Recently I’ve received a number of enquiries from prospective Landlords regarding repairs and maintenance obligations of the tenant and landlord. The following information may be of interest generally and is sourced from the Tenancy Handbook published by the NSW Office of Fair Trading.
The landlord must make sure that the premises is reasonably clean and fit to live in at the start of the tenancy. The landlord must then maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair considering:
- the age of the premises
- the amount of rent the tenant is paying, and
- the prospective life of the premises.
This does not mean that the premises must be leased in perfect condition, or that the landlord must immediately attend to every small matter during the tenancy. The state of the property and level of repair expected should be in proportion to the age of the premises and the amount of rent.
An urgent repair is:
- a burst water service
- a blocked or broken lavatory system
- a serious roof leak[sam id=41 codes=’true’]
- a gas leak
- a dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm or fire damage
- a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
- a failure or breakdown of any essential service on the premises for hot water, cooking, heating or laundering
- any fault or damage that causes the premises to be unsafe or not secure
From 1 September 2006 tenants can spend up to $1,000 on urgent repairs (up from $500) and should be reimbursed within 14 days by the landlord. The landlord or agent must first be given a reasonable opportunity to arrange the work, or if they cannot be reached, the tenant should use a qualified tradesperson nominated in the agreement.
Responsibilities Of Tenants
Under the law the tenant must keep the premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness, having regard to the condition of the premises at the start of the tenancy. If the premises includes a yard, lawns and gardens, they must also be kept neat and tidy by the tenant. The tenant must not intentionally or negligently cause or permit damage to the premises. Negligence means lack of care or attention.
A tenant is also responsible for damage caused by other occupants of the premises.