Repairs - When the tenant can arrange repairs
The provisions of the Act that permit the tenant to arrange repairs can be complex. It is recommended a tenant seek advice from the Tenants Advice Service, a legal practitioner or Consumer Affairs before arranging to carry out repairs under these provisions.
Under certain circumstances the Act allows a tenant to arrange to have the premises or ancillary property repaired and seek reimbursement from the landlord.
This can only occur:
- when the premises are uninhabitable or the premises and ancillary property are unsafe; or
- if the repairs are not made there is a reasonable possibility of damage occurring to the premises or ancillary property; or
- that the premises or ancillary property are likely to become unsafe, uninhabitable and insecure.
The tenant must first notify the landlord in writing that repairs are required. If within 7 business days of being given written notice the landlord has either not made the repairs, or notified the tenant of arrangements made to carry out the repairs, the tenant may have the repairs carried out subject to certain conditions.
If the landlord notifies the tenant of arrangements made to carry out the repairs, but the repairs have not been made within 21 days of the tenant’s original notice to the landlord that the repairs are required, the tenant can have the repairs carried out.
If the tenant is permitted to make repairs under these provisions and the landlord has nominated a particular repairer for that type of repair, the tenant must take all reasonable steps to engage the nominated repairer to make the permitted repairs. The tenant can only claim costs that are less than or equal to 2 weeks rent.
To claim the cost of the repairs from the landlord the tenant must notify the landlord of the costs and provide appropriate documentation to prove the costs of repairs. The tenant may request the landlord to:
- pay the cost directly to the repairer;
- reimburse the costs; or
- deduct the costs from the rent.