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What Repairs Are Landlords Not Obligated To Fix?

by Jonny S | 29/06/2020

If you’ve just moved into a new apartment and are new to the whole rental game, you could be a little confused when it comes to whose fixing the repairs – you or the landlord. While it may be a natural response to contact your landlord whenever any problem arises, they’re not responsible for everything. 

That’s right, some repairs aren’t under a landlord’s care. Most cities and states require landlords to keep their properties habitable, and that involves most of the larger things around the home. When it comes to the smaller things, however, you’re in charge of keeping them in order. Not sure who’s in charge of which? The list below will provide insight into repairs that aren’t your landlord’s responsibility.  

Dead batteries  

While tenants are in charge of fixing things that they break, it can be a bit of a hazy boundary when it comes to things like a flat smoke detector. While you didn’t cause the batteries to die, there isn’t a need to call your landlord to come and fix them. Instead, just go purchase more batteries and have them replaced on your own.  

Related: Guide: How To Renovate a Bathroom in a Rental Property

Burnt out light bulbs  

Similar to the battery situation, you shouldn’t be calling your landlord to replace your light bulbs. Instead, purchase some long-lasting, low-energy bulbs for your home. When you move out, you can take those bulbs with you as well. If you didn’t replace them, don’t take them with you as it’s inconsiderate, and unfair to the next person who moves in.  

Broken devices  

This one’s a little tricky and it can go either way. It’s highly dependent on what’s listed on the lease as some landlords may explicitly state that appliances aren’t part of the rent. If that’s stated, you’d be responsible for fixing whatever breaks. To be prepared, you should review the lease before moving in and understand everything that’s detailed on the document.  

Dripping faucets  

While it’s not pleasant to have in the home, it’s not something that your landlord is responsible for – especially if they aren’t causing any mold or significant structural damage. If there’s a severe problem, however, you’d need to contact your landlord immediately so they can look into it. This might involve them stepping in to remodel the bathroom to ensure that it’s safe and habitable for you to live in.  

Minor plumbing issues  

If there’s a burst pipe in your home, then you should definitely contact your landlord right away. If it’s just minor plumbing issues however, it’s most likely due to something you did or didn’t do. Try not to shove big pieces of food down the waste disposal and rinse your plate to avoid any food build-up. All of these actions will help with reducing minor clogs from happening.  


Related: Australian Renovation Grants: The New HomeBuilder Scheme Explained

Pest problems  

This is highly dependent if pests existed before you moved-in or if they were present because of your current living habits. If you moved into a place that already had pests, you can speak to your landlord and have them handle it. However, if this happened the other way around, you could be financially responsible for rectifying the issue.  If you’re renting a property with a yard and there are pests there, for the most part, it’s up to the landlord to rectify the situation, but again this is on a case by case basis.

Holes in the drywall  

Drywalls can be relatively fragile, and any number of actions can cause a hole in your wall. Since it’s caused by your own actions, your landlord isn’t responsible for repairing it. Luckily they aren’t too difficult to fix either, and you can patch it up on your own. Just remember to be honest with your landlord when you’re moving out.   


Related: How Long Does It Take To Renovate A Kitchen?

Summing up

As someone that’s renting a unit, you aren’t responsible for as much around the house as a homeowner. Even so, it doesn’t mean that you need to approach them for every single problem that occurs at home. At the end of the day, this is the place that you reside in and you should treat it as such. 

Keep open communication with your landlord if any issues happen around the home, and if it’s not causing any massive damage you should also repair them. Keeping the channels of communication open will help with any misunderstandings in the future – especially when your lease ends. 

If you are a landlord and considering renovating your rental property or your own property, 

give us a call on 1300 304 367. We offer cost-effective home renovations Sydney and home renovations Melbourne; get a free, online renovation quote today.

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