3 property compliance mistakes owner’s make & might not realise.
Aug 04, 2022
One of the biggest blind spots when it comes to property, is failing to understand your property compliance obligations as an investor. In fact, despite what some may think, investing in property isn’t only about securing a tenant and earning rental income. There are standards which need to be met and this is where property compliance is important.
What is property compliance?
Also known as owner’s compliance, property compliance is a set of requirements or obligations landlords must meet under Australian law to ensure their property is in good condition and can be safely leased to new tenants.
If these requirements aren’t met, owners can face hefty fines, unwanted legal fees and claims against them by tenants. So to avoid these surprises, you will want to ensure you meet the necessary property compliance requirements of your state.
3 Common property compliance mistakes owners make:
1/ Smoke Alarms:
Smoke alarms are the best measure for preventing house fires, which can cause damage and even death. In fact, one study showed that not having a properly working smoke alarm could increase your chance of dying in a house fire by over 70% .
WA legislation requires properties to have mains-powered smoke alarms fitted before they’re sold or leased. That means you need to have them installed before you rent out your property under a new lease.
Remember, a new lease can include existing tenants whose lease has been renewed. You also need to make sure smoke alarms are in working order and in date, as they do have a shelf life. Hardwired systems also require backup batteries, and you also need to make sure these haven’t run out of charge – the government also recommends changing them annually.
2/ Swimming Pools:
Sadly, swimming pools are responsible for many deaths in Western Australia. Government statistics show that approximately 40% of toddler drowning deaths occur in domestic pools. The government requires you to install a compliant barrier around any private swimming pool or spa pool to restrict young children from accessing it. This even includes inflatable pools.
Pools constructed after May 2016, must also comply with the Building Code of Australia. This means a door can’t form any part of the barrier to the pool. There are also rules on when a boundary fence can be included as part of the barrier of the pool. If you have a swimming pool or spa, you need to be aware of these rules.
3/ Home Security:
Did you know that state security regulations prescribe what level of security you need to provide in a rental property? At a minimum, this includes a deadbolt on all external doors or a security door, or patio bolt. Windows must also latch shut and not be able to be opened from the outside.
Make sure your property is secure and that you comply with the regulations. Tenants are not able to add locks or increase the security of the property without permission, unless they are victims of domestic violence.
Double checking your property compliance:
Although it can seem as if there are numerous compliance regulations which need to be met, it is important to note that many of these are once off updates. From then on, these items simply require a check up from time to time. If you’re unsure about any of your compliance obligations, we encourage you to speak with your property manager. They can conduct a compliance check on your investment property to avoid any complications in the future with your tenant or your insurer.