What happens if there is an accident in a rental property?

PUBLISHED 15 Feb 2016

While many Australians will see their home as a place of safety, there are a number of hazards that can cause unnecessary danger if left unchecked. According to Property Safe, 60 per cent of all preventable accidents which happen around the country take place in the home.

For people who don't own their own home, the legal process that can occur as a result of an accident are very different compared to those who do. Accidents which occur in a rented property can result in public liability injury claims depending on the cause.

How to tell if an accident will result in a public liability claim

Landlords are responsible for a range of different features relating to the condition of a building and they must ensure that their property is suitable and safe for occupants to inhabit.

One of the most important pieces of equipment to install in a household is a smoke alarm. These devices are a mandatory requirement for any home or other building existing as a shared accommodation facility.

The reason for this is to protect people from injury or death in the event of a fire, as the NSW government reported that most fire-related fatalities occur in incidents that happen at night.

However, it's also important to note that it is the tenant's responsibility to check and replace the batteries in these devices. Once the landlord has installed a smoke alarm, they are no longer responsible for its upkeep.

Is pool safety a public liability concern?

Tenants that are lucky enough to have a pool to escape the impending summer heat need to ensure their landlord has adequately prepared this feature. If people are injured in any other way relating to their use of the pool, the may need to pursue a public liability claim if the tenant hasn't followed certain conditions.

It's now mandatory for landlords to fence any pools or spas that are installed on a property to the condition mandated by the NSW government. Children are particularly at risk in situations where water features aren't closed off from the rest of the property and any accidents could result in a public liability claim.

What can a tenant demand?

NSW law states that landlords must ensure premises are "reasonably secure" with regards to window and door locks. If a tenant demands reasonable additions to these features, the landlord must oblige.

If you've been injured in a rental property and think you have grounds for a public liability claim, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Extract: When renting a property it can be difficult to tell which party is responsible in the event that something goes wrong. Here’s what you need to know.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.