What landlords need to know about bushfires & natural disasters

It is very important for landlords to acquaint themselves with their rights and responsibilities, if their rental property has been affected by a natural disaster, such as fire, flood or storm damage.

If your property is destroyed or is unfit for habitation, then the lease has effectively ended.

You can either issue the tenant with a notice to immediately vacate or get the tenant to sign documentation to end the lease.

You are not legally obligated to provide your tenant with accommodation but you are responsible for maintaining the property, which includes cleaning or clearing any debris.

Make sure you contact emergency services, who may have a cleaning program in place for your area.

Your tenant is only responsible for any cleaning that arises from their use of the property.

If any utilities have been cut off, you are responsible for repairing the property so that services can be restored.

If there is no damage, the tenant has to contact the utility company and arrange for services to be restored.

You may wish to consider lowering the rent if property facilities have been damaged, such as a garage, swimming pool or sheds.

A tenant can apply to a tribunal to have the rent lowered in these sorts of circumstances.

Landlords cannot claim any of the bond monies, to cover the damages in the event of disasters.

Tenants’ contents should be covered by their own content insurance, however if damage to a tenants’ contents can be proved to be as a result of a landlord’s negligence, the landlord may be liable.

If your property has been destroyed and uninhabitable, make sure you have the permission of the local authorities before you inspect it.

If the tenants are still living there, the usual arrangements for inspections will apply.

Make sure you upload all reports, photos and videos onto the RealRenta platform, to form part of the file for your tenancy.


Make sure you upload all reports, photos and videos onto the RealRenta platform, to form part of the file for your tenancy.

Use RealRenta to communicate with your tenants and take advantage of the automated date and time –stamping for all transactions and interactions.Start your Free trial: https://app.realrenta.com/Signup.aspx


Download a Free Property Condition Report here: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/369946/Tenancy-condition-report.pdf


Marlene Liontis
Wednesday, 15 January 2020

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