'Duty of care' and rental properties
Closer to home, a case late last year saw a Sydney landlord ordered to pay more than $11,000 in compensation to a tenant whose flat was made unliveable by a chain-smoking neighbour. Although the problem stemmed from another property, the landlord was found to have not provided a safe place for the tenant to live.
Both these cases highlight the serious repercussions of landlords failing to meet their 'duty of care'. Common law dictates that landlords must guarantee the safety of their rental properties, including:
- ensuring installations such as gas, electricity and heating are working;
- ensuring any appliances they provide are installed and maintained safely;
- treating potentially health-threatening issues such as rising damp;
- maintaining the structure and exterior of the house; plus
- any other matter that is detailed in the tenancy agreement.
- smoke alarms;
- entry doors and other external doors;
- windows and balconies;
- external lighting;
- pests and vermin; and
- swimming pools and spas.