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Maintenance at a rental property.

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This topic can cause confusion, however, both the landlord and the tenant share responsibility for repairs and maintenance. Usually, a landlord is responsible for maintaining consumables such as Pura tap filters and irrigation systems, while a tenant is responsible for caring for items such as cleaning air-conditioner filters and range-hoods. Over the next few months we’ll discuss different maintenance aspects and who is responsible.

For now, let’s start at the beginning: it is a landlord’s responsibility to provide a rental property in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair at the beginning of the tenancy, and to maintain the property to a reasonable state having regard to its age, character and prospective life.

In regard to domestic appliances, if an appliance isn’t working at the time the tenant applies for the rental property (even if the tenant is aware of this) unless it is specifically excluded in the tenancy agreement the landlord has an obligation to repair or replace it. This includes the on-going maintenance of an appliance which was included at the beginning of the tenancy; if the appliance breaks-down during the tenancy it must be repaired or replaced.

As of 1st March, 2014, it became a compulsory requirement to supply manufacturing manuals and/or written instructions on how to use each domestic appliances in a rental property to a tenant, and to list these on the tenancy agreement. If they are not listed in the tenancy agreement this could affect the landlord’s entitlement to claim for costs for repairs and/or damages to a domestic appliance from the tenant.

On the other hand, the tenant is responsible for damage caused intentionally or through neglect (by themselves, visitors or other people living at the rental property). Remedying the damage may be simply repairing it or, in some cases, fully replacing the item. If the damage is not repaired the landlord has the right to issue a notice to the tenant asking them to remedy the problem or the lease agreement could end.

When a tenant lives at a rental property they must not alter or add to the property without the landlord’s written consent (this includes installation of hooks or furniture braces/straps). Even when the tenant has gained permission from the landlord, if and when they remove what they have added to the property they need to repair (or pay for the repair) of any damage the removal may cause.

Clear communication is one of the keys to a successful tenancy – whether it is between the landlord and property manager or the property manager and tenant – it is best to confirm everything in writing.

If you own an investment property and would like peace of mind, contact Lisa Akeroyd from
Barossa Rental Specialists on 0414 335 660 to discuss your rental management strategy.

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