If you have been affected by a natural disaster, such as a flood, bushfire or storm damage, it is crucial you know your renting rights and responsibilities.
What happens with the tenancy?
- If the premises is destroyed or becomes totally or partly uninhabitable, you can mutually agree to end the tenancy.
- If you are unable to make a mutual agreement, either you or the landlord can give a termination notice in writing to end the tenancy. You cannot be evicted without a NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal order.
- If the premises are only partly uninhabitable, you can choose to stay on in the premises while the repairs are being carried out. You should only consider doing this if the damage is relatively minor and there is no ongoing safety risk to you or your family.
- You can move out temporarily and return once the premises is fixed. The landlord is not obliged to find or pay for your temporary accommodation.
- You and the landlord can formally end the agreement and re-sign a new lease after the repairs are complete. Be aware that a higher rent could be included in the new agreement.
What happens about the rent?
If you move out temporarily or continue living in the partially damaged premises, the rent should be waived or reduced. Any agreement in these situations should be put in writing.
Serious storm, fire or flood damage are all considered to be urgent repair and should be handled quickly. Visit the urgent repairs page for more information on access and timings.
If the repairs are not urgent, you and the landlord should agree to a timetable for repairs.
A landlord is not obliged to compensate you for any damage to your furniture or personal belongings from a natural disaster.
Disclosure of previous disasters
The landlord or agent must tell you before you sign the tenancy agreement if the premises have been subject to flooding or bushfire in the past five years. This only applies where they know of the event.
If this information was not disclosed before you signed the agreement and it happens again, you may be entitled to compensation.
For any tenancy related disputes after a natural disaster, contact the Tribunal.