Landlord rights regarding Repairs & maintenance

Occasionally you will be contacted by your tenant or property manager advising that you are going to have to repair an item in your rental property. While some of these may not be urgent, there are others that will need to be attended to promptly.

You will need to respond to urgent repairs without delay.

If nothing is done, your tenant has the right to arrange for these repairs to be done up to the value of $1000 – at your expense.

If you are unsure of what is classified as an "urgent repair”, consult your local consumer Affairs office.

Examples of urgent repairs include:

  • Burst water service
  • Blocked or broken lavatory system
  • Serious roof leak
  • Gas leak
  • A dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious fire or storm damage
  • Failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply to premises
  • Any other damage which results in the property being unsafe or not secure

If they are not dealt with, the tenant has the right to organise a qualified professional to complete repairs, up to the amount specified in the tenancy agreement. You will then have to reimburse the tenant for the cost incurred.

Non-urgent repairs need to be carried out within a specified amount of time, which may vary from state to state, but must usually, be carried out within 14 days, yet obviously, I would recommend you do it sooner.

If not non-urgent repairs are not attended to, your tenant may apply to the Tribunal for inspection and subsequent report.

After 60 days, the tenant can apply to the Tribunal for a repair order.

Even though they may feel like it, legislation prevents tenants from withholding rent while waiting for repairs to be done.

By the way… landlords are not responsible for damage caused by tenants – such as a door ripped off its hinges – with the repair paid for by the tenant, by agreement, or deducted from their rental bond.

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Jason Gwerder
Thursday, 18 February 2021

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