Standard repairs and maintenance are common for all properties – whether it’s your own or you’re renting. However, sometimes small issues can quickly become bigger, and when you’re a tenant in a rental property, this often leads to the question of who should pay for the repairs.
So we thought we would highlight some areas we have found can quickly turn costly, as well as inform you of the protocol when it comes to rental property repairs and maintenance.
Who pays for repairs & maintenance for a rental property?
In terms of standard repairs and maintenance issues at your rental property, the landlord is responsible for paying for those fixes – whether they make the repairs themselves or hire an external contractor.
However, it’s important to note that you as the tenant are expected to keep the property in a good and clean condition, and if it turns out that you have caused the damage, then the landlord has every right to ask you to cover the costs. This may include circumstances where you have not reported a known maintenance problem.
Examples of maintenance that can quickly escalate:
If there is mould or mildew caused by faults in gutters or other fixtures, then the landlord is required to fix it. However on the other hand you must ensure there is adequate ventilation throughout the property to help avoid mould problems occurring.
A tenant may be in breach of their rental agreement, if mould develops because they:
- get carpet wet and fail to treat it and dry it out properly;
- don’t aerate a bathroom by using exhaust fans or opening windows;
- leave pools of water on the tiles outside the shower and let scum build up; or
- dry clothing indoors and don’t air the room afterwards.
If you become aware of any potential damage to gutters through leaf blockages, you must report this to your Property Manager. Ongoing blockages could cause water damage to the ceiling and a very costly repair bill.
#3: Water leaks
If you notice a water leak, please advise your Property Manager immediately. If the leak is obvious and you fail to report it, you may be liable for the costs of water lost and any damage that the leak has caused.
#4: Cupboard damage
This is one that quite often gets overlooked by tenants. Generally because the water that can cause the damage is usually a slow leak occurring over time. It’s important that whether the leak is big or small, you report this matter to your Property Manager immediately. A tell tale sign is the bathroom cupboard has some water staining or water drips on the shelving unit. Continual water drips can over time damage the unit and a full replacement may be required. If you fail to report this, you may be liable for the cost of repair/replacement.
What is the tenant’s responsibility?
Under tenancy law, tenants must:
- keep a rental property in a reasonable state of cleanliness;
- not intentionally or negligently cause or permit damage; and
- notify the landlord or property manager of any damage, as soon as practicable.