If only renting out your place was as simple as hanging a ‘for lease’ sign in the window.
Landlords need to make sure their properties are safe and secure for tenants. These days, many home safety measures are required by law.
Ensure your tenant is happy and comfortable at home, and protect your property and investment long term, by carrying out the following tasks before renting out your home.
Ensure smoke alarms are up to code
While smoke alarm laws vary between states, all require the alarm to be in-date and functioning properly. This means alarms need to be tested and cleaned frequently, as well as replaced at least every 10 years.
In Queensland, new smoke alarm laws coming into effect on January 1, 2022 require all rental properties to have interconnected smoke alarms in the dwelling before the start of any new lease.
“From that date, the first tenancy or tenancy renewal requires the landlord to upgrade the smoke alarms to include interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms and hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson, Mark Halverson, says.
“Interconnection means that when one alarm goes off, they all go off. When the hallway alarm detects smoke, the bedroom alarms will activate, waking an occupant who may be sleeping with their door closed. This provides occupants vital time to evacuate safely from the building.”
Smoke alarms can be interconnected wirelessly or through hardwire. Hardwired smoke alarms need to be installed by a qualified electrician.
Check the electrical wiring
While installing hardwired smoke alarms, it’s a good idea to get your electrician to also have a glance over any hidden electrical wiring before a tenant moves in, to ensure there are no hazards that could cause a fire at your property.
Faulty wiring can cause house fires and it can be hard to detect a smoulder early if it’s hidden in the roof or other unseen area.
“It’s recommended that both landlords and occupants regularly undertake electrical testing or a visual check to make sure no frays or damage to any of the electrical appliances or wiring has occurred,” Halverson says.
While tenants are responsible for checking their devices and appliances, landlords should check any hardwiring.
Fix or repair broken items
Landlords must present a safe, fully functioning, liveable property to tenants.
Fixing anything that’s broken before a tenant moves in is vital and will also offer you a good health check on what is and isn’t working at the beginning of the lease.
Therefore, you’ll be able to better review any repairs and maintenance required during or after the tenancy.
Landlords are required to provide photo evidence of the condition of a property along with the tenant’s lease, otherwise known as a condition report.
For both the tenant’s protection and your own, take quality photos of the entire premise.
While some will request an agent do this, you can also do it yourself – just make sure you’re thorough. Don’t forget inside cabinets, doors, under sinks, the walls, floor and ceiling.
Have a checklist and make detailed annotations with a description of the state of the premises, so you have a thorough record for your condition report.
Before you rent out your home, you should definitely consider getting landlord’s insurance.
This can protect you from forms of:
- Property damage caused by tenant
- Storm/disaster damage
- Damage to any contents, such as appliances or furniture, included in the lease of the property
- Income protection, i.e. rent cover if the tenant should miss or default on payments
- Legal liability for injuries incurred in the property
This can be a valuable back-up should any of the above-mentioned issues unfold.