South Australia Alterations and Additions

Tenants can only make alterations or additions to the premises if the landlord gives consent. The best option to discuss the need and reason for any alteration before going ahead with it.

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?

Who can make alterations and additions to the premises?

Before making any kind of alteration or addition to the property, the tenant should carefully consider whether they need the landlord’s consent and how it might affect the long-term value and nature of the rented premises.

The tenant must not install any fixtures at the premises, or make any alterations, or additions without the landlord’s consent.

The best approach to any kind of addition or alteration is for the tenant and landlord to discuss it and come to a mutually convenient agreement. Landlords should be aware that tenants may sometimes need to install fixtures or change the premises to suit their needs. Tenants should also remember that the premises is the property of the landlord and that any changes they make could effect its long-term value.

Fixtures vs Fittings
A ‘fixture’ is a good that the tenant brings onto the rented premises, and which becomes part of the rented premises. Fixtures are normally attached to the premises in some way. Common examples of fixtures include carpets, gas stoves, or built in air-conditioners. Goods brought onto the premises that are not fixtures are called ‘fittings’ and include blinds, portable ovens, free-standing sheds, and portable air conditioners. The tenant only needs the consent of the landlord to install fixtures, not for fittings.

Can the landlord always withhold consent for an alteration or addition?

The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent for an alteration or addition if it is necessary to provide some kind of service or infrastructure—e.g. water, electricity, digital TV, or internet.

The only circumstances when the landlord could withhold consent for this kind of work would be if it would significantly damage the premises or reduce its value.

Removing Fixtures

The tenant can remove any fixtures that they had installed unless removing it would damage the premises.

What happens if the tenant damages the premises?

If the tenant damages the premises while making an alteration or addition, or when removing a fixture, they must notify the landlord as soon as possible. The landlord can then choose whether the tenant must compensate them for the cost of repairs, or whether the tenant should conduct the repairs themselves.

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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.