VIC Increase in Safety & Compliance Obligations in Victoria

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by SydneyInvestor, 29th May, 2020.

Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community
  1. SydneyInvestor

    SydneyInvestor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jan, 2016
    Posts:
    286
    Location:
    sydney
    Hi Friends,

    I have received an email from my Property Manager for property in Geelong. The email states that regulations make it mandatory for landlords to ensure their properties have:
    • Smoke Alarm safety checks at least once every 12 months;
    • Gas & electrical safety checks of all appliances, installations & fittings at least every 2 years; and
    • Detailed records of all safety checks retained and reports made available to tenants on request.
    For that they are engaging Detector Inspector’s Safer Home Package to bundle these services into annual fee that covers all your smoke alarm, gas and electrical compliance needs for $379.80 (+GST) per property per year. Also Initial Compliance Service fee of $678.60 (+GST) which includes above fees for first year.

    To me, above arrangement looks very expensive as gas and electrical check is not needed every year. Moreover costs look inflated.
    Looking for suggestions from property owners in Victoria/Geelong on what they are doing for this change so I can suggest back to my Property manager on this. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: 29th May, 2020
    Never giveup likes this.
  2. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    619
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Ask them to show you the legislation that says you need all of that.
     
  3. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,472
    Location:
    NSW
    In November 2019, the Victorian state government released a draft of proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Regulations (Vic), due to come into effect on 1 July 2020...... but not law yet - pushed back (I think??) to 1 January 2021.
    Gas & electrical every 2 years.
    Smoke alarms every 1 year.
     
    SydneyInvestor likes this.
  4. SydneyInvestor

    SydneyInvestor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jan, 2016
    Posts:
    286
    Location:
    sydney
    Thanks @S.T and @Propertunity , yes they have said law in effect from Jan 2021.
    I could not find checking of gas and electrical every 2 years online.
    Even if it has been done, was looking for advise on what others are doing. I do not expect everyone to be going with above package scheme.
     
  5. S.T

    S.T Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    619
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I'll be waiting until its actually legislation before doing anything. I strongly suggest you do ask your real estate for a copy of this legislation and see what they say, also ask them if they receive any commission from Detector Inspector.
     
    abc_123, qak and SydneyInvestor like this.
  6. SydneyInvestor

    SydneyInvestor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jan, 2016
    Posts:
    286
    Location:
    sydney
    Thansk @S.T , will do so.
    Still open to any suggestions from others in Geelong who might have received something similar from their property managers. Thanks!
     
  7. Mat

    Mat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jun, 2016
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    QLD
    The legislation being referred to is the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018. Reading through it (I really hate the Victorian approach of not simply publishing an updated principal act, so we have to play jigsaw puzzles with two legislative pieces) there is a new obligation under S68B inserted into the principal act for a residential rental provider (the act replaces the word "landlord" with "residential rental provider" everywhere) to comply with prescribed requirements to keep and produce records of gas and electrical safety checks - but I cannot find a prescribed requirement anywhere apart from the one referring to rooming houses/sharehouses.
     
    Propertunity likes this.
  8. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,472
    Location:
    NSW
  9. SydneyInvestor

    SydneyInvestor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jan, 2016
    Posts:
    286
    Location:
    sydney
    Thanks @Propertunity .
    @Mat
    So, the requirement is there as I can read in one of the documents :

    15. Gas safety activities

    This safety-related activity only applies if the rented premises contain any appliances, fixtures or fittings which use or supply gas.

    (a) The rental provider must ensure that a gas safety check of all gas installations and fittings in the rented premises is conducted every 2 years by a licensed or registered gasfitter and must provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check on request of the renter.

    (b) If a gas safety check has not been conducted within the last 2 years at the time the renter occupies the premises, the rental provider must arrange a gas safety check as soon as practicable.

    16. Smoke alarm safety activities

    (a) The rental provider must ensure that:

    (i) any smoke alarm is correctly installed and in working condition; and

    (ii) any smoke alarm is tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions at least once every 12 months; and

    (iii) the batteries in each smoke alarm are replaced as required.

    (b) The rental provider must immediately arrange for a smoke alarm to be repaired or replaced as an urgent repair if they are notified by the renter that it is not in working order.

    (c) The rental provider, on or before the occupation day, must provide the renter with the following information in writing:

    (i) information about how each smoke alarm in the rented premises works;

    (ii) information about how to test each smoke alarm in the rented premises;

    (iii) information about the renter’s obligations to not tamper with any smoke alarms and to report if a smoke alarm in the rented premises is not in working order.

