Is minimum security enough?

As the Australian rental market expands and more than one-third of the nation’s population lives in rental accommodation, new standards will need to be applied to all aspects of the rental property and the most important of these is the safety of the tenants, their possessions and indeed the properties themselves.

The state tenancy laws are very vague in the matter of a minimum standard of security, they don’t define what ‘reasonable’ security means in rental properties. Some states deal with security lighting outside the property others spend more time on window locks.

The tribunals in each state decide on a definition on a case-by-case basis. In the Sydney metropolitan area, it could mean double-cylinder deadlocks on the main doors and locks on the windows. In the inner city of Melbourne, it could also mean bars on ground-floor windows but in a rural area in Far North Queensland, this is unlikely.

In reality, decisions on security are reactionary ones; when there is a problem the law is applied and that’s an end to it until next time.

This is very blinkered and potentially costly and dangerous practice; something must go wrong before any standard of security is applied.

One industry that is attempting to provide some sort of definition of security in rental properties is the insurance industry. It simply will not insure a tenant’s possessions if security is not good enough for the area that the tenants are living in.
window security
Good security is increasingly an important part of tenant’s decision-making process when choosing a new rental property. Good modern security will attract better and longer term tenants, especially those living alone.

Security factors will also attract tenants to new apartment blocks where security entrances, swipe cards, concierges, security cameras and access to limited floors are the norm. Older less secure properties will stay on the market longer.

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