Housing and Tenancy

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Repairs

Overview

Landlords have a duty to ensure the rented premises are in good repair. It is essential for the tenant to notify the landlord in writing when repairs are necessary. The Act address repairs on the basis of urgency.

This section of Homeless Law in Practice considers the way in which repair issues in the rented premises can be resolved. It is important to remember that clients who are at risk of homelessness may

  1. Be concerned about raising repair issues as they fear retaliation by the landlord and potential eviction; and/or
  2. Not be able to pay for urgent repairs to be carried out and will therefore need assistance to apply to the Tribunal.

How are repairs dealt with by the Act?

If rented premises have a repair issue, there are a number of pathways available to tenants to have this matter resolved.

    Urgent repairs

    • Urgent repairs are defined in the Act and include serious problems such as a burst water service, sewerage problems, gas leaks and electrical faults, among other things.
    • In the case of urgent repairs, a tenant (s 72) may arrange and pay for repairs up to $1,000 where he or she has taken reasonable steps to arrange for the landlord to undertake the repairs, and the landlord has taken no action.

    Important

    Generally clients of the HPLC will not be in a position to pay for repairs. In these circumstances a tenant or resident may apply directly to the Tribunal for an urgent hearing in respect of the repairs (tenants under s 73, residents under s 130).

    Non-urgent repairs

    Non urgent repairs are repairs which are not defined as urgent. A tenant should advise the landlord of non-urgent repairs by a Notice to Landlord form. The tenant should keep a copy of the form which should be addressed to the landlord, not the agent.

    Where the landlord has not carried out repair work within 14 days, the tenant / resident may make written application to the Director to investigate and report (s 74). A copy of the Notice to Landlord form should be attached to this application. Where the repairs have not been completed and a report is received from the Director, the tenant or resident may apply to the Tribunal within 60 days of receiving the report, or if a report has not been received within 90 days (s 75). 

    Repairs & compensation

    Compensation is dealt with more completely elsewhere in the tenancy guide, however it is worth noting at this point that compensation can be a useful way of compelling the landlord to complete repair issues. 

    In order to claim compensation it is generally necessary to serve a breach of duty notice on the landlord (s 208) for failure to maintain the premises in good repair (breach of the duty in s 68). If the landlord does not comply with the notice the tenant can then apply to the Tribunal for compensation or a compliance order (s 209) or seek to have rent paid into the rent special account (s 485).