Laws allowing tenants to anchor furniture come into effect

Laws allowing tenants to anchor furniture come into effect

NEW laws allowing tenants to secure furniture to the walls of their rental home have come into effect, with landlords only allowed to object in limited circumstances.

The changes to the Residential Tenancies Act aim to prevent injuries and deaths caused by furniture and electronic equipment such as TVs falling on top of young children.

Since 2001, on average one child a year has died in Australia from toppling furniture with many more suffering serious injuries.

Previously, tenants were unable to anchor furniture to the wall without the landlord’s permission.

Now, they can submit a request form to affix furniture and landlords can only refuse under limited circumstances, such as the property being heritage listed or if there are asbestos issues.

Tenants are required to repair any damage to the wall at the end of their tenancy.

The catalyst for the law change in WA came in 2015 following the death of 21-month-old Reef Kite who was crushed by a chest of drawers in his family’s rental home.

The subsequent inquest into his death heard the landlord had refused a request to secure the furniture and the Coroner recommended the law be changed.

Furniture can also be anchored to the wall to protect people with a disability.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said landlords and their agents should now be well aware of this important amendment to the law.

“A small amount of damage to a wall which can easily be repaired is a small price to pay for ensuring the safety of children living in a rental home and preventing a possible death,” he said.

“Tenants need to be aware of these new rights and they should let Consumer Protection know if their request is being denied so we can check if the property owner’s refusal is justified.

“If not, we will take a dim view of property owners and/or their agents who may face either prosecution or disciplinary action if they do not comply with this new law.”

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