Repairs and maintenance - 1. Urgent Repairs

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1. Urgent Repairs
Urgent repairs arise when an essential service ceases to function. An essential service includes; water, sewerage, electricity, cooking stove, hot water service, removal of grey water and any heating that came with the property.

Essential services do not include electrical fuses, light globes, tubes or tap washers. A tenant must inform the landlord/agent of the need for the urgent repair as soon as practicable, and the landlord/agent must have the essential service restored as soon as practicable.

If the landlord/agent is unable to be contacted, or fails to organise the repairs within 24 hours of being notified a tenant may authorise the repairs to be done by a nominated repairer, or if there is no nominated repairer, a suitable repairer.

A nominated repairer is a repairer who is nominated by the landlord/agent to carry out any repairs. A suitable repairer is a person who holds a licence (if necessary) to carry out the relevant repairs and is ordinarily employed to do so.

Repairs are only to be carried out to the extent that the essential service becomes functional again. The landlord/agent is to pay the repair bill if the repairs are done by the nominated repairer, and the tenant is to settle the bill if the repairs are carried out by a suitable repairer.

If the repairs are carried out by a suitable repairer the tenant must provide the landlord/ agent with:

  • a statement from the repairer, of the apparent cause for repair,
  • a copy of the account, and
  • a copy of the receipt.

The landlord/agent is to reimburse the tenant within 14 days. If the landlord/agent disputes their obligation to reimburse the tenant, they may apply to the Magistrates Court for the matter to be determined. A landlord/agent may only dispute the repair on grounds that:

  • The landlord/agent was not notified of the need for repair,
  • The damage arose as a result of the fault of the tenant, or
  • [For urgent repairs] the tenant organised the repairs within 24 hours of notifying the landlord/agent of the need for the repair and the repairs were carried out during that time.