    (d) The renter must give written notice to the rental provider as soon as practicable after becoming aware that a smoke alarm in the rented premises is not in working order.

    Note: Regulations made under the Building Act 1993 require smoke alarms to be installed in all residential buildings.

    The question now is what would be a cost effective way to do that rather than paying someone to do it every year for around 450$ :)
     
  10. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,472
    Location:
    NSW
  11. Mat

    Mat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jun, 2016
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    QLD
    Thanks for that. Assuming the proposed regulations come into effect as written there, you would indeed need to arrange a check by a licensed gasfitter and electrician once every two years (standard term on the lease agreement) but there's no requirement to engage professionals to test smoke alarms. Every smoke alarm I've seen, the manufacturer's test directions are to poke it with a stick. I'm sure your PM is capable of poking it with a stick?

    That said sometimes these smokie mobs do a deal where for $100 a year or so they'll also do unlimited callouts for faulty alarms, replace batteries every inspection, and replace any faulty smoke alarms at no additional charge - you may see value in this.

    Incidentally, if you only have one gas appliance, DI will do the same deal for $320 so your agency may be taking the mickey. And if you have none, then you can just arrange an electrical safety check (which includes free safety switch/RCD/fuse replacements etc)
     
    SydneyInvestor likes this.
  12. ashish1137

    ashish1137 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12th Sep, 2015
    Posts:
    853
    Location:
    Sydney
    Interesting thread,
    I have 4 fully tenanted. I am paying $99.00 per property per year to maintain the smoke alarms. Any more than this, I might have to explore going there and inspecting myself. :D

    just wondering what sort of compliance be involved and who would be inspecting? Are they professional vendors? If yes, what sort of certification they follow?

    Regards
     
    Never giveup and SydneyInvestor like this.
  13. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5th Apr, 2016
    Posts:
    4,470
    Location:
    Melbourne
    They would have to be a licensed gas fitter/electrician for the gas and electrical checks.

    For the smoke alarm, they just need to know how to get up a ladder, read some instructions and change a battery, I assume.
     
    ashish1137 likes this.
  14. Mat

    Mat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jun, 2016
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    QLD
    Install hardwired smoke alarms and all they need to do is poke it with a stick and swish a duster over it.
     
    ashish1137 likes this.
  15. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5th Apr, 2016
    Posts:
    4,470
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Do these not have a battery back up?
     
  16. Mat

    Mat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23rd Jun, 2016
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    QLD
    They do but it would be years before you have to actually change them - and there's no test function for the battery backup (or, for that matter, legislative obligation to maintain the battery backup, just good practice to protect your property...), so just pop it out at tenancy changeovers, job done.
     
    Joynz likes this.
  17. Warren from Geelong

    Warren from Geelong Active Member

    Joined:
    22nd Nov, 2019
    Posts:
    30
    Location:
    Geeong
    Hey, I'm actually a Geelong PM and we highly recommend smoke alarm maintenance. We use Smarthouse as a preference and it's $99 annually. I also own a part of another agency in Melbourne and in that new business, we actually have that $99 Smarthouse fee on our authorities which means new landlords MUST agree to the annual checks. Smoke alarms are EXTREMELY important and given we are managing the properties, we don't trust that the tenants, the landlords or even our staff are qualified enough to ensure they are placed correctly and that they are working and not expired.

    More safety laws will come in, but for now, we simply advise the landlords on what they "should" do. For example, we like to see circuit breakers and safety switches rather than fuses. And we always ask when gas heaters were last serviced.

    All of the costs associated with these checks (in our case) are direct costs and there's no kick-back or financial benefit for us.

    Safety is important, but so too is managing the rental income for the property - but I think that blanket fees for checks and reports are not in the best interest of the asset. A good PM will just advise you of what you MUST or just SHOULD do.
     
  18. Fernfurn

    Fernfurn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    162
    Location:
    by a Bellarine beach
    I own two under Geelong and haven't received such a notice.
     
  19. Warren from Geelong

    Warren from Geelong Active Member

    Joined:
    22nd Nov, 2019
    Posts:
    30
    Location:
    Geeong
    @Fernfurn but do you have smoke alarm maintenance in place? If not, I highly recommend you do.
     
  20. rizzle

    rizzle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    285
    Location:
    Melbourne
    If I live in the same city as the IP, have purchased and installed a brand new smoke alarm with 10 year non removable battery, does the legislation permit me to go and check the device myself?

    $100 for a smoke alarm check is ridiculous for a device that costs ~$50. Granted tenant safety is highly important, but at that price why wouldn't you just install a brand new smoke alarm every year (if you live nearby).