The lessor is responsible for the property having a minimum level of security in place. The minimum security relates to door locks, window locks and exterior lights. The security required is specified in the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989.
All rental properties must be in line with the minimum security standards specified in the regulations (as of 1 July 2015).
If a tenant wants to fit additional security they must get the lessor’s permission before any work is started. Sometimes tenants and lessors agree to share the cost of upgrading security above minimum standards. If this happens it’s important to put it in writing and make sure both parties sign the agreement.
It is illegal for either a lessor or tenant to remove or change any locks without getting the consent of the other person first.
Minimum security standards:
Main entry door:
The minimum required security is either a deadlock or an AS 5039-2008 compliant key lockable security screen door.
The deadlock can be either a single cylinder or double cylinder. A single cylinder deadlock can be opened from the inside simply by turning the handle or a knob, allowing a person to exit the house quickly in case of an emergency.
The deadlock can be separate to the door handle or it can be incorporated into the handset.
There is no need to retrofit security if there already is an Australian Standards compliant key lockable security screen with a deadlock fitted.
All other external doors
The minimum required security is either a deadlock, a patio bolt lock (if a deadlock cannot be installed) or an AS 5039-2008 compliant key lockable security screen door. If there is a need to install a patio bolt, it does not need to be key lockable.
Windows must be fitted with a lock which prevents the window from being opened from outside the premises. This does not mean having to install keyed window locks, but all openable windows have latches, closers or locks fitted and be in working order.
If the window is fitted with an Australian standards (AS 5039-2008) compliant security screen, there is no requirement to retrofit a window lock.
Minimum required security is an electrical light at, or near, the main entry capable of illuminating the main entry to the premises and is operable from the inside.
This doesn’t apply if the property is a flat or apartment and the lighting is the responsibility of the strata body.