Rental repairs - Who pays?

November Property News

Buying a rental property is a popular form of long-term investment in Australia. But renting out a property comes at a cost. One of the more confusing is, who pays for repairs and maintenance: the tenant or landlord?

The reality is that the condition of your property will decline over time.

All tenanted properties will experience some wear and tear, just as your own home will inevitably show signs that it has been lived in.

As a landlord, it’s important to be able to determine the difference between accidental damage and normal wear and tear.

Generally, wear and tear is considered to be damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of everyday use or ageing. It’s not caused by neglect or abuse of the property.

For example, carpet in a heavily trafficked area such as a hallway will be more worn than in less used areas of the house. Faded curtains are another example of wear and tear as the fading has most likely occurred through ageing and normal use.

On the other hand, carpet that is stained or has burn marks is treated as damage caused by the tenant. Likewise, urtains that are missing or torn by the tenant’s cat constitute tenant damage.

Landlords need to fix reasonable wear and tear to a property but aren’t required to fix tenant caused damage.

When the tenant has been negligent or irresponsible or has intentionally caused damage to the premises then they, the tenant, must pay for repairs.

Some situations may occur whenurgent repairs are needed, like a serious roof leak, storm damage or burst waterpipes.

Generally speaking, these are paid for by the landlord and are usually covered by insurance.

Before renting out a property, compile a property condition checklist and again at the end of the tenancy to minimise disputes. Taking photographs both times is a great way to prove that the property was left in a certain condition.

Examples of wear and tear (Landlord’s responsibility):

• Foot traffic marks on carpets

• Scuff marks on floor coverings

• Dirty hand marks on curtains/blinds

• Light scratching on countertops

• If a drain becomes blocked (e.g. due totree roots)

• Cleaning the gutters

• Peeling paint from sun damage

Examples of damage (Tenant’s responsibility):

• Any permanent carpet stain

• Hole in the wall caused by tenant

• Cracked floor tiles caused by tenant

• Shattered windows or built-in mirrors

• Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors

• Unapproved or poor-quality paint job

• Burns or cuts in bench-top

• Water stain on carpet resulting from an overflowing bath or indoor pot plants

• Paint damage resulting from removing decorations stuck with tape

Property Management
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Rental repairs - Who pays?