As the Australian rental market expands and more than one third of the nation’s population lives in rental accommodation, new standards will need to be applied to all aspects of the rental property and the most important of these is the safety of the tenants, their possessions and indeed the properties themselves.
The state tenant laws are very vague on the matter if a minimum standard of security, they don’t define what ‘reasonable’ security means in rental properties, but rather some states deal with security lighting outside the property and others spend more time on window locks.
The Tribunals in each state decide on a definition on a case-by-case basis. For example, in the city of Sydney it could mean double-cylinder deadlocks on the main doors and locks on the windows, the inner city of Melbourne could also mean bars on ground-floor windows, but in a rural area in Far North Queensland, this is unlikely. In reality, decisions on security are reactionary ones; when there is a problem the law is applied and that’s an end to it until next time.
One industry that is attempting to provide some sort of definition of security in rental properties is the insurance industry. It simply will not insure a tenant’s possessions if security is not good enough for the area that the tenants are living in.
Good security is increasingly an important part of a tenant’s decision making process when choosing a new rental property. Good modern security will attract better and longer term tenants, especially those living alone.