Does your property comply with the mandatory standards in WA?

Does your property comply with the mandatory standards in WA?
Urban EditorialMay 29, 2020

Every property in Western Australia has to adhere to the mandatory legal compliance set out by the Consumer Protection Division and property owners are held liable to ensure its compliance. This checklist will help you ensure that risks are mitigated while protecting lives and assets.

1. Protection from Fire: Installation of Smoke Alarms & Residual Current Devices (RCDs)

We have seen the devastating effect of bushfires across Australia. Measures for fire protection, especially in WA’s desert-like climate, are imperative to ensure the preservation of lives and our community. Interestingly, most fires occur at night. Smoke from the fires has also a lulling effect which draws a person deeper into sleep and therefore, we need external measures to alert us to the risk of fire – such as smoke alarms and Residual Current Devices (RCDs).

What is an RCD? 

An RCD, designed for protection against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by earth fault, is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if it detects a fault. Two RCDs are required in a WA home – one for the light circuits and the other for power points. Based on local regulation, the two Remote Control Devices (RCDs) are required to be installed on the switchboard by the Property Owner prior to leasing a property. 

It is mandatory that powered smoke alarms are installed in all new residential buildings or extensions since 1st July 1997. From October 2009, it is obligatory for Landlords to ensure that the main powered smoke alarms are fitted in existing residential buildings prior to sale or signing of a tenancy agreement, in accordance with the Building Regulations 2012 prescription. 

2. Window Fittings & Anchors: Product Safety

For the safety of young children,  since 2004 the Department of Commerce has been regulating the product safety of window fittings, window treatments and furniture anchors. The regulation places the onus on Property Owners in ensuring that the internal window coverings supplied (blinds, curtain cords, chains) meet with the national product safety requirement standards. For example, any exposed cord or chain that hangs lower than 1.6 metres from the floor must be secured by a safety device otherwise they may be in easy reach of young children.

In recent news, tenants now have permission to anchor furniture to protect children. Bookcases, glass display cabinets, drawers, and shelves pose a serious hazard if they are not properly anchored. A tragic case this early year where a two year-old boy died after a clothes dresser tipped onto him at IKEA illustrates just how important this rule is.

However, tenants who have secured their furniture must repair them prior to vacating the property at their own expense including holes in the walls. As for furnished rentals, it is the duty of landlords to anchor furniture prior to tenants moving in.

3.  Locks & Lights: Property Security 

With reference to the Residential Tenancies Regulation 1989, every WA property must have a minimum level of security to prevent break-ins. This includes door locks, window locks, and sufficient exterior lighting. The Department of Commerce details the requirements for this, and they include: 

  • The main entry door. This needs to either be a deadlock or a key-lockable screen door to the Australian Standard AS 5039-2008.
  • Other external doors (excluding balcony doors where there is no access to the balcony except inside the premises): a deadlock or, if a deadlock cannot be fitted, a patio bolt lock or a key lockable security screen to the Australian Standard AS 5039-2008.
  • Exterior windows (excluding windows fitted with security grilles to Australian standard AS 5039-2008, windows on, or above the second floor of the building and where the window is not easily accessible from outside the premises): must be fitted with a lock that prevents the window from being opened from outside. 
  • Main entry: Electrical light should be installed to light up the premises. It must also be fitted to or near the exterior of the residence.

Without the consent of both the Owner and Tenant, it is illegal to remove or change any locks of the premise. A case that bears an exception to the general rule is where there is Domestic Violence. Here a Tenant may change the locks at their own expenses without permission to safeguard their wellbeing. 

4. Swimming Pool, Spas and Ponds: Body of Water

One of the most preventable causes of death for young children (0-5) is drowning, thus precautionary measures are recommended to regulate any body of water. 

“All private swimming and spa pools that contain water that is more than 300 mm deep must have a compliant barrier installed that restricts access by young children to the pool and its immediate surrounds”. 

Western Australia Swimming Pool & Spa Association

Local councils conduct regular inspections, once in every four years, to ensure that bodies of water in premises meet the requirement of appropriate safety barriers. While the regulation may differ for pools and spas built before 2001 and post-May 2016, it is best to double-check with the local council on the specific requirements. 


Written by: Time Conti Sheffield’s Cindy Knight

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