How Safe Does Your Property Have To Be?

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We have had several cases over the past couple of months where tenants with young children have moved into a two-storey property to then discover that there are no security screens or screens at all on the second-level windows. One tenant reported that their two year old was climbing on the toilet cistern and trying to escape from the window. This leads to the question of, should the property owner be responsible to install screens?
While the Tenancy Act does not clearly state that you must install screens to the property – common law and the requirements of duty of care would suggest that the owner should put in screens to the property. When owning a property you have a duty of care to ensure that the property is fit and safe for the tenant to reside. If there is potential risk for injury on a property it must be addressed.
You cannot refer back to an agreement or tenant application that states that the tenant accepted the property in its current condition. The fact that a tenant has raised the risk should also send alarm bells to act quickly.
During the tenant selection process of renting a property it is important to take safety matters into consideration, especially when young children are involved.
For example – the following characteristics of a property may not be suitable for small children:
Open access to a main road
Canal or waterfront properties with no fencing (it is not a legislated requirement to have
these areas fenced)
Properties that are not fenced
Windows that do not have screens
If you have any current concerns about your property, please feel welcome to contact our office.

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