October 09, 2013
Are you aware of your Duty of Care as the owner of a tenanted property?
Do you know that there have been changes in the law in 2012 & 2013 requiring property owners to be more responsible for the safety of their premises?
Do you realise that a managing estate agent's standard health and condition report is not a Safety report and will not protect you should you end up in court because of an accident that occured in or around your property?
If this is news to you, read on...When confronted by the striking statistic that 1 in 3 accidents now occur within the family home , the Australian courts have recently driven legislative change ensuring property owners are more responsible for their duty of care to their tenants. This action has been welcomed by many of the countries coronors who see the shocking result of land lord / land lady negligence on a daily basis.
Of course it's not your intention as a property owner to wilfully neglect the needs of your tenants but many of us put off what we consider to be non urgent maintenance because we think the managing agent will handle it, or the insurance will cover it, or because we don't think anything bad can happen to us.
Property owners can no longer hide behind these excuses, nor can they argue that they didn't want to interupt the tenant's life with a repair schedule.
The law is quite clear: from the minute you are made aware of a health and safety issue, you are liable for anything that goes wrong until you have had the problem professionally addressed.
And it isn't always wise to count on your insurance to see you through any letigious action as many scenarios are omitted in the fine print.
So how do you fulfill your duty of care as land lord / land lady?
• Read all insurance documentation carefully so you know what you're covered for.
• Make sure you have your property checked out thoroughly every two years including having fire alarms, fire exits and smoke alarms tested.
• Devise and keep a current schedule of maintenance that records every issue brought to your attention by tenents and agents alike.
• Keep your structural building report and pest reports as current as possible.
Is There an Easy Way?
Yes. Employ the services of a property safety company to protect against claims and reduce your risk. For around $250 every 2 years, these companies inspect your property by sending out skilled experts who know what they are talking about.
Usually they will inspect the property room by room and go out doors within a 20 metre radious.
Not only will they look for hazzards, but they will identify risks, report back and remind you to take action.
There are several companies out there offering this service. If you need more information give us a call on 9521 1611