What safety responsibilities do you have as a landlord?
Owning a rental property means that you have an obligation to ensure your property meets certain safety standards.
The three main safety issues to be aware of as a landlord are chain ties for blinds and curtains, having fences around pools and spas to reduce preventable deaths of children and RCDs and smoke alarms.
Blinds and curtains
Unsecured blind and curtain cords (or chains) pose a significant risk of strangulation to young children, so it’s critical that your rental property meets certain safety standards.
Under common law, you, as the landlord, have a duty of care to your tenants – as well as anyone who is invited over by the tenant – to ensure the property is safe from preventable hazards.
You should keep an ongoing eye on these areas of your rental home. As part of the rental inspections, your property manager will report back to you if there are hazards that need to be addressed. Anything that is identified should be rectified as soon as possible.
The Department of Commerce (DOC) recommends that when you buy blinds and curtains, you should choose ones with safe design features that;
- have warning labels
- provide a way to secure cords and chains so there are no loops or strands that children can easily reach, or
- operate without exposed chords or chains.
Pool and spa fences
Pools and spas are another area of a home that pose a risk to children if not properly secured.
According to the DOC, in WA, domestic swimming pools are the most common site in which drowning for children up to five years old occurs. If your rental property features a pool or spa, you must ensure it meets the safety requirements established by local government building laws and residential tenancy laws.
You are also obligated to arrange for urgent repairs necessary to avoid exposing a person to the risk of injury and comply with all requirements
RCDs and smoke alarms
It is important that your rental property is equipped with RCDs and smoke alarms.
If you own a rental property, regulations require that it is fitted with at least two RCDs protecting all power and lighting circuits. These must be installed before offering your property up for lease.
You are also required to have smoke alarms fitted in your rental property that are no more than 10 years old, in working order and are permanently connected to consumer mains power.