Safety Requirements and Responsibilities for Strata Landlords

When you’re a landlord, there are numerous safety obligations you should be aware of in regard to your rental property ranging from smoke alarms and door locks to gas and electrical safety.

To help you meeT these obligations we’ve put together a list of your general safety responsibilities as a lot owner renting your strata property out to tenants.

 

SMOKE ALARMS

Landlords are required to ensure that all properties are fitted with smoke alarms. The number of alarms much be appropriate for the property size, as prescribed under the Building Code of Australia (‘the Code’). The alarms must also be working in accordance with Australian Standard 3786-1993 and correctly positioned as under the Code.

  • Each alarm must be tested and cleaned within 30 days before the start of a tenancy (including renewals).
  • Batteries that are spent or known to be almost spent should be replaced within 30 days before the start of a new tenancy or the start of a tenancy renewal period.
  • Alarms should be replaced before reaching the end of their service life, usually indicated by the warranty.

 

New QLD Legislation

From 1 January 2022, landlords must install interconnected smoke alarms in residential rental properties.

All other dwellings must transition to full compliance by 2027.

 

FIRE SAFETY

Landlords also have responsibilities with respect to fire safety. While these may vary depending on state/territory legislation, generally, they are as follows.

  • Furnishing should be fire resistant and smoke alarms installed in accordance with regulations as outlined above.

 

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Landlords must take measures to ensure a level of electrical safety on rental property.

This includes ensuring that:

  • All electrical work should be performed by only licensed persons.
  • Before leasing the property and accepting new tenancies, that all the appliances are in good, safe working order. Dirty appliances should be cleaned in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Faulty appliances should be replaced.
  • Appliances and wiring should be checked to ensure that there is no damage to wiring or casing.

As a property owner, you are responsible for maintaining electrical equipment that’s hard-wired into your property, like air conditioners, bathroom fan heater lights, solar panels etc. systems to ensure they are safe

If you supply any electrical appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashers as part of the tenancy agreement, it is also your responsibility to ensure they are in good working order.

Extend the safe use lifetime of your equipment by following the manufacturer’s maintenance and servicing guidelines.

 

SAFETY SWITCHES

Owners of domestic rental accommodation in Queensland must have a safety switch installed in their rental properties.

If your rental property does not have a safety switch, you must get one installed by a licensed electrician.

If a safety switch is not installed in your rental property you may get fines of up to $1,500.

 

GAS SAFETY

Landlords are also required to maintain an adequate level of gas safety. This can include keeping gas fittings, flues, and chimneys well maintained.

Gas appliances must be serviced at least every two years.

Maintenance and installations should be carried out by licensed gas-fitters. Any repairs should be performed promptly and appliances made safe to use before re-letting the property.

 

WINDOW AND BALCONY SAFETY

When it comes to child safety laws and windows in Australia, the National Construction Code (NCC) and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) provide regulations for new building work. These regulations apply to all new residential buildings and childcare centres nationally and all strata buildings in NSW.

According to current guidelines, elevated and openable windows that have a drop of 2m or more to the surface beneath (and where the sill of the window is lower than 1.7m from the floor) must have adequate window protection to prevent children from falling through them. This must either restrict the opening capacity of the window to no more than 12.5cm or incorporate a strong, secure screen.

Where there is a drop of 4m or more to the ground below, a physical window barrier is required.

Balcony windows must be fitted with window safety devices which can withstand up to 25kg of force as well as be fitted with a child safety lock or mechanism.

There is no obligation for landlords to monitor or enforce the use of window safety devices, so it’s up to the tenant to have a physical inspection of the window safety devices as well as the condition of the balcony.

 

SECURITY AND LOCKS

The landlord is responsible for the property to have a reasonable level of security in place. What is considered reasonable varies in different situations, however, the landlord has an obligation to ensure the property must meet the minimum security standards specified in the regulations. Tenants can seek consent from the landlord for any locks or security devices that need to be added or changed.

 

BLINDS AND CORDS 

It can often be overlooked but it’s vital that blind and curtain cords are included as part of your safety checks.  Blind and curtain cords present a serious strangulation risk to children, and that is why there are two national mandatory safety standards applying to the suppliers and installers of corded internal window coverings.

In Queensland, landlords are obliged to comply with laws relating to the health and safety of people using their premises, as well as having a duty of care to mitigate the chances of injury at their property.

Landlords should inspect window coverings in their rental property, identify potential hazards, and install any necessary safety devices to keep blind and curtain cords safe for children. The installation of any new blinds or curtains must meet national safety standards