Repairs and Maintenance
Both the tenant and landlord have responsibilities and obligations when it comes to repairs and maintenance which both parties should be aware of. After all, it is in both parties interests to have the property repaired promptly to prevent further damage and discomfort of living.
- Act as soon as you know something needs to be repaired or maintained.
- Talk to each other – discuss what should be done and when.
- If necessary, take steps to limit damage or loss before maintenance or repairs are done.
- Allow a reasonable amount of time for routine maintenance work to be completed.
- Complete work as soon as reasonably possible if the problem is urgent and likely to cause injury to people or damage to property.
- Get quotes and ensure costs are reasonable, especially if the other party will end up paying.
- Keep inconvenience for others to a minimum.
- Clean up when the repairs or maintenance are finished.
- Discuss a possible rent reduction until the repairs are completed.
The tenant is not responsible for repairs or damage arising from burglaries, natural events (such as storms, floods and earthquakes) or fair wear and tear.
Tenants need to tell the landlord if they know of any damage or need for repairs. If the tenant does not notify the landlord as soon as possible the landlord may be able to claim some of the costs of repairing the damage from the tenant if it gets worse.
If a tenant (or their invited guests) intentionally damages the landlord’s property, the tenant must tell the landlord. The landlord can ask the tenant to repair the damage, or to pay the cost of replacement or repair.
On 27 August 2019, new legislation took effect which affects tenants liability for damage. If tenants or their guests carelessly damage a rental property, they are liable for the cost of the damage up to four weeks’ rent or the landlord’s insurance excess (if applicable), whichever is lower.
Landlords can’t ask for or accept more than that limit.
Insurance companies can’t chase tenants on the landlord’s behalf for the cost of repairs for careless damage.
If the landlord and tenant can’t agree who should pay, either can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal.
If these obligations are fulfilled it is advantageous to both parties, with the tenant having a safe, comfortable place to live and the landlord having an investment that will continue to give good returns.