ARE DEADLOCKS REQUIRED IN RENTAL PREMISES?
Deadlocks and Window Locks
The issue of deadlocks and window locks as noted in the new Residential Tenancies Act legislation has been nothing short of a disaster.
Confusion has reigned supreme around the issue and to date, neither Consumer Affairs nor the Legislators have been able to provide a clear direction on what they consider a deadlock and/or appropriate window locks for rental property security standards. It seems that the wording in the new rental legislation has befuddled even the people who have written it. To date, they have refused to verify or comment on specific examples as provided by the REIV (Real Estate Industry Victoria), leaving the question completely unanswered.
We at First National Neilson Partners are aware that there are real estate agents who have taken action and are organising the installation of deadlocks and window locks to all external doors and windows at the properties they manage, all at the Rental Provider's cost. At present, Neilson Partners do not wish to engage any such contractors or ask our Rental Providers to spend any monies, until we have a clear understanding of what is expected and a directive as to what meets the imposed standards. This of course will not avoid action being taken for normal maintenance if a lock is not working.
What is a Functioning Deadlock?
For those who are unfamiliar with the matter, it is stated that a property’s external entry doors must have functioning deadlocks or be fitted with locks that can be unlocked with a key from the outside but can be unlocked without one from the inside.
When Don't I Need a Deadlock?
The only cases where a deadlock doesn’t have to be fitted to a door are when:
- A door cannot be secured with a deadlock - for example, because of its position
- It is a screen door in the same door frame as an external door
- A different type of lock or device is required under another Act or law
- The door is not directly accessible because there is another type of security barriers, such as a locked door to an apartment building, or a locked gate
- The property is registered under the Heritage Act 2017 and has an approved exemption from the standard.
Furthermore, all external windows in a rental property that can be opened must be lockable. They must also be able to be left open or closed. If the window can’t have a lock fitted, it must have a functioning latch to keep it closed.
Some Deadlocks to Consider
To date, these are some of the locks that have been put forward as meeting the definition of a deadlock (amongst others).
It is vitally important that a clear definition is available for Rental Providers, as many may already have an appropriate locking device and will not have to spend any money making alterations in order to be compliant.
Beyond that, based on the above terminology, does a garage roller door or external garage door negates the need to install a deadlock if the internal garage door is not directly accessible because there is another type of security barrier? Questions and more questions………
We will keep you updated as soon as we receive any further information or clarification on this particular issue.
In the meantime please contact the Neilson Partners Property Management team if required.