Is your investment property “fit for habitation”?

Under the current Legislation, Landlords are required to provide their rental property in a reasonable state of cleanliness and “fit for habitation”.

What does it mean for a property to be fit for habitation?  Up until now, there has been no clear definition of this for rental properties in NSW.

The Real Estate & Property Industry Reforms set to come in to effect on 23rd March 2020 include the introduction of 7 minimum standards which clarify the meaning of fit for habitation.  These are as follows:

1.  The property must be structurally sound*;
2.  The property must have adequate natural or artificial lighting in each room, except storage rooms or garages;
3.  The property must have adequate ventilation;
4.  The property must be supplied with electricity or gas, and have enough electricity or gas sockets for lighting, heating and other appliances;
5.  The property must have adequate plumbing and drainage;
6.  The property must have a water connection that can supply hot and cold water for drinking, washing and cleaning;
7.  The property must contain bathroom facilities, including toilet and washing facilities, that allow users’ privacy.

*The property is structurally sound only if the floors, ceilings, walls, supporting structures (including foundations), doors, windows, roof, stairs, balconies, balustrades and railings:
– are in a reasonable state of repair;
– with respect to the floors, ceilings, walls and supporting structures, are not subject to significant dampness;
– with respect to the roof, ceilings and windows, do not allow water penetration into the premises;
– are not liable to collapse because they are rotted or otherwise defective.

These minimum standards must be met at the commencement of each tenancy and maintained throughout the tenancy by way of repairs and maintenance.

Even with these minimum standards met, it will not automatically mean that the property is “fit for habitation” or “fit to live in”.  Some other requirements include:

1.  The property must be reasonably clean and have no mould or vermin;
2.  The property must be in a reasonable state of repair;
3.  The property must comply with health and safety laws;
4.  The property must be reasonably secure.

There are many more sections of the Acts and Regulations that are required to be adhered to in order to ensure the property is fit for habitation and in a reasonable rentable condition.

If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to email our team at pm@prex.com.au.