Who is responsible for property maintenance?
An important topic for discussion of many landlords and tenants is – “Who is responsible for property maintenance issues”. If you are a landlord or tenant it is very important is establish who is responsible for different types of maintenance.
Before a tenancy begins, the landlord or property manager must ensure the premises is habitable and in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair,when a tenant moves into the rental property.
During a tenancy, the tenant is responsible to report any maintenance issues as well as keeping the property clean and tidy. At the end of the tenancy, the tenant must ensure the property in a similar condition to how it was at the start of the agreement, taking into account normal use (fair wear and tear).
The three main areas of maintenance that can cause disputes between tenants and landlords are property maintenance inside & out, as well as swimming pools or spa’s.
Property maintenance inside
During the tenancy, the landlord or property manager must keep the premises in a reasonable condition and comply with Victorian building and tenancy laws. The Landlord/ property manager are responsible for the upkeep of the property unless the tenant have intentionally or neglectfully damaged it.
Generally, mould found at the property is the responsibility of the tenants unless it was caused by faults in gutters or other fixtures. The tenant must ensure there is adequate ventilation to help avoid mould problems typically found during the colder months of the year.
The tenants are responsible for basic household maintenance, like replacing light globes, vacuuming, cleaning windows, dusting and removing cobwebs inside and out.
Property maintenance outside
The tenant is responsible for garden maintenance, such as mowing, weeding and pruning, unless specified otherwise in the lease agreement.
If the tenant becomes aware of any potential damage to any parts of the exterior of the property such as gutters or a water leak, the tenant must advise the landlord or property manager directly. If the damage is apparent and the tenant fails to report it within a reasonable time frame, the tenant may be liable for any damage costs.
The landlord is responsible for maintenance of any garden reticulation system, tree lopping, cutting back overhanging branches (such as those near power lines or guttering), unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise.
Swimming pools and spas
If the rental property has a swimming pool or spa, the tenant is responsible for keeping the pool or spa or any associated equipment in a properly treated and clean condition. The tenant must also observe all legal requirements relating to pools or spas during the period of the lease.
The landlord or property manager is responsible for ensuring the pool or spa is secure, that it is child safe and complies with pool safety standards. If the tenant becomes aware of any safety concerns relating to the swimming pool or spa, they must report these concerns to their landlord or property manager as soon as possible.
At the start of the tenancy, the landlord or property manager should make sure the water is clean, chemically balanced and the pool and equipment is serviceable. The tenant should also be provided with the necessary tools and equipment for day-to-day maintenance, such as vacuums, hoses, brushes and scoops.
Unless your written agreement states otherwise, the tenant is responsible for day-to-day maintenance and upkeep of the pool.
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