Protect littlies against injury from falling furniture: OFT

Protect littlies against injury from falling furniture: OFT

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All parents and caregivers want to make sure their home is as safe as possible for children, and tenants in rental properties are no exception. The Office of Fair Trading has issued advice for property managers and landlords ahead of the Christmas period. 

Toppling furniture is a significant household hazard. Tragically, every year, an average of one Australian child dies and nearly 100 Queensland children present to hospital emergency departments as a result of furniture tipping over.

Resources with advice on how to prevent injuries from toppling furniture are available on the Office of Fair Trading and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission websites. Simple steps can be taken to drastically reduce the risks, such as installing wall brackets and anchoring furniture to walls.

For tenants, the need to make their home safer may sometimes appear to conflict with a landlord’s desire to maintain and protect their property.

Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, tenants have the right to request approval from the landlord to install furniture wall brackets or anchoring devices. Generally speaking, providing the tenant agrees in writing that at the end of their tenancy they will return the property to the same condition as when they moved in, apart from fair wear and tear, the landlord should approve the request.

As real estate agents, you are uniquely placed to advise landlords of the importance of agreeing to reasonable requests such as these from tenants.

Landlords and agents have obligations towards, and owe a duty of care to, their tenants. Real estate agents may wish to seek further advice from the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) if they have any questions about their particular circumstances if a property owner refuses such modifications.

Safety is everybody’s responsibility. The OFT has asked the RTA to refer any complaints made about real estate agents or property owners refusing reasonable requests to install furniture safety devices to the OFT.

More information on managing a real estate business in Queensland is available from the OFT website at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.