Reef Kite was crushed in 2015 after climbing a set of drawers in his home. An inquest is being held in Perth. (Facebook: Bolt it Back for Reef)
A bill will be introduced to Western Australia’s parliament this week that will allow tenants to be able to affix furniture to the walls of a rental property, following the death of a Perth toddler who was crushed by a chest of draws.
Reef Kite was 21 months old when he died after the drawers toppled onto him at his family’s rented home in Yokine in 2015.
His mother Skye Quartermaine had put him down for his regular nap in his bedroom, but when she went to check on him she found the 1.25m tall chest of draws had fallen over and pinned him underneath.
She had purchased the drawers a few months earlier but her landlord had not granted permission for it to be secured to a wall.
Skye Quartermaine and her sister Dee want tenant rules changed after Skye’s 21-month-old son was crushed to death by a piece of furniture. (ABC News: Charlotte Hamlyn)
A coronial inquiry found there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing but recommended changes to the law so tenants could not be prevented from securing furniture to a wall in the interest of child safety.
Since her son’s death, Ms Quartermaine has lobbied the State Government to make changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.
“This is a really big win for us,” Ms Quartermaine said.
“This ensures that no other child has to die in the same manner my child did.
“Pool fencing is a requirement, RCD protectors are a requirement, this law should be a requirement in the Tenancy Act.
“I hope this makes landlords realise that a child’s life is much more important than a couple of holes in a wall that can be patched up.
“It means more to me than most people understand.”
Acting Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Fran Logan said the legislation was a no-brainer.
“The simple act of being able to secure furniture to the wall, the simple act of being able to secure a large TV to the wall and the small damage it might make to a landlord’s home is a very little price to pay in order to protect a child’s life,” he said.
Under the legislation, tenants would be required to repair any damage before they moved out of the property.
A landlord would only be able to refuse the tenant’s request to affix furniture if there was asbestos in the house or if it was heritage listed.
Both Mr Logan and Ms Quartermaine hoped the legislation could pass as quickly as possible.