ACT Repairs and Maintenance to the Rented Premises

The landlord is generally responsible for any repairs or maintenance to the premises that are needed during the tenancy. The tenant should notify the landlord as soon as possible if repairs are necessary.

This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?

Landlord’s obligation to provide premises in a reasonable state at beginning of tenancy

At the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord must ensure that the premises, and any fittings, furniture, or appliances let with the premises, are:

  • fit for human habitation
  • reasonably clean
  • in a reasonable state of repair
  • reasonably secure

The premises is fit for human habitation if people can live there without the building posing any obvious threat or danger to their health or safety.

The premises and any inclusions (i.e. fittings, furniture, appliances) are reasonably clean and in a reasonable state of repair when they can be used without any difficulty by the tenant and do not require any further cleaning or maintenance before use. Although the premises and inclusions do not need to be perfect when the tenant moves in, the landlord must ensure they meet a standard that a reasonable person would expect when moving into a new home.

General repairs and maintenance during tenancy

The landlord must maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair during the tenancy. A reasonable state of repair is measured relative to the condition of the premises at the beginning of the premises.

As a general rule, the landlord must conduct repairs and maintenance that keep the premises in the same (or better) condition than it was in at the beginning of the tenancy.

The landlord must arrange for the repair work to be conducted within 4 weeks of being notified of the need for repairs.

Tenant must notify landlord of need for repairs
The tenant must notify the landlord as soon as possible if any repairs to the premises are needed.

If the tenant fails to notify the landlord, and the damage or disrepair to the premises is made worse by the delay, then the landlord may not be liable for the full cost of repair. In this situation, the tenant may be responsible for part of the repair costs.

What maintenance is the tenant responsible for?
The tenant is responsible for the day-to-day up keep and maintenance of the premises and its fittings. This includes minor tasks like changing light bulbs or fuses, and cleaning.

Urgent repairs

Urgent repairs includes the following:

  • burst water service
  • blocked/broken lavatory system
  • serious roof leak
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • failure of gas, electricity, or water supply
  • failure of a fridge supplied with premises
  • failure or breakdown of any hot water, cooking, heating, or laundry service
  • any fault or damage making the premises unsafe or insecure
  • any fault or damage likely to injure a person or damage property
  • a serious fault in a door, staircase, or lift in a common area that inhibits or inconveniences the tenant in using and accessing the premises

How are urgent repairs arranged?
As soon as the landlord is notified by the tenant of the need for urgent repairs, they must arrange for the repairs to be carried out as soon as necessary, depending on the nature of the problem and the repairs required.

If the tenant cannot contact the landlord, or the landlord does not carry out the repairs within a reasonable time, the tenant can arrange for the repairs to be conducted. The tenant can organise repairs up to the value of 5% of the yearly rent.

Example: if the weekly rent is $250, then the yearly rent would be $13,000 (52 x $250). This means the maximum value for urgent repairs organised by the tenant is $650 ($13,000 x 0.05).

If the cost of urgent repairs exceeds 5% of the yearly rent, the tenant should seek an order from the Tribunal compelling the landlord to conduct repairs.

If the tenant organises urgent repairs, they must first contact the repairer nominated by the landlord in the tenancy agreement. If, however, the nominated repairer cannot be contacted or is unavailable, the tenant can arrange for a qualified tradesperson to conduct the repairs. The person must be properly qualified for the task, e.g. an accredited electrician for repairs to electrical wiring.

The landlord is liable for the costs borne by the tenant in arranging urgent repairs.

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These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.