Being a landlord offers many benefits: amongst them, a time-proven way to build wealth via the security of ‘bricks and mortar’, plus the potential to reduce your tax liability whilst retaining an asset of considerable value. It isn’t all beer and skittles though – being a landlord can also place you at risk should you ignore your responsibilities towards tenants’ welfare and safety. Ignoring intermittent or ongoing maintenance issues in your investment property is not only unethical – it can also lead to serious financial repercussions.

Of late, there have been several disturbing cases reported across Australia of tenants being wounded or fatally injured in their leased properties, resulting in expensive legal battles. The facts are clear: if an individual is hurt within a rental property, they will seek compensation from the property’s owner.

In an increasingly litigious society, recent cases of serious injury and fatality in rental properties have refocussed many landlords on reducing their personal risk by
implementing a due diligence safety programme across their property portfolio. Your property manager’s routine inspection details all the basics about the state of
your investment such as cleanliness and the general care of the property by your tenant – but they are not qualified risk assessments.

So where to begin your own risk-reduction programme? Focus your attention on areas of high danger: think balconies and their hand railings, pool gates, wet areas and timber decks – all areas of a home which can slowly deteriorate without appearing obviously damaged. Gas and electrical appliances are also sources of potential danger. It makes sense for landlords to be proactive about protecting themselves and their tenants by appointing a skilled contractor who is able to make an assessment of their property, reporting on both the risk and state of repair of high-danger areas onsite.

Obtaining a building assessment report reduces your risk and may even help mitigate losses should any injury claim be lodged against you, the landlord. Happily,
these reports will also give you a true snapshot of the general repair of your investment, encouraging you to maintain your asset and saving you money in the long run.

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