Owners – NZ

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the purpose of a PropertySafe Report?

The purpose of a PropertySafe report is to provide you with the opportunity to mitigate any existing risks. By identifying all potential risks you have an excellent opportunity to significantly increase the safety of the tenants in your investment property. Key to understanding the role of a PropertySafe report is to appreciate that currently if someone unfortunately gets injured in a rented property the owner is inevitably the primary target in apportioning blame. There is increasing awareness around the rights of tenants and if an injury is deemed to be caused by an issue that should have been addressed, even if the owner was unaware of it, then the property insurer may have an exclusion clause in their policy. Simply put, having this report done merely materialises most of the hidden existing risks you are currently exposed to and enables you to further protect yourself in an extremely cost effective way.

Who is PropertySafe?

PropertySafe is a national service specialising in safety inspections on residential properties, owner-occupied or rented. We assess properties on behalf of landlords and property managers providing recommendations to maximise the safety of occupants.

Why should I have a safety inspection of my property done?

As a Landlord you have significant legal exposure if known safety defects (or defects that should have been known) result in tenant injury in your property. Even the most professional managing agents are not qualified or equipped to recognise all safety issues in your property. The PropertySafe Risk Management and Inspection System will ensure you are informed and your property manager has the tools at hand to protect your interests.

Do Tenants really have a right to live in a safe property?

Yes. It is like renting a car. There is a Duty of Care on the vehicle owner to ensure the car is roadworthy. As a renter you just take for granted the safety is taken care of. This is the same for employees in workplaces and for tenants in your property.

A landlord has a duty to guarantee the safety of rented property and that no injury or damage is caused to the tenants, neighbours or public as a direct result of them neglecting their responsibilities. Each state also has its own specific requirements through the respective Rental Tenancy Acts. Your managing agent has a responsibility to ensure these obligations are met within the scope and authority of their managing agreement with you however ultimate responsibility rests with you.

What's included in a PropertySafe Report - SCOPE?

Click HERE to see the PropertySafe inspection SCOPE

What does the report look like - SAMPLE?

Click HERE to see a SAMPLE PropertySafe report.

Is there a further discount if I own multiple properties?

Bulk offer discount via your agency
If you have received an email from your property manager inviting you to accept or decline a PropertySafe report you automatically receive the nominated bulk offer discount as detailed in that email as well as the opportunities below.

2-4 properties – 10% discount
NB: Please contact us immediately after order to receive this discount. If this contact is not made before the completion of the reports no discount will be applied.

Each leased residence requires an individually completed and insured report. If you order 2-4 residences within the same region or building e.g. both sides of a duplex, 4 units in a building or 3 homes in the same or neighbouring suburbs, a 10% discount is available per report. To obtain this discount you must contact us immediately after order (inspections@propertysafe.com.au or 1300 155 888) to give us an opportunity to arrange all inspections for the same day. Note: If the order is for all units within 1 building, the report for unit 1 will include the common areas as per our scope.

5 or more properties – 15% discount
NB: Please contact us immediately after order to receive this discount. If this contact is not made before the completion of the reports no discount will be applied.

Each leased residence requires an individually completed and insured report. If you order 5 or more residences within the same region or building a 15% discount is available per report. To obtain this discount you must contact us immediately after order (inspections@propertysafe.com.au or 1300 155 888) to give us an opportunity to arrange all inspections for the same day. Note: If the order includes all units within 1 building, the report for unit 1 will include the common areas as per our scope.

Granny Flat with separate lease 50% discount
NB: Please contact us immediately after order to receive this discount. If this contact is not made before the completion of the reports no discount will be applied.

Each leased residence requires an individually completed and insured report. If you order for both the main house and associated granny flat a 50% discount is available for just the flat provided access is supplied to both dwellings for the same day and time by the property owner/manager. To obtain this discount you must contact us immediately after order (inspections@propertysafe.com.au or 1300 155 888) for us to apply the discount and inform the inspector before scheduling.

Share accommodation with individual leases 80% discount
NB: Please contact us immediately after order to receive this discount. If this contact is not made before the completion of the reports no discount will be applied.

Each leased residence requires an individually completed and insured report. When there is 1 building with multiple rooms individually leased e.g. share accommodation or studio apartments, full fee is required for room 1 and the common areas as per our scope and a further 80% discount is offered for each remaining room provided access is supplied to all rooms at the same day and time by the property owner/manager. To obtain this discount you must contact us immediately after order (inspections@propertysafe.com.au or 1300 155 888) for us to apply the discount and inform the inspector before scheduling.

Are the inspectors qualified and insured?

