While spring has only just begun, bushfire season is already upon us with much of the country facing a significant bushfire threat due to above average temperatures and low rainfall. The time to act is now.
Fire authorities across the country are bracing themselves for a tough season this year and have brought forward the annual bushfire season, urging all Australians to start preparing their properties now. As a property manager, you can help by providing information on the best preventative measures to take now to all landlords with rental properties in bushfire prone areas and their tenants.
Bushfire preparation checklist for landlords
- Inspect all smoke alarms to ensure they are working
- Trim trees on the property, especially those close to the dwelling (at least a two metre gap between the house and any tree branches is recommended)
- Clear the roof and gutters of debris
- Install metal gutter guards
- Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
- Clear trees or branches around power lines
- Ensure the house number is clearly visible from the street
- If there is a pool, tank or dam at the property, erect a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign at the entrance to the property so fire fighters know where they can access water
- Check the home building insurance policy to ensure it is adequate
Bushfire preparation checklist for tenants
- Purchase a garden hose with metal fittings that is long enough to reach all areas of the house
- Mow the lawns regularly
- Ensure the valves on LP gas cylinders are pointing outwards, away from the house
- Check that there is sufficient contents insurance cover
- Prepare an evacuation plan and emergency kit
The ultimate risk mitigation strategy
Every landlord has a clear responsibility to ensure their tenant is provided with a safe home and this includes a property that doesn’t contain potential fire hazards. If it can be proven in a court of law that a tenant’s home was lost to fire because their landlord failed to do everything possible to remove fire hazards on the property, they could be held liable.
Prevention is the key and the best way to protect all stakeholders is to recommend that the landlord have a PropertySafe inspection conducted by a fully qualified safety inspector. Not only will the inspection identify any fire hazards at the property but it will also identify all other hazards, including slip and trip hazards, fall hazards, and electrical hazards, to name just a few, as well as recommended actions to mitigate those risks. Those recommended actions can then be attended to by the landlord or by the appropriate trades professional in your network. Click here to learn more.