With more people renting than ever before in Sydney, tenants and landlords need to know how to keep their rental properties safe and secure. Here are some helpful home security tips that apply specifically to the rental market.
Can tenants get the locks changed?
Most renters have a standard residential tenancy agreement, under which they agree NOT to get the locks or other security devices changed without a reasonable excuse.
A reasonable excuse includes:
• An emergency
• An order of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
• A tenant ends his/her tenancy
• An apprehended violence order prohibits a tenant or occupant from the premises.
If the landlord agrees, a tenant can get the locks changed, even without a “reasonable excuse”. In any event, the tenant has 7 days to give the landlord a copy of the new key (or the new means of entry).
Can tenants add an extra layer of security?
The short answer is no, unless there is a reasonable excuse (see above) or the landlord agrees.
Window safety devices are another matter. Since March 2018, all above-ground windows, identified as a safety risk for children, must have child safety locks. However, this only applies to strata buildings regulated under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and it’s the landlord’s responsibility to install the locks.
How landlords can help tenants to feel secure
Landlords can help tenants feel secure by observing the terms of the standard residential tenancy agreement. For starters, landlords must provide and maintain locks (or other means of security) so as to ensure the premises are “reasonably secure”.
The law provides no clear definition of “reasonably secure”, but insurance companies can give guidance. It might be useful to ask them what locks and security devices they require to insure home contents. If the property does not meet their standards, it might not be “reasonably secure” and you may need to upgrade the security.
How landlords can keep their property safe
One of the best ways to keep a rental property safe, is by using a restricted key system. This will ensure that keys can only be copied by an authorised person. It will give you complete control over who has access to your property, even as tenants come and go.
At Lock, Stock and Barrel Locksmiths, we are experienced, professional, mobile locksmiths operating in Sydney’s North Shore. Contact us today for all your rental property security needs.