NEW laws are on the way that could force landlords to pay for deck and termite inspections each time a new tenant moves in.
Experts believe such a move could have prevented Wednesday night’s stair collapse in Brisbane that sent a group of trick-or-treaters plunging several metres.
Up to 10 children – aged from six to 15 – had just set out for a night of Halloween fun when the staircase of a Hawthorne home collapsed under them. None of the children were seriously injured.
Inspectors from the Building Services Authority went to the Hawthorne rental property to determine what caused the collapse.
“Our investigations will examine all material components used in the construction of the stairs and the construction methods used,” general manager Ian Jennings said.
On the same day as the stair collapse, a discussion paper on changes to theResidential Tenancies Act was issued – the beginning of a move to ensure balconies on rental properties are not left to rot and become dangerous.
The Government was advised to strengthen laws by Rockhampton coroner Annette Hennessy following the death of baby Bella Diefenbach last year.
Bella died when her father dropped her as his leg went through rotten decking boards on their Yepoon rental home.
Ms Hennessy said changes should be made to current laws forcing homeowners to pay for building and pest inspections each time a home was rented.
Following the death of a woman in a 2008 deck collapse, State Coroner John Lock strongly urged anyone with a pre- World War II home to have their decks and balconies inspected.
Archicentre Queensland general manager Ian Agnew said most people would have no idea there was anything wrong with their balconies or stairs.
“A lot of these problems – like wood rot and termite infestation – are not always visible,” Mr Agnew said.
A spokesman for Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg said the Government was committed to revising the laws. “The thinking about this has certainly been reactivated with the Halloween incident,” he said.