REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE

 

The Owner with the assistance of the Property Manager is responsible for keeping the property in good condition and fit for the tenant to reside in.

The tenant is responsible for looking after the property and keeping it clean and undamaged.  The tenant is also responsible for promptly reporting any maintenance issues that may arise throughout the tenancy.

At Emporium Property we will also report back to you after each Visual Inspection completed to keep you updated on the condition of the property, this may also include any maintenance or potential improvements that are noted at the time of the inspection.

Responsibility of the owner

  • The Property Manager usually arranges for the repairs to be carried out by a qualified contractor on behalf of the owner.
  • The repair/s should be carried out within a reasonable time frame. If it is not, the Tenant can issue a Notice to remedy breach (RTA Form 11) giving you 7 days to rectify the problem.

 

If a landlord fails to maintain a property

If something is not fixed, the tenant can:

  • Contact the Residential Tenancies Authority for further advise on their rights
  • Issue a RTA Form 11, Notice To Remedy Breach giving the required notice to have the problem fixed
  • Apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have the lease terminated

Emergency repairs

The below items are considered emergency repairs:

  • a burst water service or a serious water service leak
  • a blocked or broken lavatory service
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm, fire or impact damage
  • a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the property
  • a failure or breakdown of an essential service or hot water, cooking or heating appliance
  • a fault or damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure
  • a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a resident of the property
  • a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area or premises that unduly inconveniences a resident in gaining access to, or using, the property

All other repairs are considered to be routine repairs.

In an emergency the nominated repairer can be contacted directly if the property manager/owner or manager is unavailable.  If the property manager/lessor/manager or the nominated repairer cannot be contacted, the tenant can arrange a suitably qualified person to carry out the repair. The tenant can pay the repairer themselves and get the money back from the Lessor or get the repairer to bill the lessor. They should forward all receipts to the property manager/lessor/manager who must pay them back within 7 days.  If the tenant pays for emergency repairs the cost must not exceed the value of 2 weeks rent.  If the tenant and property manager/owner/manager do not agree about the emergency repairs, or if the property manager/owner/manager has not reimbursed the tenant within 7 days, they can apply to QCAT for a ruling.

Smoke alarms

Property owners must install smoke alarms in all domestic dwellings.

Property owners/managers must:

  • install smoke alarms complying with Australian Standard 3786-1993 outside sleeping areas and one on each level of the dwelling
  • replace smoke alarms before the end of their service life (smoke alarms are required to have a recommended service life of at least 10 years under normal conditions of use)
  • test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy.

Property owners/managers must not remove a smoke alarm, remove the battery (other than to replace it) or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm (e.g. paint it).

Tenants must:

  • test and clean (by vacuuming or dusting) smoke alarms at least once every 12 months
  • replace any flat or nearly flat batteries
  • advise the property manager/owner if there is any issue with the alarm (apart from batteries)
  • allow the property owner/manager right of entry to install smoke alarms.

The tenant must not remove a smoke alarm, remove the battery (other than to replace it) or do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the alarm (e.g. paint it).

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services recommends:

  • all residential accommodation be fitted with photoelectric type smoke alarms
  • smoke alarms either hard-wired or powered by a 10-year lithium battery
  • smoke alarms located
    • on each level of living space
    • outside each bedroom and
    • in every bedroom
  • all smoke alarms should be interconnected
  • every home should have a practised escape plan.

Find out more on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website.

Penalties apply to both tenants and property manager/lessors for not complying with these requirements.

Damage caused by a tenant

The tenant is responsible for replacing or repairing damage that they cause at the property. This includes:

  • damage caused intentionally or through neglect
  • damage caused by visitors or other people living at the property

Alterations by the tenant

A Tenant can’t alter or add to a property without the Owner’s written consent. If a Tenant removes something they have added to the property with the Owner’s consent, they need to repair or pay for the repair of any damage this has caused.

An Owner cannot unreasonably withhold consent for a tenant to make changes that support services such as digital television and internet access.

Reasonable security

The Owner is responsible to ensure that the property is secure – eg fixing a lock that sticks.  If permission is sought from an Owner to change any locks, a set of keys must be provided to the Property Manager.

Pests and vermin

As a guide, Owners are responsible for getting rid of the following pests if there is an infestation at the start of the tenancy:

  • ants
  • bees and wasps – and during the tenancy if in a wall cavity
  • cockroaches and spiders
  • mice and rats

The tenant is usually responsible if these pests become a problem during the tenancy.

These pests are the responsibility of the Owner:

  • white ants
  • possums – remove and seal entry points
  • birds – remove and seal entry points.

Pool laws and pool maintenance

If a swimming pool is included as part of the rental property, the maintenance should be covered in the special terms of the tenancy agreement. The tenant is generally responsible for everyday maintenance such as clearing leaves from the pool and may be responsible for more regular maintenance. Should the servicing of the pool not be covered as part of the tenancy agreement then instructions should be supplied to the managing agent to pass on the tenant/s.

The property owner/lessor must have a pool safety compliance certificate from a licensed pool inspector prior to renting the property and a copy should be included with the tenancy agreement.

Lawns, gardens and trees

It is generally the responsibility of the tenant to look after general yard jobs such as mowing, edging and weeding, however this should be specified in the tenancy agreement.  Local council water restrictions should also be considered. The tenant may not be held responsible if lawns, trees or other plants die because of compliance with these local laws or due to excessive dry weather conditions.  Major work such as tree lopping is usually carried out by the property manager/owner as part of their obligation to keep the property in good repair. This type of work is not carried out on a regular basis and is more likely to require specialist knowledge or equipment such as ladders

Mould

The General Tenancy and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not make specific reference to mould, but it does detail requirements about the standard maintenance of a property throughout the agreement.

  • It is the responsibility of the tenant to notify the property manager/lessor of any serious/extensive mould problem.
  • If the mould is a result of an issue in the property, such as a roof leak, it is generally the property lessor/landlord’s responsibility to clean the mould and make any repairs necessary to maintain the property in good repair.
  • If the tenant caused the mould, they are responsible for its removal and may have to pay for to repair any damage caused.
  • At the first sign of any problem, the property manager/lessor and tenant should discuss the issue.

An example of who’s responsible: if the tenant continually allowed steam to build up in the bathroom without proper ventilation and/or regular cleaning, resulting in mould, then the tenant may be liable. If the mould is a result of a structural issue, e.g. a roof leak, then the lessor would be liable for the repairs.

Drains and gutters

  • It is the responsibility of the Lessor to ensure that the property is in good condition.
  • Generally, if a drain or gutter becomes blocked due to fair wear and tear (e.g. due to tree roots blocking a drain), it is the Lessor’s responsibility to deal with the problem.
  • If a drain becomes blocked due to something the tenant has done (e.g. putting something in the drain), it may be the tenant’s responsibility to pay for fixing the problem.

Light bulbs

It is not specified in the General Tenancy and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 who is responsible for supplying or replacing light bulbs.

Common industry practice is that the Lessor is responsible for maintaining specialised bulbs, and the tenant/resident is responsible for the replacement of everyday bulbs.  If changing a bulb requires specialist knowledge or specialist equipment, changing the bulb may be part of the property manager/owner’s responsibility to maintain the property.