Photo by Zbysiu Rodak on Unsplash

Laws to allow renters to fix furniture to walls to prevent death or injury to children from toppling furniture have passed through WA State Parliament.

The Consumer Protection Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 amends the Residential Tenancies Act and means landlords must allow tenants, who submit a request form, to attach furniture to a wall to prevent a child, or a person with a disability, from being hurt or killed.

Owners can only refuse the form request in very limited circumstances, such as when the home is heritage-listed or if the walls contain asbestos.

Tenants who attach furniture to walls will have to repair the wall at the end of the tenancy agreement.

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Commerce Minister, John Quigley said: “As well as the tragic death of Reef Kite who was killed by a chest of drawers falling on him in a rental home in Perth, toppling furniture has resulted in the deaths of at least 22 young children across Australia since 2001.”

“Many other children have suffered brain injuries or broken bones.

“The simple action of anchoring furniture can save the life of a child or a person with a disability, and a wall can usually be repaired with ease by filling holes and repainting.

“I’m pleased the McGowan Government has been able to get these common-sense changes through Parliament to prevent injury and death in WA rental homes in future.

“It’s a bonus that this Bill sees outdated components in a range of Acts administered by Consumer Protection updated in ways that reduce red tape and make improvements for business and in the community.”

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These important changes come after the tragic death of 21-month-old Reef Kite who was killed by a falling chest of drawers at his family’s rental home in 2015. An inquest heard the furniture had not been secured to the wall because permission was not granted.

Amending tenancy law, in light of Reef’s preventable death, was a recommendation of the Western Australian Coroner’s report, delivered in November 2017.

The Bill also makes a series of amendments to improve the administration of a range of occupational licensing schemes.

These changes will assist real estate and settlement agents to better understand their obligations and manage their licensing applications online, as well as giving consumers improved access to property industry insurance and compensation schemes.

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