Assume you’re a landlord or real estate agent. In that event, you should be aware of health and safety requirements concerning your rental property. These can be for fire alarms, gas safety, and electrical safety. As electrical work is a highly specialised discipline and professional gas and electrical services are the best way to guarantee that all equipment and wiring are appropriately installed, these five tips provide a sound basis for getting started.
1. Smoke Alarms
Landlords are obligated to ensure that all properties are provided with smoke alarms. The number of alarms must be appropriate for the property size, as directed under the Building Code of Australia (‘the Code’). The alarms must also be operating by Australian Standard 3786-1993 and correctly placed under the Code.
Each alarm is required to be tested and cleaned within 30 days before the commencement of a tenancy (including renewals).
Batteries that are empty or known to be almost spent should be reinstated within 30 days before starting a new tenancy or a tenancy renewal term.
Alarms should be replaced before entering the end of their service life, usually designated by the warranty.
2. Safety Switches
Some states and territories require a duty on the landowner or landlord to install safety switches for power outlets, lighting and power circuits. These laws apply in different forms in Queensland and Western Australia. At the same time, other states and territories have their own specific guidance or requirements. Fines may apply if safety switches are not installed. If in doubt, ask a local licensed electrician about your responsibilities.
3. Electrical Safety
While residential tenancy requirements can differ from state to state or territory. Generally, landlords must take steps to assure a level of electrical safety on rental property.
All electrical work should be completed by only licensed persons.
Before leasing the property and taking new tenancies, the landlord should guarantee all the appliances are in good, safe working order. Dirty appliances should be cleaned by the manufacturer’s directions. Faulty devices should be replaced.
Appliances and wiring should be inspected to ensure that there is no damage to the wiring or casing.
For residents, the following may apply:
Tenants should utilise appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If repairs or maintenance is needed, the tenant should allow the landlord’s electrician to take out the repairs.
Tenants should notify any faults to the landlord or straight to the agent and avoid installing or transferring any faulty appliances.
4. Fire Safety
Landlords also have responsibilities concerning fire safety and protection. While these may differ depending on the state/territory legislation, regularly, they are as follows.
Furnishings should be fire resistant and smoke alarms fitted and installed by regulations as described above.
To body corporates or apartments with multiple occupancies, landlords may need to give extra fire safety standards. These may include fire blankets, fire emergency exits, extinguishers, fire doors, and smoke detectors in communal spaces.
5. Gas Safety
While these may vary from state to state or territory, landlords must maintain a sufficient level of gas safety. This can incorporate keeping gas fittings, flues, and chimneys well controlled. In Victoria, gas appliances must be maintained at least every two years.
Maintenance and installations should be taken out by licensed gas-fitters. Any repairs should be performed quickly, and appliances made safe to use before re-letting the premises.
6. Blinds and Cords
It’s advised that blind and curtain cords are covered as part of your property check. Landlords must ensure that any window covers with cords or similar hazards are in line with existing obligations. For instance, in NSW, all blind cords can’t be within the range of children due to the risk of strangulation. These rules concern whether the residents have children or not.
7. Pool Barriers
Landlords must guarantee that a pool or spa is fenced correctly according to regional government building laws and residential tenancy laws. Different state laws outline requirements for pool fences. In WA, for instance, pools that are deeper than 30cm are obligated to have safety barriers.
8. Window & Balcony Safety
Balcony windows must be outfitted with window safety devices that can endure up to 25kg of force and be provided with a child safety lock or mechanism. There is no responsibility for landlords to monitor or enforce the application of window safety devices, so it’s up to the tenant to have a physical examination of the window safety devices and the status of the balcony.
9. Security and Locks
The landlord is accountable for the property to have a sensible state of security in place. What’s considered reasonable varies in different situations; however, the landlord must ensure the property meets the minimum security standards defined in the regulations. Tenants can seek approval from the landlord for any locks or security mechanisms that need to be added or modified.
10. Provide a Property Condition Report To All New Tenants
Before the commencement and completion of the tenancy, the landlord must provide a property condition report describing the safety and standard of every room in the rental property. The report must further include information on the fixed electrical appliances in the home. The report will notify the tenant that you are meeting safety and inspection requirements and maintaining the property as it should happen.