Owning a rental property can be a fulfilling and lucrative opportunity but it also comes with a set of responsibilities that you must meet. The condition, security, and ongoing maintenance of your property will be crucial in attracting and retaining desirable tenants. These factors are also important in maintaining the value of your property and, importantly, meeting your legal requirements.
Whether you’re investing in a property management service or managing a property yourself, here are the steps you must take when owning a rental in Western Australia.
Providing a Habitable Premise
First impressions aren’t just important for rental properties – they’re also part of the law. Ensuring your rental is habitable means making sure it is in a reasonable state of repair and that it is clean. Many landlords opt for a professional cleaning service before a new tenant moves in to ensure their property is in the best condition. Any fixtures or fittings provided with the property should also be in reasonable condition and you will be responsible for maintaining these for the life of the lease.
Providing a habitable premise also means complying with relevant health and safety laws, such as fitting smoke alarms, RCDs or having appropriate fencing for a swimming pool. Read our section on home security below for more details.
Major Repairs and Maintenance
While basic household and garden maintenance will be the tenant’s responsibility, the landlord is still responsible for major repairs. This includes repairs to the plumbing, and maintenance for any fittings provided with the property, such as a washing machine or dryer. Any major garden work, such as removing a large tree that has become dangerous, will also be the landlord’s responsibility.
General wear and tear is the landlord’s responsibility but damage caused by the tenant will be up to the tenant to fix. The definition of fair wear and tear can often lead to disputes between landlords and tenants – for general examples, refer to these helpful comparisons.
Sometimes, damage to a property will be neither the tenant nor the landlord’s fault. In cases such as robberies or traffic accidents, the landlord will be financially responsible for repairs.
Minimum Home Security & Safety Standards for a Rental Property
Landlords must ensure that minimum security standards are met before leasing out the rental property. This includes:
- Main entry door security – this door must feature a deadlock or an AS 5039-2008 compliant, key-lockable security screen door.
- Other external door security – these doors must be fitted with deadlocks, patio bolt locks, or AS 5039-2008 compliant, key-lockable security screen doors.
- Window security – all windows must be fitted with locks that cannot be opened from the outside of the premises.
- External lighting – the main door must have an electrical light nearby that is controllable from inside the premises.
- RCDs – a minimum of two Residual Current Devices (RCDs or safety switches) must be fitted before offering a rental property for lease.
- Smoke Alarms – BCA compliant smoke detectors must be installed before a rental property is made available for hire. The number and location of smoke alarms will depend on the size and layout of your property.
- Blind Safety – curtain cords and blinds should be secure, unexposed, child-safe, and fitted with warning labels. All blinds and curtains must be installed in accordance with the Product Safety Australia guidelines.
- Pools & Spas – swimming pools, spas and safety barriers must meet strict requirements set out in the Building Regulations 2012. This includes child appropriate barriers, chemically balanced swimming pools, and the provision of cleaning equipment. Guidelines will vary based on your property and swimming pool or spa type.
Make Property Management Easy with Gow
At Gow Property, we are Perth’s residential, commercial and strata property management experts. For more facts about landlord rights, responsibilities and options, explore our information section here. To enquire about our comprehensive property management service, call 08 6389 7777 or leave us a message online.