Blinds, curtain cords and rental property Queensland

 A reminder for the industry and investors due to a tragedy on the Sunshine Coast reported by the Courier Mail 30th November 2020. 

blind tragedy

The following notes are from the Property Management Excellence (PME) manual  as at 30th November 2020. the information is subject to change and or updates. 

Paragragh 3.3.22 Curtain and blinds cords

As of July 1 2011, new corded internal window coverings were required to meet a mandatory standard which includes warning labels on packaging, a warning label or swing tab attached to the cord plus specific cord requirements. For more specific information, please visit www.productsafety.gov.au. This requirement only applies to the purchase of new window coverings since July 2011. There are risk management and emergency maintenance obligations on lessors if there is a risk at the property. Continue reading this chapter for more information.

As of January 2015, further requirements were put into place, however, the requirements still apply to the installation of corded internal window coverings. The requirements fall under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 Competition and Consumer (Corded Internal Window Coverings) Safety Standard 2014. The following information is an extract from the explanatory statement of the standard.

Applies to installations of corded internal window coverings carried out in trade or commerce in domestic dwellings, excluding caravans, mobile homes and boats.

Definitions

The definitions in the regulation are the same as those set out in Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard - Corded Internal Window Coverings) Regulations 2010:

cleat means a device that has a bar with arms around which a cord can be wound, and that can be attached to a wall or other structure.

cord means a rope, strap, string, chain, line or wire used to manipulate a corded internal window covering.

corded internal window covering means:

                (a)    a window covering, such as a curtain or blind; or

               (b)    fittings used with a window covering, such as a traverse rod or track; that can be used inside a building and has a cord.

cord guide means a device designed to retract, tension or secure a cord.

retail packaging means the packaging in which a corded internal window covering is supplied when it is offered for retail sale.

 Requirements

  1. Installation.

The corded internal window covering must be installed in a way that ensures a loose cord cannot form a loop 220 mm or longer at or less than 1,600 mm above floor level and using any components specified in the installation instructions as necessary to meet requirements for cord safety.

The corded internal window covering must be also be installed in accordance with the installation instructions on any retail packaging for the covering and in accordance with any other installation instructions related to ensuring that a loose cord cannot form a loop as described in paragraph (1) (a).

No part of a cord guide may be installed lower than 1,600 mm above the floor level unless the cord guide will remain firmly attached to a wall or other structure specified in the instructions when subjected to a specified force and the cord is sufficiently secured or tensioned so as to prevent formation of a loop 220 mm or longer.

A cleat used to secure a cord must be installed at least 1,600 mm above floor level.

  1. Labelling.

 A person installing a corded internal window covering must attach a label to it containing the name and contact details of the person or company responsible for the installation and must not remove any warning label or swing tag supplied with the corded internal window covering.

Source www.commlaw.gov.au

Agency risk management advice

If a possible risk is identified at the property such as loose blind cords, property managers should treat the situation like an emergency repair. The emergency repair (refer section 214 RTRA Act) definition includes a fault likely to injure a person.

Property managers should encourage lessors to have a risk assessment carried out by a reputable contractor to ensure that the existing corded internal window coverings in the property (curtains, blinds etc.) are safe. It is a lessor obligation under section 185 of the RTRA Act to ensure their rental property is safe and fit to live in, plus the definition of an emergency repair includes an matter that makes the premises unsafe (section 214). A best practice letter for lessors can be found at member online folder 03 blinds and curtains, or email us as part of membership support.

185 Lessor’s obligations generally

(1) This section does not apply to an agreement if—

(a) the premises are moveable dwelling premises consisting only of the site for the dwelling; and

(b) the tenancy is a long tenancy (moveable dwelling).

(2) At the start of the tenancy, the lessor must ensure—

(a) the premises and inclusions are clean; and

(b) the premises are fit for the tenant to live in; and

(c) the premises and inclusions are in good repair; and

(d) the lessor is not in breach of a law dealing with issues about the health or safety of persons using or entering the premises; and

(e) the premises and inclusions otherwise comply with any prescribed minimum housing standards applying to the premises or inclusions.

[s 185]

(3) While the tenancy continues, the lessor—

(a) must maintain the premises in a way that the premises remain fit for the tenant to live in; and

(b) must maintain the premises and inclusions in good repair; and

(c) must ensure any law dealing with issues about the health or safety of persons using or entering the premises is complied with; and

(d) if the premises include a common area—must keep the area clean; and

(e) must ensure the premises and inclusions otherwise comply with any prescribed minimum housing standards applying to the premises or inclusions.

Note—

See section 217 for the tenant’s obligations to notify the lessor about damage to premises and the need for repairs.

(4) However, the lessor is not required to comply with subsection (2)(c) or (3)(a) for fixtures attached to premises,

and inclusions supplied with premises, (the non-standard items) if—

(a) the lessor is—

(i) the State; or

(ii) the replacement lessor under a community housing provider tenancy agreement; and

(b) the non-standard items are specified in the agreement and the agreement states the lessor is not responsible for their maintenance; and

(c) the non-standard items are not necessary and reasonable to make the premises a fit place in which to live; and

(d) the non-standard items are not a risk to health or safety;

and

(e) for fixtures—the fixtures were not attached to the premises by the lessor.

[s 186]

(5) In this section—

premises include any common area available for use by the tenant with the premises.

Subsection 4 only applies to the Government and not to private lessors

 Blind and curtain cords

Low-hanging blind and curtain cords are a strangulation risk to young children. Think safety first with these helpful tips.

Keep out of reach

Make sure children can’t reach any blind or curtain cords, especially if they stand on the furniture.

Don’t let cords dangle into or near children’s equipment. This includes:

  • cots (or portable cots)
  • high chairs
  • playpens
  • anything else your child sits on, lies in or climbs on.

Avoid low-hanging cords

Make sure the bottom of any blind or curtain cord is at least 160cm above the floor. Wrap blind cords securely around a hook attached high on the wall.

Install safety devices

For older blinds install a cord tensioning device, such as cord holders and wind-ups, to hold the cord tight against a wall. Alternatively, retrofit the blind or curtain cord with breakaway tassels.

Safety products can be bought from hardware or curtain shops.

Seek advice

New blinds must meet safety standards and be installed in a safe manner

Sourced from www.qld.gov.au June 2017

Click here to review information from the ACCC regarding the blind and curtain laws