The introduction of minimum housing standards has been seen as a positive initiative by the rental sector. However, as property managers, to be expected to determine the structural soundness and safety of a property you manage is both ludicrous and dangerous. You should always seek professional advice as the risk of doing anything else is simply too great. PropertySafe’s new minimum standard and compliance reports are the simple solution.
As a Property Manager, you have had to keep your eye on a growing list of potential health and safety hazards in the properties you manage, from smoke alarm and swimming pool compliance to the safety of decks and railings, blind cords, window safety and the list goes on.
Since the introduction of new minimum standards for housing in NSW and VIC, that list has grown exponentially and the details to check have become increasingly complex. To complicate matters even further, there are phrases in the Act that would be classified as grey areas as they are open to interpretation. For instance, the phrase, ‘fit for habitation’ has not been clearly defined and the words ‘adequate’ and ‘reasonable’, which are used multiple times in the Act, are vague and once again, open to interpretation by the individual. What the landlord considers to be adequate and reasonable may not be at all adequate and reasonable in the eyes of the tenant, let alone a builder or a professional compliance assessor with the necessary skills and qualifications to make an educated call.
What should you do if asked to determine the structural soundness of a property?
The answer is simple. You should say no. It is both unfair and potentially dangerous for anyone to expect you to assess a property for structural soundness and determine whether it is fit for habitation because you don’t have the skills and expertise to do so. Doing so may also pose a risk to the agency if something were to go wrong.
When compliance requirements for swimming pools came into effect in NSW, the state government recognised that property managers weren’t suitably qualified to assess a pool for safety. As a result, an independent certifier is required to carry out pool assessments. It should be no different when assessing the structural soundness of a property under the minimum housing standards. Unfortunately however, no mandate has been put in place.
What’s the solution?
The team at PropertySafe have created two new inspection reports specifically designed to meet the latest rental legislation requirements in New South Wales and Victoria:
Now you can offer your landlords a professional solution that reduces the risk to both of you.
Each report is tailored to the requirements for the state with an assessment conducted by a professional, fully licenced building safety inspector. The report checks each standard against the property and provides information on the requirements to rectify any issues uncovered.
There are variations for each state, which is why the reports are tailored to the specific standards applicable for your state. For instance, in Victoria, an electrical and gas safety check must be completed bi-annually and can be ordered as an optional extra whereas the Safer Home Evaluation Report covers the minimum legislative standards and any high risk life threatening observations.
Help your landlords meet their legislative requirements and take the burden off yourself by having a professional PropertySafe inspection completed. The report offers the most comprehensive way to ensure all-round safety for tenants and provide peace of mind for landlords and your agency. Remember, as a Property Manager, you are not qualified to assess a property for safety and structural soundness and should never be expected to.
To learn more, call PropertySafe on 1300 350 000.