The home is the most common location for childhood injuries to occur. If you’re renting, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make any changes to your home to make it safer for your precious baby.
You’re allowed to make certain changes without your landlord’s permission. Some things you’ll need to ask your landlord about first, and others they cannot refuse without a good reason.
Here we break it down, and look at your rights when it comes to baby proofing your rental property. There have been some recent updates to renting laws, but please check your state or territory’s specific rules. To make your home as safe as possible, use Kidsafe’s Home Safety Checklist which provides guidance for baby-proofing every room.
What you can do without asking for permission
- Using adhesive child-safe locks on drawers and cupboards
- Using pressure-mounted baby safety gates
What you can do without permission as long as the property is not Heritage-listed
- Picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves, or brackets on all surfaces except exposed brick or concrete walls. Be careful of asbestos – for more information visit Asbestos Safety.
- You can secure furniture to walls (as long as it’s not exposed brick or concrete).
- Install blind or cord anchors. You can purchase safety kits to do this. Young children can strangle themselves with looped blind and curtain cords (they claim the lives of 1 or 2 Australian children every year).
- Hardware mounted (as in the type that screws in) child safety gates on walls (not exposed brick or concrete).
What you should ask permission to do first (but your landlord can’t refuse unless they have a good reason)
- Picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves, or brackets on all surfaces on exposed brick or concrete walls.
- Hardware mounted child safety gates on exposed brick or concrete walls.
- Wall anchors to secure furniture to exposed brick or concrete walls.
- Flyscreens/security screens on doors or windows.
- Modifications to secure external gates.
Why a rental provider might refuse changes
- The property has heritage protections that would be impacted by these changes.
- If they didn’t comply with other legal requirements .
- They would significantly change the property.
- If they would result in additional maintenance costs for the landlord.
- The changes can’t be reasonably reversed.
- The property is about to be sold or vacated.
- The landlord may ask for additional bond to cover the cost of undoing the changes at the end of your tenancy.
- If you think that your landlord has refused the changes without a good reason, you can apply for a ruling to your state’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
If you make changes that your landlord refused or didn’t agree to
- They can ask you to restore the property to the original condition immediately.
- Require you to pay the costs to restore the property to the original condition.
What you must do at the end of your tenancy
- If you’ve installed fixtures, altered or added anything to the property, you must restore it to the condition it was prior to the changes (allowing for fair wear and tear)
- Or, pay your landlord an equal amount to restore it.
- However, you may not have to do either of these things if your rental provider agrees or it’s in your rental agreement that you don’t have to.