Having a healthy, safe home is important for your own family as well as visitors. The good news is that most homeowners will comply with the relevant laws already. But it’s worth knowing the details to avoid injuries to people renting your property.
It’s one thing to know that your property is safe for your family and friends; it’s another to extend this to larger groups, and people who aren’t familiar with the house.
Take decks. You may have small children who know what to do and what not to do around a potentially unsafe railing (for example, one that a child can drag a chair over to, and climb onto). But bring other children into the mix who are not under your watchful eye, and it’s an entirely different situation.
There’s also the issue of capacity. You may have had a bbq at your place with 20 people but your house potentially accommodates 50 people. If you’re going to rent it to a group of that size, you need to make sure there are adequate exits and entrances in case of an emergency, that a deck’s design capacity can cope with that number of people, and that there are no risks that you know of, but your guests may not be aware of. Remember, too, that even if you don’t allow your guests to have additional visitors at the property, those 50 could swell to larger groups, stretching the capacity of the property to breaking point – literally.
It’s also important to contact your local authority to see if there are any health and safety regulations or by-laws made under the Local Government Act 2002 that you need to comply with. Owners of properties in Queenstown, for example, need to provide Type 1 domestic smoke alarms located within the escape routes and test them monthly and they’re limited to two adults per bedroom.
Unless you’re building a new home the biggest concern for owners who want to stay within the law are the Housing Improvement Regulations, the Health Act, and the provisions in the Building Act relating to dangerous and insanitary buildings.
If you let your home to large groups you need to be aware of the overcrowding runs in the Housing Improvement Regulations. The rules say there must be one bathroom and toilet for every 10 people who stay at your property. If you break these regulations the fines are $40 plus $10 a day.
And finally, when renting out your property, consider taking out public liability insurance on top of your home and contents insurance.
For more detail, read our top 8 safety issues you should be aware of