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Repairs in a Rental Property: Who is Responsible?

By Courtenay Morrison

If you’re thinking of renting a property to avoid the responsibilities of owning your own home, think again! Maintaining a rental property is a shared responsibility between both tenants and landlords.

The first thing to understand is that there are two types of repairs: routine and emergency.

Emergency repairs include:

  • gas leaks
  • electrical faults
  • a blocked or broken toilet
  • a broken or damaged water amenity
  • ceiling leaks
  • flooding and flood damage
  • weather and fire damage
  • a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance
  • any damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure
  • a fault or damage likely to injure someone
  • a fault or damage anywhere that unduly inconveniences a tenant (ie. a fault in a staircase)

All other repairs, no matter how big or small, are routine.

Landlords are generally responsible for repairs, and tenants for preventing any potential issues arising. The landlord’s exact obligations are laid out in the Tenancy Agreement, so make sure you read the fine print before signing.

What to do in an emergency

The contacts listed in your Tenancy Agreement are your best bet in an emergency, and this is usually your landlord. However, if for any reason you can’t get in touch with them, sometimes a tradesman is your only option. Some agreements will even include the details of specific tradies. So keep this document handy.

Paying for emergency repairs

If the tenant finds themselves paying for repairs, make sure to keep an invoice or receipt to give to the landlord so they can reimburse you. The landlord should pay the tenant back within a reasonable amount of time and in full – again this will be outlined in your Tenancy Agreement. Alternatively, the landlord can pay the tradesman directly.

If the landlord deems the emergency to be the fault of the tenant, they might find themselves unable to afford that trip to the Gold Coast they have been hanging out for.

Routine repairs

With routine repairs tenants should make requests in writing, so the landlord can then tend to the problem. If your landlord is often slow when it comes to repairs don’t fret, the tenant may issue a Notice to Remedy Breach – giving the landlord seven days to remedy the problem.

If you understand that both you and your landlord have responsibilities to uphold living in a rental property may be the perfect fit for you. A fit that the professionals at Ray White have been so expertly providing to tenants for years.

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