As a landlord, it’s your legal responsibility to keep your property safe for your tenants, at all times.
If you own a unit within an apartment or building complex, you also have a responsibility, as a member of the Body Corporate or Owners Corporation, for ensuring that the entire building and communal areas are safe.
Building safety is a prominent issue in the community, largely due to the extensive media coverage of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people on 14 June 2017 in London. Poor building and fire safety management practices contributed to events leading to the fire.
If you do not keep your property safe, you could be putting people’s lives at risk.
Ten tips on how to keep your property safe
- Don’t overcrowd your property with more tenants to increase your rental income. This is illegal and it’s a safety hazard. Your tenant’s safety is more important than money.
- External cladding must comply with national building standards. Poor quality cladding can be highly flammable and cause fires to spread more rapidly, as evident in the Grenfell Tower case.
- Asbestos can cause lung cancer and other illnesses. More commonly used as insulation and protection against fires, in buildings built before 1987, asbestos is a soft material that does not burn. Asbestos is toxic; only specialists should remove asbestos.
- Deteriorated and over-loaded balconies and awnings are at risk of collapsing. Hire a structural engineer to check the stability of the structure.
- Install smoke alarms. People forget to replace batteries so it’s better to install a mains powered (electric) smoke alarm.
- Balustrades and railings can be dangerous if they are too low or unsteady. Inspect for wear and tear regularly.
- Air conditioners and outdoor signage can fall on people if the screws are loose. Check that the fastenings are secure. You need a council permit to display signage in public spaces.
- Trees must be maintained. Falling trees cause electricity hazards, damage buildings, and injure people during bad weather.
- Erect fences around swimming pools. This prevents drowning incidents. In Australia, pools must be legally registered.
- Fire safety blankets prevent small fires. Place the blanket in the kitchen, near the stove.
So, do you have other tips on how to keep your property safe?
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