Who is responsible for carrying out repairs on your rental property?
According to Fair Trading (NSW) and the Residential Tenancies Authority (QLD), it’s the landlord, who’s responsible for any repairs required to keep the property in a reasonable state and ensure that it complies with all the relevant building, health and safety laws.
However, as a landlord you’re not obligated to pay for everything that goes wrong with your rental property. What’s more, there are also laws that distinguish between repairs deemed urgent and those that aren’t considered to be of an urgent nature.
Your tenants should contact you or the real estate agent that’s managing your rental property immediately if there are any urgent repairs required. And unlike repairs that are considered to be non-urgent, urgent repairs need to be addressed immediately.
Damage Caused By Tenants
Accidents happen, but if it’s the tenant who accidentally or wilfully damages your rental property, then they’ll need to pay for the required repairs or arrange for the repairs themselves. The laws concerning this are very straightforward, but it’s often the case that tenants don’t want to pay for the damage that they’ve caused.
Tenants can be difficult at times, but so too can landlords. While you may consider yourself to be rational and sensible, the requests you make of your tenants regarding damage to your property may not come across as such. As a result, all repair related problems that arise must be resolved calmly and rationally.
Resolving Repair Problems
If you and your tenants can’t agree on the solution for a repair problem, the best way to resolve the issue is to use the free tenancy complaint services available to you. Both Fair Trading and the Residential Tenancies Authority offer free complaint services that all landlords, tenants and property managers can use to resolve repair problems and any other tenancy related issues that arise.
Be aware that if you don’t meet your legal obligations as a landlord, your tenants can apply to the relevant tenancies tribunal for a repair order. The repair orders that tenants can apply for include:
- An order for you (the landlord) to pay for the repairs that are required
- An order to pay rent to the tribunal until you’ve carried out the repairs
- An order that reduces the rent they pay until the repairs are carried out
- An order to pay for the tenant’s financial losses incurred by the damage
Negotiating an arrangement for repairs to the property that’s agreeable to you and the tenant is definitely in both your best interests. Repair related problems that aren’t handled amicably often lead to resentment and if you have reliable tenants who pay the rent on time, you won’t want to see them leave over a preventable problem.
Avoiding preventable problems is a prominent reason for having a real estate agent manage a landlord’s investment property on their behalf. It’s therefore something to consider if you don’t want to deal with this aspect of letting your rental property to tenants.