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Your rights and responsibilities

Essential safety measures: who should pay for them

An Advisory Opinion on Essential Safety Measures was handed down by VCAT on 1 May 2015.

These safety measures include items such as smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, fire exit signs and annual safety inspections.

The key elements are:

  • A landlord must pay any costs involved with compliance with essential safety measure obligations and cannot pass on these costs to the tenant.
  • The landlord may agree with the tenant for the tenant to meet the requirement for some obligations, but at the landlord’s expense.
  • The landlord cannot pass on to the tenant as outgoings the cost of complying with certain repairs and maintenance obligations under the Retail Leases Act 2003.

On 30 October 2019 the Retail Leases Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced into Parliament. The Bill includes changes that will allow landlords to pass on the costs of Essential Safety Measures to tenants under a lease, from the date the changes come into effect. This date will be when the Bill receives Royal Assent, which is likely to happen in late 2019 or early 2020.

Advisory Opinion – Essential Safety Measures (ESM) Frequently Asked Questions.

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