Bailey said. "One question was ‘does your property manager arrange smoke alarm inspections for you’ and 43 per cent came back and said no."
“We know how busy property managers are, it’s a really tough job, so as a company we’ve developed this service to make their life easy. We can sign the tenant up for you to take another thing off their plate.
“It’s not a particularly arduous task, and for so many companies to open themselves to potential risk like this is quite shocking. This is risk management for not only the landlords but also property managers and their companies.”
According to Ms Bailey, there appears to be a significant lack of education around smoke alarms from both property managers and tenants.
“Some property managers have even told us that their tenants aren’t allowed to touch the smoke alarms. Well of course they are, they’re allowed to test, they’re allowed to open them to check the expiration date. To make sure there’s no ‘tampering’ they just make it a rule not to touch them."
Ms Bailey hopes the initiative will take off with support from major franchise groups and the Real Estate Institutes.
“We’ve spoken to property managers about it, and they were quite interested in making it a requirement as part of the rental agreement to have the tenant signed up for this service.”