On the rocks

Question from Tecwyn updated on 1st October 2013:

I have a rental property on the side of a hill. The front of the property has large natural rocks and there is some fencing which provides a part barrier to a small cliff. I am concerned about my liability should a child or tenant manage to fall and seriously hurt themselves. I'm making some enquiries about providing more robust fencing but would like to know what liability I have and who I can get to provide advice on whether or not it's considered a safety issue should the worst happen?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

If you’re concerned about the safety of your property you may like to ask your local council to advise you. The Residential Tenancies Act requires any landlord to “comply with all requirements in respect of buildings, health, and safety under any enactment so far as they apply to the premises”, and your local authority building inspector will be a good source of advice about fencing requirements for the particular property. Apart from legal requirements, you may like to consider what would make your property safe and attractive to a tenant. Not only will you get better peace of mind, but the tenants will probably be happier and more settled.

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