It’s time to stop the confusion and find out who is responsible for what repairs in a tenancy. It’s a question that comes up regularly and is a major cause of many arguments. To avoid delays in repairs, our Head of Property Management, Jaime Shepherdson is here to inform you of your responsibilities in advance.
The basic rules regarding rental property repairs are simple:
- If repairs are needed because of wear and tear over time, paying for them is the landlord’s responsibility.
- If a repair is necessary because of damage caused by a tenant, housemate or guest it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay for the repair.
For example, if a tenant throws a ball through a window and breaks it they will be responsible for the repairs, but if a window falls out of its frame and breaks due to wear & tear the property manager or owner will pay for it.
You will find that most repairs needed will be the responsibility of the property manager or landlord. For property managers, there are 2 types of repairs emergency and routine.
Emergency repairs normally include the following, though state laws can differ. As a guide the following tend to be included:
- serious roof leaks
- blocked or broken toilet systems
- gas leaks
- burst water services
- serious storm, fire or impact damage
- dangerous electrical faults
- flooding or serious flood damage
- failure or breakdown of essential services or appliances on the premises for hot water, cooking, heating. For example: disruption of gas, electricity or water supply, or other faults/damages which make the premises inhabitable.
If the situation is not classified as an emergency repair it is then considered a routine repair. At the start of a Tenancy, the Tenancy Agreement should include information about what to do in an emergency. This usually details the point of contact in an emergency, being either the landlord or the agent and how to contact them after hours. If they cannot be contacted, the tenant can arrange for a qualified person to carry out emergency repairs to a maximum value of 2 weeks rent. If the tenant pays the repairer, they need to give all receipts to the property manager who must pay them back within 7 days.
It is important to inform the property manager of all repairs in writing. Timeframes for repairs may vary depending on the circumstances however if routine repairs are not organised within a reasonable time, the tenant can issue the property manager/owner with a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11). The tenant should not carry out repairs without written permission.
It’s important for a tenant to continue paying rent while repairs are taking place otherwise that is a breach of the agreement and could give your property manager/landlord a reason to terminate your tenancy. Overall, as a tenant you should clearly understand your rights and responsibilities at the beginning of a tenancy. Some important points to understand are the timeframes for both urgent and non-urgent repairs, procedures to follow when repairs are needed and list of emergency contacts.
Jaime Shepherdson – Head of Property Management
0428 666 710
Jaime has a wealth of knowledge and experience in Property Management. Determined and hard working, this mother of two is our go to girl for anything Property Management related!