Whether you're just renting out your granny flat or leasing out a commercial investment property, you're a landlord. You'll receive the benefit of rental income, but will also have the responsibility to maintain your property.
Landlords have an overriding duty to guarantee the safety of their property. This means you're required to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable harm to your tenants, neighbours and even members of the public.
To meet your obligations under the law you need to ensure your property is reasonably maintained. This may include doing things like:
- Regularly inspecting the property and reparing any foreseeable dangers (like rotting wood or gas leaks) as soon as possible;
- Ensuring your property complies with building codes;
- Checking fixed appliances (like heaters and water tanks) to make sure they're in working condition and comply with safety regulations; and
- Making sure smoke alarms and safety switches are working.
In addition, the lease agreement you sign with your tenants may include extra maintenance obligations. When you sign the agreement you are agreeing to comply with these as well, so it's worth obtaining legal advice before you sign on the dotted line.
Depending on what state your property is located in, you may also be required to comply with other specific regulations. For example, in New South Wales you're required to give your tenants a certificate of compliance for your property's swimming pool (if you have one), while in South Australia maintaining your property's locks is a specific regulatory requirement. So it's a good idea to check with your legal advisor to ensure you've met all your obligations as a landlord.
Being a landlord can be both financially and personally rewarding, but like all good things it comes with responsibilities. If you're concerned about your maintenance responsibilities, or would like to know more about your obligations as a landlord, contact one of PMF Legal's experienced advisors.