At this time every inspector must adhere to the following:

  • Have nationally recognised qualifications in Building with at least Low Rise, Carpentry and/or a Building Inspection diploma/certification.
  • Completed and clear a national police check.
  • Complete the PropertySafe Certification requirements being:
    • Successfully completed over 40 hours of on-line education via R.T.O. Novaskil (individual certificate available on request).
    • Competently completed over 100 hours infield training, supervision and assessment.
    • Agreed to the PropertySafe Inspector Code of Conduct (copy available on request).
    • Have current certified Professional Indemnity insurance $5,000,000 any one Claim and $10,000,000 in the aggregate.
    • Have current Public Liability insurance $5,000,000

What is included in a unit (apartment) strata/body corporate safety inspection (scope)?

Inspection scope includes the interior of the unit and associated balconies, the main public entry door and foyer, the immediately adjacent external area (within 2 metres) of the main public entry door, walkways to and from the unit door between the main public entry, stairwell and elevator (if present), the main stairwell up to 3 levels (when no elevator present) and the parking space or garage associated with the unit if accessible. When an elevator is used, we inspect and report on the interior of the elevator. Inspection specifically excludes all stairwells (when an elevator is present) and all remaining common internal or external areas, grounds, steps, stairs, balconies, walkways, structures and buildings. Any obvious safety risks noticed at any time during our movement to and from the building will be noted in Inspector Observations.

Our inspection scope explained above may include areas or sections that are managed by a Strata and/or the Body Corporate entity. In these instances any safety issue discovered during the inspection in those areas can be referred to those services via your Property Manager. In most instances the interior of the residence is the responsibility of the owner. To obtain a detailed understanding of what sections, areas and locations are the responsibility of the strata/body corporate service please refer to your strata/body corporate contract and/or your Property Manager.

Is this a compliance report?

The PropertySafe residential safety inspection is not a pre-purchase, compliance or building certification report. The premise for the report is first and foremost, regarding safety, by alerting home owners to safety risks and providing options to mitigate those risks. The scope of the inspection is based on statistics associated with hospital treated home injuries, general medical practice presentation, legal claims for injury and a reasonable persons expectation of inclusion. Guidance for the inspection scope has been received via excerpts from several building codes, practises and standards including the Healthy Homes ACT, Warrant of Fitness recommendations, Asbestos regulations and the Monash Report into slips, trips and falls although we do not purport to encompass all of the inclusions in those documents. The report is a result of findings based on a clear scope of inclusions and exclusions and may at times include comments associated with legislated requirements both current, in discussion, retrospective or non-retrospective although PropertySafe have no authority to compel compliance.

Note: If any ‘Very High’ or ‘High’ life threatening issues are discovered, we are obliged to notify the occupant of the home (if present at the time of inspection), according to The Inspectors Code of Conduct. The Property Manager would also be notified immediately. An example of this type of issue could be a gas leak or exposed 240v wiring.

Doesn’t my Agent undertake a safety report with the property condition report?

No. A property condition report is not designed to be a Risk Management Inspection and does not cover the identification, testing, documenting and quoting of potential safety hazards to any extent.

Will I be up for big costs to implement the recommendations?

No – any significant items would be necessary under state or national regulations irrespective of how they are identified. Safety hazards are frequently low cost to rectify and the Maintenance Manager system actually helps property managers arrange quotes for easy comparisons and lower cost repairs.

Wouldn’t the building report done when I bought the property cover safety issues?

No. Building reports often partially cover some safety issues however they are completed to advise you of the structural integrity of the building at the time of inspection and compliance issues in relation to building standards for when the property was constructed. A safety report is designed to ensure the home environment is safe to live in and takes into account current recommendations from Coroners and Courts to help you mitigate your risk.

All work on my property is certified by the tradesman. Why do I need a safety inspection?

From time to time repairs, maintenance and possibly improvements are done to the property. Any certification, documentation and insurance cover for work done will only apply to a specific job done by a specific trade. A trade installer/repairer will not consider the whole of the property for safety hazards outside their scope after they have completed a job. It’s highly unlikely a trade repairer could even examine a property for safety hazards not in their specific trade because they:

  • don’t get paid to perform the additional work nor accept the additional professional risk,
  • will not have the training, certification or equipment required,
  • will not have the Public Liability insurance to operate outside their own trade qualification, and
  • will not have any Professional Indemnity insurance needed to assess safety and provide a safety report.

An owner is consequently exposed should a claim be made for any issues outside the field of those who have done work on the property. For example, if the steps collapse and injure the tenant, having documentation from the electrician who installed the new hot water system 2 years ago and the glazier who replaced glass 6 months ago will not protect the owner against a claim if the steps collapse.

