Do you own or live in a rental property? Do you know what your responsibilities are and what you are liable for should someone suffer an injury on the property? There are many factors that are considered when determining who is responsible and who will have to pay for an injury in this type of situation.
Is It the Landlord’s Job to Keep Tenants Safe?
The law expects all landlords to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their tenants. If the tenant chooses to do something risky, then responsibility may not fall on the landlord’s shoulders. They are required to ensure that no part of the property is defective and meets Australian building codes. The landlord must have also been aware of (or should have known about) a defect in order to take any blame.
What Should I Do After an Injury on a Rental Property?
If you are a tenant, you may be eligible to file a public liability claim to receive compensation for injuries. You should attend your doctor for treatment and notify your landlord immediately after the incident (or as soon as you are reasonably capable of doing so).
What is the Landlord Required to Do to Prevent an Injury?
The Tenancy Check website explains that the landlord’s duty is to ensure safety in several areas. These include properly installed utilities like gas and electricity as well as appliances that operate safely. They are also required to check smoke detectors on a regular basis.
Landlord vs. Tenant Rights in the Courtroom
When a lawsuit is filed, each case is looked at as an individual situation. In a 2005 case, a tenant living at a rental property in Ashfield was injured after his hand caused a glass panel on a door to shatter. He sued property owner Roads and Traffic Authority as well as the managing agent, Century 21 Brough and Son.
In this case, the judge determined that the owner and management agent was responsible because they did not install safety glass during a prior repair to the door.
This was done after safety glass had been made mandatory.
A second case involving a Ms. Sheehy (Sheehy v. Hobbs) had different results. Ms. Sheehy fell down the stairs while a tenant. The accident left her a partial paraplegic. The courts ruled that a handrail and improved lighting could have prevented the incident, however the landlord was unaware that the issue existed. Since he was unaware, he could not be held responsible for the injury.
Know Your Rights as a Tenant & a Landlord
Whether you own or plan to own a rental property or are a tenant, it’s important to know your rights and be proactive when it comes to safety. Notify your landlord as soon as you identify a safety hazard. Landlords should react quickly to ensure the safety of their tenants. Should an incident happen, make sure you know your rights and the proper action to take to minimise physical and financial damage.
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