Alarm bells should be ringing for all investors if you have an investment property and there’s a possibility that you may actually have lead paint. There was a recent case against an owner of a property by a tenant because they were concerned about the concentrations of lead in the paint inside the house. In today’s show we talk with Peter Carter from Carter Capner Law.
Kevin: Alarm bells should be ringing for all investors if you have an investment property and there’s a possibility that you may actually have lead paint. There was a recent case against an owner of a property by a tenant because they were concerned about the concentrations of lead in the paint inside the house.
Peter Carter has been following this. Peter is from Carter Capner Law, and he joins me. Peter, give me the background of this. How widespread is the problem?
Peter: Kevin, this involved a home at Zillmere where the tenant had a long list of complaints that the agent hadn’t fixed from several months after moving in. But the most serious of the complaints was flaking lead paint, which the owner was compelled to remove promptly, and because that owner didn’t, there was financial compensation payable to the tenant.
Kevin: Do you know how much that was?
Peter: It involved a reduction in rent over the period of her occupation, and it allowed her to break the lease. It was $2500.
Kevin: Zillmere, you mentioned there, is a suburb in Brisbane. Is this confined only to Brisbane, or is it around Australia?
Peter: The issue is anywhere where lead paint can be found. I imagine certainly in Queensland that historically problems resurface from time to time, and it’s something that all landlords should be aware of. It’s something that all agents should be aware of, because it’s a precaution that they can easily take to determine whether that has existed in the home they’re about to let out to tenants.
Kevin: It’s pretty easy to do, because you can get a lead-detection kit, which I think only costs $10 or $15. You can get it from all of the good hardware chains. Are you suggesting that this is something that all landlords and all agents should be testing for?
Peter: Landlords owe a duty to ensure that the premises are habitable and safe at the time they let the home and to keep them in those conditions. This is a simple, easy test, as you say. It should be on the landlord’s list as a must-do before each tenancy.
Kevin: We’ve seen the fallout over the years in recent times as to what happened with asbestos. This could be the new alarm on the horizon.
Peter: It certainly could be. It’s a sleeper. It’s like plate glass not being to current standard. It’s the sort of thing that needs to be thoroughly investigated. It’s a real problem. It’s for people’s safety.
Kevin: This is one of the things I think you should be checking when you do have a managed property with your agent that they’re up to date on all this legislation and that they are in fact doing all these things, because at the end of the day, it is the owner of the property who has to bear the liability for this.
Peter: That’s right. It’s the owner who bears the financial loss. It’s the owner against whom court orders will be made and against whom health department investigations will be undertaken, so it’s a real issue.
Kevin: Peter, thank you for joining us today and bringing this to our attention. Peter Carter is from Carter Capner Law. Thanks, Peter.
Peter: Thanks, Kevin.