Rental Repairs - Who is Responsible?
By law rental properties must be maintained in a decent living condition. The property must be safe and suitable for tenants. To ensure the property is maintained to this legally required standard there will be, over the course of the tenancy, the need for repairs – these may be urgent or routine.
While the landlord has responsibility to maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair, the tenant must take all reasonable action to prevent any potential maintenance issues arising by keeping the premises clean and hygienic; for example: attending to spills immediately to prevent floor rot and to not invite pests or vermin, and often keeping the garden clean and tidy so pests aren’t attracted. Equally it is the tenant’s responsibility for general upkeep such as cleaning, dusting, replacing accessible light bulbs and mowing lawns.
Urgent / Emergency repairs
In the event that an urgent/emergency repair is required the tenant must contact their property portfolio manager through the agreed form of communication, so that it may be rectified as immediately. Urgent repairs include: burst water pipes; gas leaks; blocked or broken toilets; serious electrical faults; failure of essential services like water supply, hot water, cooking equipment and heating; fire or flood damage; or any event that makes the premises unsafe or insecure.
In the event that an urgent repair is required and the tenant cannot contact their property portfolio manager (all LJ Hooker Glenorchy tenants have their property manager’s mobile phone number for emergency contact) or the repair has not been attended to within 24 hours the tenant can authorise the repairer nominated in their lease or another suitable repairer to remedy the issue.
If the urgent / emergency repair was undertaken by the nominated repairer, or if one is note available, another suitable repairer, then the landlord is responsible for the cost.
Note of warning – if the situation is not a genuine emergency and the tenant authorises a repair, then they will be responsible for the cost.
All requests for routine maintenance from the tenant must be in writing to the property portfolio manager. The property portfolio manager will then liaise with the landlord to have the matter attended to within 28 days. If, however, the landlord refuses to carry out the repair work or there is a dispute as to the need for the repair, the tenant can apply to the magistrate for an order to carry out repairs or the tenant may give notice to terminate the lease.
Repairs and maintenance to property is often a point of dispute between tenants and landlords, but with the right property manager in place these issues can be resolved without stress to either party.