Taking it further, if there is a claim, an owner would typically claim under their Public Liability cover through Building, Contents or Landlord Insurance policies. Most insurance PDS documents contain wording that can exclude or limit an owner’s claim if it is found they neglected maintenance or did not take reasonable steps to assess ‘foreseeable’ risk in the property. Claims are frequently settled out of court so it is unclear if or when these policy conditions are invoked. For sure, no-one would want to be in that position if a claim was lodged. With claims rising dramatically it is possible that claim assessments will tighten.  

PropertySafe inspectors are trained, certified, equipped and insured to assess the safety of residential properties. The inspection covers at least 14 hazard categories to get a complete picture of the property safety condition. This benefits the owner who can then provide evidence of having taken all reasonable steps to ensure tenant safety if any issues subsequently arise. 

 

How long will it take?

The time taken on the property will vary depending upon the size of the property and the level of magnitude of any issues. The inspector is usually on-site for between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours.

Is the report expensive?

No. Excluding smoke alarm testing which is now a generally accepted service cost for rentals properties, the investment in a PropertySafe report is about $6.50 per week over the recommended annual cycle of inspection. This is a very small investment for peace of mind. After discussions with managing agents we firmly believe a property can be rented for a higher amount if it has been PropertySafe inspected as it will provide peace of mind to tenants, creating you a financial benefit while minimising your risk.

How often do I need a safety inspection and how long is it valid for?

The current PropertySafe standard for the frequency of a recommending a residential safety inspection is annually. With regard to validity periods, for all intents and purposes a safety inspection, similar to a condition report, details conditions that were present on the day of inspection only and those conditions can change at any time. Having said that, a residential safety inspection by PropertySafe is and will be considered best practice by property owners in this country at this time in history.

Aren’t safety inspections only really required for Workplaces?

No. Your investment Property is really a business and the safety of all people who attend the property should be taken seriously from a health and safety point of view. Rental properties are already required to be inspected for compliance of smoke alarms and swimming pools. Coroners are now recommending new laws.

From an agency perspective, each rental property is actually a workplace that employees attend when they visit for inspection or showings so the added weight of WHS laws apply to an unsafe property.

Will a PropertySafe report make my property more saleable?

Yes, provided the recommendations of the report are adopted. Purchasers and their solicitors will have comfort in knowing the property being purchased is not a legal time bomb in terms of potential injury to tenants.

Am I obligated to rectify any issues discovered?

The report highlights any safety issues identified as being minor, moderate or major. Any major issues would be of most concern and then moderate and so on. In all instances it at the home owner’s discretion as to what, if any, rectifications are made and to what degree. The report offers a risk matrix for each issue discovered to support the owner in making those decisions. It has been our experience that owners give immediate attention to major issues in the first instance and then decide on lower risk issues individually based of an opinion of merit and financial viability risk to cost assessment. Every issue eliminated or modified removes or lowers the risk of harm to the property occupants and guests. Often many rectifications can be completed at a minimal cost.

Do I need an inspection if the home is new?

It would be a reasonable assumption that newer homes would have less safety risks associated with them if constructed compliantly and therefore be a lower risk than older properties. Completing a safety inspection would mitigate that risk further. Often renovations or installed fixtures and fittings after initial construction can create safety hazards. Home owners should consider the risk and cost to benefit ratio when making a decision to accept or decline the recommendation for a residential safety inspection of a new home.

How do I know what action is needed?

In addition to the Report, the Maintenance Manager system automatically produces an Action List for you to review and follow-up each item and a detailed quote/information sheet for each issue recommended for action.

What inspection tools do the inspectors use?

Inspection tools include: In-field application, Torch, Gas detector, Voltage finder; Moisture meter; Thermometer; Sound level meter; Toughened glass indicator; measuring tape.

When will I get the report?

As soon as the inspector completes the on-site inspection the report is automatically produced and you are notified by email.

What if I forget to undertake a repair or liaise with the Managing Agent?

No problem, the Maintenance Manager system is designed to give you accurate information and a gentle reminder to ensure something (or someone!) doesn’t slip through the cracks.

What information is kept in PropertySafe?

The PropertySafe system does not access or require or store any personal details other than the property address, contact number and email address. No historical, financial or banking detail regarding properties, owners or tenants are held. To ensure you are protected even further all correspondence with your property manager is also stored in one place on the Maintenance Manager system.

Will my details be passed onto any third parties?

No. The trust you place in us is to advise you on your property and your privacy is something we respect and take very seriously.

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