Being a landlord is a fantastic way to utilise your property as a sustainable source of income, but it’s also one that comes with a number of requirements and obligations. From fire alarms to utilities to, in some cases, the structural integrity of certain property features, landlords are required to ensure that safety standards are met for prospective tenants.
As one of Australia’s leading property management specialists, we at My Rental are dedicated to providing landlords with all the information they need to successfully navigate any obligations and opportunities that may come their way. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the safety requirements and obligations of Australian landlords.
Although specific obligations can vary from state to state (and territory to territory, for that matter), you can be sure that there are laws in place requiring landlords to ensure a standard of electrical safety is met regardless of your location. This includes:
- Ensuring that all electrical appliances that are included in the property are in good working order and are free from any immediate safety concerns. Any faulty or broken appliances should also be replaced immediately prior to new tenants moving in.
- Making sure that all wiring and electrical services within the property are checked by a licensed electrical specialist to find and repair any damage that may prove dangerous or unsafe.
Of course, not all safety obligations are on the landlord in this regard. For tenants, it is expected that they will use any appliances in accordance with the instructions of their manufacturer. Tenants should also inform their landlord or property manager of any faults or broken appliances as the issue is discovered, and should avoid taking on replacement or repair tasks themselves that should be taken on by a licensed professional.
As with electrical safety, landlords should expect to have some obligations and requirements in regards to their property’s fire safety. For example, to avoid immediate hazards, any furnishings that come with the property should be fire-resistant. It’s also necessary for all properties to be fitted with an adequate number of smoke alarm systems for the size of the property.
For those that are unsure as to how many smoke alarms a property should have, it is detailed within the Building Code of Australia, but any licensed smoke alarm installation specialist will be able to determine the proper number and positioning of smoke alarms for your specific property. To avoid smoke alarms dying, batteries should be replaced in the thirty days prior to a new renter moving into the property. The same goes for cleaning and testing your devices to ensure that they are still in optimal working order.
Security & Safety Measures
This one can be a little bit more up to interpretation, as what constitutes reasonable security will be different based on the situation. However, it is expected that the landlord will have gone to efforts to ensure that adequate security and safety measures are put in place and that any security measures meet regulation standards. It’s also important to check that all locks, including windows and doors, are in proper working order prior to a tenant moving in.
Window Dressings, Balconies & Beyond
While you may think that just having windows with locks is enough, there are specific stipulations for window safety that need to be met by prospective landlords, especially where balconies are concerned. The safety locking system for your balcony windows should be capable of withstanding up to 25kg of force, and should also have a functioning child lock. With that said, the upkeep and checking of these systems is not necessarily an obligation of the landlord in all instances, and safety checks should be scheduled by tenants for any balcony areas and safety measures.
The Property Condition Report
As anyone who has rented property is likely already familiar with it, each new tenant must be provided with an up-to-date property condition report. This report contains information about the current condition of the property and any fixed electrical features, while also providing confirmation regarding the meeting of inspection requirements. The report will be broken up by room, detailing the fixtures, fittings and overall condition of each one through photos and notes. These images may also be used in disputes regarding whether damage has been caused by a tenant or if it predated their stay, so it’s important to be meticulous in your detailing of the property.
As a landlord, there is a lot to deal with, especially when swapping over tenants. So, why not get some help from the experts? At My Rental, we are dedicated to providing clients with a more innovative approach to property management services. Contact us today to learn more, or follow our blog for regular tips, tricks, and updates on the Australian property market.