After moving into your home for a couple of months, you noticed that there are some repairs that need to be dealt with. While your first instinct would most likely be to call your landlord, they’re not obligated to fix all of the repairs around your home. While it’s true that most responsibilities would fall under their care, it doesn’t pertain to everything.

So what’s their responsibility and what’s yours? Prior to moving into your rental, it’s important that you read the terms and conditions stated in your tenancy agreement to have a clear idea of your responsibility versus your landlord’s and avoid any potentially messy or costly disputes. If you’re still confused, the below will help in giving you a clearer picture.

Utility bills

This can be a bit of a grey area, but the first thing is to check your lease or tenancy agreement. Then, you should discuss with your property manager about the legal obligations of what you can or cannot be charged, especially in reference to dwelling type and council laws. While landlord responsibilities are highly dependent on the set up of the property, it’s most likely that you’ll be in charge of utilities such as gas, water, electricity, and telecommunication costs.

Repairs and maintenance

Before moving into your property, your landlord is in charge of ensuring that the place is both comfortable and habitable. After you’ve moved in, your landlord will still be taking care of all routine and urgent repairs. Urgent repairs would require your landlord to act immediately, and encompasses the following:

  • Burst water pipe or a serious leak
  • A blocked or broken toilet
  • Gas leak
  • Flooding
  • Electrical faults that are dangerous
  • Issues with the gas, electricity or water supply

In cases such as this, your landlord should be contacting a plumbing company with the expertise to rectify the problem quickly. They should have the skills and experiences necessary to perform the emergency plumbing repair and replacement swiftly and effectively.

All other repairs are considered as routine repairs and can include loose fixtures or an air conditioner that’s faulty. In these instances, your landlord needs to attend to them and if they don’t fix it within a stipulated amount of time, you could be compensated as they’ve failed to provide what’s dictated in the lease agreement. If the issues are caused by your own negligence, for example, shoving large items down the waste disposal and causing a clog – then, you’ll need to fork out the cost for these repairs on your own.

Internal and external maintenance

For the inside of the rental property, the landlord is responsible for keeping the premises in a reasonable state of repair, and it should be compliant with all building, health, and safety laws. They’re also responsible for all issues pertaining to plumbing and appliances within the home unless the damage was caused by your negligence.

For the external section of the rental property, it’s your responsibility to take care of the garden. This includes pruning, weeding, and keeping the lawn tidy. If there’s a water leak or any obvious damage however, you need to contact your landlord or you’ll be liable for the cost. Unless the agreement states otherwise, however, your landlord is responsible for tree lopping, overhanging branches, etc.

If you’ve got a pool or spa on property, you should be taking care of it while the landlord’s the one that needs to ensure that it complies with child safety laws. Before you move in, the landlord also needs to make sure that the pool is clean and chemically balanced, and that the equipment is working properly.

Both parties play a part

While the landlord plays a part in keeping the premises in liveable condition prior to your arrival, along with all urgent repairs and routine maintenance, you also play a part in taking care of the property. To avoid any confusion, you’d want to read the tenancy agreement as it’ll include information about what to do in an emergency, and if there’s a specific contractor you should be contacting to carry out the repairs.

By reading the contract, you’ll also have a clear idea of who’s in charge of what. It’s also helpful if you can openly communicate with your landlord and establish an amicable relationship with them. It’ll help with avoiding any misunderstandings or sticky situations in the future.

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