Western Australia’s consumer protection body is reminding
rental providers that they must still follow the letter of the law when
Gary Newcombe, the
state’s commissioner for consumer protection, reiterated the rental laws that
landlords and property managers must adhere to following reports of tenants
being issued with illegal notices to vacate when the property sustained
In one instance, tenants
were given seven days to find new lodgings after the ceiling of a property
Mr. Newcombe said that
tenants, landlords, and property managers must be aware that "seven-day
termination notices are unlawful unless the home has been destroyed or deemed
uninhabitable by a local government authority”.
He noted that all
parties should be working together in an instance where damage becomes apparent.
In the case of compromised ceilings, there are often warning
signs that it is about to give way.
"It is important for
tenants to alert their landlords and agents about any loud cracking sounds,
sagging or dropping of the plasterboard sheeting and/or cornice, or any visual
cracking,” Mr. Newcombe said.
And on the part of
landlords, they need to respond quickly to such reports and ensure necessary
repairs are undertaken to prevent a collapse.
"Should the landlord or
agent fail to respond to a written request for repairs within a reasonable
timeframe, a tenant may serve a breach notice. If the issue continues to be
ignored, an application can be made to the Magistrates Court for an order that
the necessary repairs be undertaken,” Mr. Newcombe noted.
During that time,
tenants must continue to pay rent, though they can petition for a rental
reduction if the issue means that part of the property is unable to be used.
And in the unfortunate instance
of a major issue taking place, such as a ceiling collapse, landlords are
legally responsible for bringing the property back to a liveable condition and
must initiate these urgent repairs within 48 hours.
Mr. Newcombe stressed
that every endeavor should be made to avoid this scenario by everyone
involved, but tenants have recourse if they believe the problem could have been
"We always recommend
tenants arrange their own contents insurance in case they need to replace
damaged possessions. However, if the damage is caused by a fault in the
building, such as a lack of maintenance, then a tenant may decide to seek
compensation from the landlord through the courts,” he said.
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Tuesday, 12 July 2022