Reminder of the dangers of toppling furniture and large appliances - Landlords bulletin 60
22 April 2022
Reminder of the dangers of toppling furniture and large appliances
You may be aware of the tragic death of a child in Byford late last year, which was caused by toppling furniture.
Consumer Protection is reminding landlords of the dangers of toppling furniture through a public awareness campaign, which includes a powerful film about the risks of toppling furniture.
Consumer Protection is seeking your help to inform your tenants about the risks and how they can take preventive action to keep children safe. Furniture can also be anchored to the wall to protect people with a disability.
Laws supporting children’s safety came into force in October 2019 for tenants who are now allowed to fix furniture to the walls of their rental home and the landlord can only object in limited circumstances.
This change to the tenancy laws aims to prevent injuries and deaths caused by furniture and electronic equipment such as TVs falling on top of young children.
On average, toppling furniture and appliances kill one child a year in Australia and many others suffer injuries, many involving brain damage and broken bones. There have been at least 27 deaths involving toppling furniture and televisions since 2000. Children under the age of five are particularly at risk and suffer the highest proportion of deaths and injuries in Australia. Many more have been admitted to emergency rooms with injuries. These injuries and deaths are largely preventable and your assistance is critical in reducing the likelihood of further incidents occuring.
Please be aware that property owners and/or their agents may face either prosecution or disciplinary action if they do not comply with this law.
Summary of key points for landlords
- Laws are now in place allowing tenants to fix furniture and appliances to walls with the permission of the landlord or their agent. Permission cannot be refused except in very limited circumstances, such as the home is heritage-listed or the walls contain asbestos.
- After receiving a request from a tenant, you have 14 days to respond. If you do not respond in this time, the tenant is entitled to go ahead regardless, however, they must repair the wall at the end of the tenancy.
- Tenants need to ensure when securing items, they check that the fixings are appropriate for the item’s size and weight and seek professional help to affix furniture to avoid any injury, damage, or electrical wires/water pipes in the wall cavity.
Process for tenants to anchor furniture
- Tenants submit a request form 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.
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