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 In Lifestyle, Lifestyle Property Management

Marshall White Property Management

Making sure Rental Properties are Safe and Warm this Winter

As the weather cools down and Renters across Melbourne are switching on their heaters, it is important they have safe and efficient heating and working smoke alarms installed in their rental properties.

As the weather cools down and Renters across Melbourne are switching on their heaters – maybe for the first time in months – it is important they have safe and efficient heating and working smoke alarms installed in their rental properties.

It’s also the law. There have been a host of new regulations which have now come into effect following the recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Bonnie Shannon, Marshall White Property Manager Team Leader said the new regulations will ensure Renters are safe and warm this winter.

“Under the new regulations, a fixed heater that meets a minimum 2-star energy efficiency star rating must be present in the main living area,” she said.

She explained that regulations will apply in two stages, with the first stage now in effect.

Stage One: from 29 March 2021

A fixed heater in good working order will be required in the main living area of the rented premise including class 1 buildings (houses) and class 2 properties (apartments). If a fixed heater has not been installed in the main living area by 29 March 2021, an energy efficient (2 star minimum) fixed heater in good working order must be installed in the main living area.

Stage Two: from 29 March 2023

An energy efficient (2 star minimum) fixed heater in good working order must be installed in the main living area of the rented premises. If the rental property is in a class 2 building and it is not feasible to install an energy efficient heater (eg. due to Owner’s Corporation rules or excessive costs), then the energy efficiency requirement does not apply, but a fixed heater is still required.

What is an ‘energy efficient fixed heater’?

The following appliances are classed as an ‘energy efficient fixed heater’.

  • a non-ducted air conditioner or heat pump with a 2 star or above heating rating;
  • a gas space heater with a 2 star or above heating rating;
  • a ducted heating or hydronic heating system which has an outlet in the main living area of the rented premises; or
  • a domestic solid fuel burning appliance.

With May and June also being the months when most house fires occur, there are also some important rules around Smoke Alarms that Residential Rental Providers must comply with.

Bonnie explained that Rental Providers must ensure that smoke alarms are installed, in working condition and tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions once every 12 months.

“Smoke alarms are classified as an urgent repair and must be repaired or replaced immediately if not in working condition. The renter is not to tamper with smoke alarms and must advise in writing immediately if they become aware that a smoke alarm is not working.”

Bonnie said that Rental Providers can use a company such as Detector Inspector to ensure their property complies with all the latest regulations.

“Detector Inspector’s Safer Home package combines the three essential safety compliance checks; smoke alarms, gas and electrical. Smoke alarm compliance is required annually while gas and electrical is every 2 years. “

She explained compliance checks and reporting that the new legislation requires is quite detailed so it is important to make sure this is completed by a company who understand the regulations.

“Detector Inspector offer a bundled discount, a low annual subscription fee, and year-round protection and compliance assurance for smoke alarms, and gas and electrical services.”

Selling a Tenanted Property

–  The renter must be provided with a Notice to Sell at least 14 days prior to first sales inspection
–  Each time a sales agent shows the property to a potential buyer they must provide 48 hours’ notice and pay the renter $30 or the equivalent of ½ day’s rent
–  The sales agent cannot show potential buyers through more than twice weekly and for no more than one hour
–  Seven days’ notice is required for entry to property for photography/filming and marketing purpose
–  There are restrictions on what can and cannot be filmed

Anthony believes it would make economic sense to market the property for sale after it has been vacated.

“The property can then be cleaned and styled – rather than the complicated business of showing potential buyers through a rented property that doesn’t show it in its best light.”

Should you require advice on any aspect of leasing your property, contact our Marshall White Property Management Team for assistance.

For more information contact us on (03) 9822 8711.

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