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Both rental providers (landlords) and tenants have responsibilities and duties when it comes to keeping a rental property in good condition - but it can be confusing knowing who is responsible for what.
In this post, we’ll give you the tools to identify the differences between a landlord’s duty to repair and a renter’s duty to maintain, to help you better understand your rights and obligations.
At the time that you move into a rental property, the landlord must make sure that the property is vacant, in good repair, and in a reasonably clean condition. The property must also meet the minimum rental standards.
After you move into the rental property and until the end of your tenancy, the landlord must make sure that the property is ‘maintained in good repair and in a reasonably fit and suitable condition’. This means that the landlord has to repair any defects, damages or issues that may arise during your tenancy. This includes both urgent and non-urgent repairs.
Urgent repairs are repairs that must be done immediately because they make the property unsafe or difficult to live in. They must be one of the following:
Non-urgent repairs are repairs that are not an ‘Urgent repair’, and where you can continue to safely live in the property. The landlord must arrange for non-urgent repairs within 14 days of getting a written request from you.
Who has to organise and pay for repairs in the property?
You have to tell your landlord or property manager about any repairs that need to be made as soon as possible after you become aware of them.
Make sure that you do this in writing (for example, by email or text). If you do have a phone call, or speak to the agent / landlord about the repair in person, then make sure you follow-up with an email or text message so that there’s a written record.
Once you move into your rental property, you become responsible for keeping the property reasonably clean, tidy, and free from damage throughout your tenancy.
It's important to note that some (minor) ‘wear and tear’ is expected in any rental property, which means that you’re not expected to return the property in exactly the same condition that you received it - though you should do your best to try!
'Fair wear and tear' describes the normal deterioration of a property from ordinary, everyday use.
Examples of fair wear and tear can include:
However, if you’ve caused excessive, intentional or negligent damage to the property, you may be responsible for covering the cost of repairs or replacement. This can include things like:
Your duty to maintain doesn’t mean you need to leave the property in a better state than what it was at the start of your tenancy. To make sure that you’re meeting your obligations of keeping the property ‘reasonably clean and free from damage’, consider doing the following:
The key difference between a landlord's duty to repair and a tenant's duty to maintain the property is that: