Who is responsible for repairs in a rental property

It’s a common question that is often confusing for both tenants and landlords alike.

In a nutshell, basic tenancy laws state that property damage related to fair wear and tear is the landlord’s responsibility while accidental or malicious damage caused by the tenant (or their houseguests) is the tenant’s responsibility.

Let’s look at these various responsibilities more closely.

Damage that is a landlord’s responsibility

Reasonable wear and tear could include carpets or floors gradually wearing or kitchen or bathroom taps leaking or seizing up, for example. It is the landlord’s responsibility to fix and pay for these repairs.

However, this is not all landlords are responsible for. Landlords are responsible for all manner of urgent and non-urgent repairs. There are also set time limits for how quickly both urgent and non-urgent repairs should be addressed.

An urgent repair could be anything from a burst water pipe, busted hot water system, a gas leak, a broken toilet, serious flooding or a dangerous electrical fault, or any fault that makes a premises unsafe or unsecure, among other things. Urgent repairs should be addressed and fixed as soon as possible by the landlord.

As a general rule (but tenants and landlords should refer to their residential tenancy agreement for the specific clause), if repairs are not addressed in a  timely manner or they cannot get hold of their landlord, the tenant can arrange for repairs up to a certain stated value, which must then be reimbursed by the landlord.

Non-urgent repairs are considered things like a broken appliance (which is included in the property) or something that is not working to its full potential, but not considered “urgent”. It is the landlord’s responsibility to address and fix non-urgent repairs within fourteen days of being notified.

Furthermore, landlords are responsible for damage arising from natural disasters. This could be fixing a broken roof that a tree has fallen on in a storm or damage from an earthquake.

In the occurrence of a break in, a landlord will be responsible for damage to the property itself and for ensuring the property is secure again while the tenants will be responsible for their own contents within the property. However this can be a grey area – if there is reason to believe a tenant’s negligence led to a break in, for instance – and should be checked in each residential tenancy agreement for clarification.

However, landlords should be aware of the responsibility they have as property owners and not assume that they will automatically be covered by insurance. Say, for instance, a property is vacant for an extended period and during this time it is broken into on several occasions because of broken locks or windows that the owner was aware of but failed to secure. As the owner has not taken necessary precautions to secure the property (by installing new locks or boarding up windows, for instance), especially after the initial break in, some of their insurance claims may be rejected.

In summary, the landlord must take action to ensure the property is safe and well maintained at all times, whether tenanted or not.

Damage for tenants to fix

When it comes to damage and repairs, tenants have responsibilities too.

Any malicious or accidental damage to the property caused by a tenant or their guests is the tenant’s responsibility. However, it should still be reported to the property manager or landlord. Malicious damage could be a hole punched in a wall or even nails hammered into the wall without a landlord’s permission. Accidental damage could be red wine spilled on a carpet, for example.

Tenants are also responsible for ensuring that all repairs are reported to their landlord or property manager promptly.

Addressing repairs at tribunal

If there is a situation where it cannot be agreed between the landlord and tenant who was responsible for damage, the case may be taken to a residential tenancy tribunal where copies of insurance policies, photos of damage and inspection reports, and quotes for repairs are all carefully reviewed by the third party tribunal.

AT A GLANCE LJ Gilland Real Estate OFFERS:

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  • Hands-on approach to all Property Investment Management Matters


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About ljgrealestate 据联大

Removing the Hassle from Sales and Rentals across South East Queensland. Aim to Empower other like minded Property Investors. L J Gilland Real Estate is a prestigious boutique agency specializing in Property Investment Management Services and the Sales of Investment Properties with tenants in place. Comprised of a top performing group of handpicked specialists, our Agents proudly serve Property Investors in Queensland. Since 1996 our Agency has demonstrated a genuine enjoyment of working with people, developing long-term relationships and delivering on the promise of great service. Carlos and Linda Debello offer property investor's the confidence to sell and lease in any market. We provide comprehensive market appraisals, exclusive multimedia marketing campaigns, and knowledgeable, highly personalized counsel on all aspects of real estate. Our Property Management Team is equally considerate, offering investors with in-depth advise, well-researched rental valuations, and highly professional rental management services. http://goanimate.com/movie/0M4bvcZzgIbI?utm_source=linkshare&uid=0u6RGtWsmlVc Carlos’ direct mobiles are 0400 833 800 & 0413560808. Linda’s mobiles are 0409995578 & 0414978700 (prefer email contact for Linda). Office 07 3263 6085. http://www.ljgrealestate.com.au http://www.yellowpages.com.au/qld/aspley/lj-gilland-real-estate-pty-ltd-14091356-listing.html http://au.linkedin.com/in/lindajanedebello http://twitter.com/GillandDebello http://www.facebook.com/pages/ljgrealestate
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