The WA government is proposing changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that would require landlords to fit a single deadbolt lock on every front and back door as well as locks on all other external doors and windows.
Property Observer estimates it could cost landlords anything from $150 to hundreds of dollars to satisfy the proposed new requirement, depending on the number of doors and windows in a property.
The current guide to renting out property (prepared by WA’s consumer protection division) says for landlords to comply with the act, they “need only provide normal locks to external doors and ensure all opening windows can be secured by catches on the inside”.
The changes have been proposed by Finance Minister Simon O’Brien and are due to be introduced next year.
O’Brien says the changes are in response to feedback following a review of the act including from anti-domestic violence groups, who claimed deadbolts were needed for vulnerable women and to make easier for tenants to get home contents insurance.
However, the legislation has been slammed from within O’Brien’s own government, with Liberal backbencher Michael Sutherland writing to complain on behalf of his constituents about what he calls “petty regulations”.
"I am amazed that the government is getting down to this level of minutiae," Sutherland wrote, according to a report in the West Australian.
It has also been criticised by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), which describes the requirements as placing unrealistic expectations upon owners and exceeding the security levels that the average home owner would have.
The REIWA says security concerns are rarely raised as part of the 10,000 tenancy enquiries it receives each year.