As a tenant, it is your responsibility to make sure the property is in good condition when you move in, taking into account the age of the property and the amount of rent you pay. If something breaks down, leaks or needs fixing, you should contact the landlord or agent as soon as possible.
If the issue isn’t urgent, make the repair request in writing and state what needs fixing and when you’d like it done by.
You are responsible for minor updates including: replacing light bulbs, changing the smoke detector batteries, cleaning windows, dusting, removing cobwebs and routine garden maintenance such as watering, mowing and weeding.
Urgent repairs include:
- a burst water service or a serious water service leak
- a blocked or broken toilet
- a serious roof leak
- a gas leak
- a dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm or fire damage
- a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
- a failure or breakdown of the hot water service
- a failure or breakdown of the stove or oven
- a failure or breakdown of a heater or air-conditioner
- a fault or damage which makes the premises unsafe or insecure.
If there is an urgent repair, you need to notify the landlord or agent right away and arrangements will be made as soon as possible. If you cannot reach them, check your tenancy agreement for the details of a nominated tradesperson to contact.
Doing repairs yourself
If urgent repairs are not done within a reasonable time, you can arrange for the work to be completed and be reimbursed, up to $1,000 by the landlord. You must be able to prove:
- The need for the urgent repair was not your fault
- You contacted the landlord or agent about the problem or made a reasonable attempt to do so
- You gave the landlord or agent a reasonable opportunity to get the repairs done
- The repairs were carried out by a licensed tradesperson (if appropriate).
After the repairs are done, you need to write to the landlord explaining the details of the repairs and include copies of all receipts. The landlord is required to pay you back within 14 days of receiving your notice. If they don’t, contact <Fair Trading's free tenancy and real estate complaint service>.
If the urgent repairs are likely to cost more than $1000 or you cannot afford to pay, you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an urgent hearing order.
If the repair is not urgent, you must have written permission, including agreement on reimbursement, from the landlord or agent before you start.
If repairs are not done, you should never stop paying the rent. Withholding rent will put you in breach of your tenancy agreement and your lease may be terminated.
Resolving repair problems
If there is an issue with repairs, you can use Fair Trading's free tenancy and real estate complaint service. Our experienced staff will talk you through the issues or contact your landlord or agent to negotiate an agreement.
The Tribunal can also help with:
- an order that the landlord do repairs
- an order that you can pay your rent to the Tribunal until the repairs are done
- an order that your rent be reduced until the time it is fixed
- an order to compensate you for losses (eg. damage to your belongings from a leaking pipe after you told the landlord the pipe was leaking).
Take a look at our YouTube page for more information on the complaint service.
Damage caused by you
If you, or an invited guest causes damage to the property, you need to notify the landlord or agent as soon as possible. You might be asked to pay for this damage to be repaired.