Owning an investment property comes with a range of legislative responsibilities. Consumer Protection recently issued a reminder about child safety and a change in tenancy regulations which require tenants to be given vital information about potential hazards in the home.
Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that come into effect on March 20, 2015, mean tenants must be given an information sheet outlining their rights and responsibilities at the start of a new tenancy. These forms will also now contain safety information relating to the dangers of blinds and curtain cords and swimming pools.
The change is in response to several tragic events, including the drowning of a three year old boy at a rental property in Kalgoorlie.
Internal blinds and curtain cords should be secured, or at least 1.6 metres above the floor, so they don’t pose a strangulation risk to babies and young children. This safety information has been added to the forms as a reminder to both tenants and landlords to ensure window fittings in their property meet product safety standards.
Consumer Protection has a fact sheet titled Obligations of landlords – corded internal window coverings available on their website at commerce.wa.gov.au under publications.
The new forms for tenants will also contain information about complying with the laws relating to pool and safety barriers. The information includes the role of local government and landlords in relation to barriers required for backyard swimming pools and spas.
You can find more information on pool and spa safety at the Building Commission website buildingcommission.wa.gov.au.
One note of concern for landlords is a comment by Consumer Protection that landlords may also have obligations for inflatable pools. Pool fencing laws apply to pools, including portable pools 300mm deep or more.
To prevent potential safety issues with portable pools some Property Managers ban tenants from using them. Speak to your Property Manager regarding their policy on portable pools.