Winter safety checks

In Queensland, temperatures can drop below freezing in winter, and many of us will use fires, dryers, hot water, and heaters to weather the cold snap. We’ve prepared a simple home safety checklist to help you get ready for winter.

Check your hot water system

To ensure the efficiency of your hot water system, test the pressure and temperature relief valves routinely. This can extend the lifespan of the hot water system and prevent failures. The RTA recommends referring to the manufacturer’s guide or operating manual on how to safely conduct a self-administered system check. If you are unsure, have a chat with your property manager/owner, as you want to avoid causing any damage to the appliance. Also contact your property manager if maintenance or repairs are needed.

Maintain ventilation in damp areas

Adequate ventilation is important during winter months, particularly in damp and steamy areas like the bathroom and laundry. Tenants should ensure proper ventilation in bathrooms and when using a clothes dryer. This could mean turning on exhaust fans or opening a window to prevent mould. Check the ceiling and dryer vents to ensure they are dust-free to maximise efficiency.

Inspect heating systems

Many of us start using heating systems, such as reverse cycle air conditioners, fireplaces or heaters, in the winter months. Make sure your heating system has been inspected and cleaned before use, including filters and chimneys. If you’re unsure, check with your property manager/owner.

Comply with smoke alarm legislation

Property managers/owners and tenants have obligations to ensure fire safety in rental premises. All rental properties across Queensland must be fitted with interconnected smoke alarms to ensure people and property are kept safe. Penalties apply if you do not comply with smoke alarm laws.

Now is the perfect time to test and clean smoke alarms as well as replace any flat or nearly flat batteries. Be sure to notify your property manager/owner immediately if a smoke alarm is not working, for a reason other than battery failure.

Find out more via the Queensland Fire Department website.

Maintain your lawn and garden

Although grass may not grow as quickly in colder weather, garden maintenance is still just as important in winter. Arrangements about lawn and garden maintenance should be listed in your tenancy agreement. If you are unsure about these responsibilities, speak to your property manager/owner for clarification. If your property has a pool, even though it may not be in use during the colder months, any pool maintenance will need to continue as agreed in the special terms of your tenancy agreement.

Your obligations as a tenant

The property manager/owner is responsible for ensuring the property is fit to live in, in a good state of repair and meets minimum housing standards. Tenants are responsible for keeping the property clean and ensuring they meet their obligations to any special terms in their rental agreement. They must also notify the property manager/owner of any maintenance or repairs needed in a timely manner.

Read more about the obligations of tenants and property managers/owners for maintenance and repairs in rental properties.