Safety first ahead of Summer

As the peak holiday season approaches, it is a great idea to give holiday rental properties a safety once-over.

Unlike regular rentals, visitors usually hire holiday houses without inspecting them first – and without having an opportunity to raise any safety concerns.

RentCover General Manager, Sharon Fox-Slater, said this means holiday let owners have even more responsibility than regular landlords.

“Some safety requirements are mandated by law. Queensland, for example, has introduced rules governing bunk beds that carry a $200,000 penalty,” she said.

“However, even if you meet all minimum legal standards, you can still be sued and held liable if someone gets hurt.
 
“It’s easy to go away on holiday and be sucked into looking at the local real estate agency window with stars in your eyes.

“However, anyone contemplating a holiday house-cum-investment needs to educate themselves about their responsibilities and to make sure they have insurance specifically designed to cover short-term stays, as opposed to regular landlord insurance.”

 

Holiday let safety checklist

  • If the property is in a bushfire-prone area, what information have you left for visitors on what to do in case of fire? Is the property adequately prepared, insured and equipped?
     
  • Are the cords for blinds and curtains well-secured?
     
  • Is the pool fence in good condition? Does the gate close automatically? Is there anything nearby which children could use to climb over?
     
  • Do bunk beds:
    – carry a warning that they are dangerous and shouldn’t be used by children under nine years of age;
    – meet any mandated standards;
    – have smooth guard rails free from potential snag points; and
    – have a location well clear of ceiling fans?
     
  • If the property has a second or third storey:
    – are there limits on how far windows can open to prevent child falling?
    – do you have child safety gates available to block stairways?
     
  • Have you limited the maximum hot water temperature? (Ideally, it should come out of the tap at no more than 50 degrees – and a storage temperature of 60 degrees is enough to control germs.)
     
  • Is the deck and/or balcony – and any railings – in good condition?
     
  • If you supply equipment such as portable cots and high chairs, do these meet safety standards? Are they in good condition and not subject to any safety recall by the manufacturer?