Real Estate

Renters, landlords: Whose responsibility is it?

Renters, landlords: Whose responsibility is it?
Written by The ReReport
As seen in the Source link, written by on 2019-05-18 00:17:07

Who is responsible for the maintenance of your investment?

Pesky maintenance issues can be a headache for landlords and tenants, especially if neither want to fork out the cash to fix the problem.

Sash and Gable Properties business development manager Nikki Atzori said there was often confusion about who should swipe their credit card and that landlords needed to understand maintenance needs to be done before, during and after tenancies.

Ms Atzori said when she was looking to take on a new client, she would interview them to make sure they understood the responsibilities of a landlord and warned they needed to have a contingency fund if they were to be successful in their endeavour.

“Landlords need to understand that they need to have money aside for surprise maintenance such as hot water systems, which could cost more than $1000, roof leaks, major electrical issues et cetera,” Ms Atzori said.

generic pic of a rat. Copyright Thinkstock.

Pest control is a “grey zone” so landlords are encouraged to get on the front foot. Copyright: Thinkstock.

Ms Atzori said the responsibility of pest control was a “grey zone”, but encouraged landlords to get on the front foot and take care of it themselves.

“I always advise my clients do annual pest control on their property,” she said.

“That way, if tenants are not keeping the property clean, for example, there are crumbs everywhere, then you know that the issue is caused by the tenant and is not an issue for the landlord to take care of.”

Landlords are charged with supplying compliant smoke alarms, while renters are responsible for testing, cleaning and replacing the batteries.

According to the Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA), maintenance such as damage to the property by a tenant or their guest; light gardening; mould caused by the tenant; changing everyday light bulbs; and testing, cleaning and replacing the batteries in the fire alarm were generally the responsibility of the tenant, although could differ in each rental agreement.

Emergency repairs, like a burst water service, blocked toilet, or a broken hot water system or oven should be carried out as soon as possible and paid for by the landlord.

Thinkstock generic image of bright light bulb.

The responsibility of changing the light bulb usually falls on the tenant, but there are exceptions for more complicated bulb changes.

Should the landlord not be contactable, a tenant can arrange a qualified person to carry out the repairs to a maximum value of two weeks rent, and the landlord would either be contacted to pay the bill, or if the tenant pays, the landlord would need to reimburse them within seven days of receiving the receipt.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said one of the most common reasons people moved from their rental was a poor relationship with their landlord, so being proactive was key to maintaining a positive relationship.