Home Safety

At Reuben Real Estate, we are serious about home safety for home owners, tenants and landlords alike. Accidents happen every day around the home resulting in serious injuries and some can be fatal. Hazards and dangers are also present and we can all take the necessary measures to minimise or eliminate potential hazards and dangers around the home to protect our near and dear ones from accidents waiting to happen.

The following is a brief outline of potential hazards and dangers that could be present around your home.

 

The information provided on this web page is general in nature, professional and expert advice should be sort before dealing with potential hazards and dangers around your home.

 

Loose-fill asbestos

Loose-fill asbestos is raw crushed asbestos, which in the 1960s and 70s was installed as ceiling insulation in an unknown number of NSW homes. Over time hazardous airborne fibres can move from the ceiling into living spaces.

Earlier experience in both NSW and the ACT has demonstrated that simply removing loose-fill asbestos from a ceiling cavity does not remove the enduring hazard.

The NSW Government, with input from a range of experts, has determined that demolition, comprehensive site remediation and disposal are the best ways to ensure the health and safety of the NSW community.

For further information, please visit the NSW Fair Trading website. Should you have further concerns regarding this hazard you should discuss these with your landlord or agent.

 

Security 

Landlords must provide and maintain locks or security devices to all accessible doors and windows to ensure that the premises are reasonably secure. What is reasonably secure will vary in different situations.

The likelihood the premises may be broken into will have a bearing on the type and standard of locks needed to make a property reasonably secure. This will depend largely on the area in which the premises are located. The level of security needed for a ground floor unit may be greater than for a unit on an upper level.

A landlord does not have to make the property so secure that the premises can never be broken into. The requirements of insurance companies are not the sole test of what is ‘reasonably secure’, but are merely one factor to be taken into account.

You can change or add locks or security devices with the landlord’s consent, or if it is reasonable to do so, such as in an emergency (eg. if the premises have been burgled and keys are missing or if your key breaks off in the lock).

You will need to give the landlord or agent a copy of the new key within seven days of being changed. If the premises are not reasonably secure, you should raise this matter with the landlord or agent as soon as possible.

 

Smoke alarms 

It is a requirement by law, under clause 146A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and Division 7A of Part 9 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, that smoke alarms are fitted in all buildings in NSW where people sleep. The smoke alarms must meet the requirements of Australian Standard AS 3786, Smoke alarms. These provisions came into effect on 1 May 2006.

A smoke alarm is an effective early warning device designed to detect smoke and alert you to the presence of a fire, and increase the time available for a safe escape.

Landlords are required by law to have installed at least one smoke alarm in a hallway outside a bedroom or other suitable location in each storey of your rented home. Where a smoke alarm is of the type that has a replaceable battery, the landlord must put a new battery in at the commencement of a tenancy.

A tenant or landlord are not allowed to remove or interfere with smoke alarms, without a reasonable excuse. If a smoke alarm is battery operated you are responsible for replacing the batteries and testing that it is working after the tenancy begins. This should be done once each year.

However, if the tenant is physically unable to change the battery the tenant is required to notify the landlord or agent as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the need for it to be replaced.

The tenant is not responsible for the replacement of batteries in ‘hard-wired’ smoke alarm systems that have a battery back-up. This is the responsibility of the landlord.

The legislation provides for a minimum level of protection. At Reuben Real Estate, we recommend that owners and occupants of residential dwellings consider higher levels of protection than the minimum requirements and suggest that smoke alarms be installed in each bedroom of the dwelling to ensure maximum protection for all occupants these added measures can assist in the protection of lives.

 

Swimming pools

Young children can drown in a body of water that has a depth greater then 300mm. The maintenance of pool fencing is extremely important, even if you do not have young children living at your home. Children are most at risk of drowning within six months of moving into a new property with a swimming pool, or when visiting the home of a friend, family member or neighbour with a pool.

Children should always be supervised around any body of water and pool gates should always be shut closed at all times and inspected for safety on a periodic basis. The pool fence should be kept clear of any apparatuses that can be used to climb over the pool fence by adventurous children.

If the property you are renting has a swimming pool, you need to check that the pool fence is in good, working condition. Landlords must meet the standards in the Swimming Pools Act 1992. This requires most pools to be surrounded by a fence that separates the pool from the house.

Landlords are required to register the pool with the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register. From 29 April 2016, landlords are also required to give tenants a copy of a compliance certificate or an occupation certificate issued within the last 3 years when they enter into a new residential tenancy agreement. This requirement does not apply to lots in a strata or community scheme with more than two lots, as these properties are subject to Council pool inspection every 3 years.

Should you become aware of a maintenance issue with your pool fence you should immediately notify your landlord or agent.

 

Window and balcony safety 

Each and every year, around 50 children fall from windows or balconies in Australia. Many suffer serious injuries. Sometimes these falls are fatal.

There are a number of simple, common sense steps you can take to reduce this risk. For example, moving furniture away from windows and balustrades to prevent young children from climbing onto these and falling from a dangerous height. Fitting locks or guards to windows so they cannot be opened more than 12.5cm, except by an adult.

It is known that falls will occur more often in the warmer months when families leave windows and doors to balconies open during the day and at night. Do not rely on fly screens to prevent your child from falling out of a window.

The NSW tenancy laws require landlords to provide and maintain locks and security devices to make the premises reasonably secure. Landlords cannot unreasonably refuse permission for tenants to make minor changes to rental premises, such as installing child safety window locks.

For further information, please visit the NSW Fair Trading website. Should you have further concerns regarding this hazard you should discuss these with your landlord or agent.

 

Window Blind Cords

This is a hazard that in most cases goes unnoticed. Children could easily get tangled in the cord and choke, which can result in serious injuries or death. There is a simple and inexpensive solution via the form of a cord restraint that secures the blind cord the wall or window frame. This device can be purchased from any good hardware store and should be installed by a professional trades person.

Should you have further concerns regarding this hazard you should discuss these with your landlord or agent.

These are only a small number of hazards and dangers that can be found around your home. With a common-sense approach, many of these hazards can be significantly reduced or eliminated.

 

The following websites can provide further information on other hazards and dangers around your home and how they may be reduced or eliminated. Should you have further concerns regarding any hazard you should discuss these with your landlord or agent.

 

NSW Fair Trading

NSW Fire and Rescue

NSW Swimming Pool Register

Swim and Survive

 

The information on this webpage has been sourced from independent external websites including NSW Fair Trading and NSW Fire and Rescue.