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Tel: 1300 30 40 54
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31 October 2019
Consumer Protection has recently received a high number of complaints regarding unacceptable living conditions in rental properties, many of which may not have been appropriately managed by property managers/agents, including:
If a tenant raises concerns with you, as the property manager/agent, regarding the living conditions and maintenance standards of a property, you have a responsibility on behalf of the owner to manage the situation. You must follow up by inspecting the premises and ensuring the property is compliant with local building, health and safety laws. You also have an obligation to inform the owner of the issues and assist them to understand their obligations in relation to the tenant and property. You also have a responsibility to ascertain or verify all facts material to a lease and promptly communicate those facts to any person who may be affected. A property manager/agent is also responsible to complying with any applicable law.
Under the Health Act 1911, local government may declare a house, or specified area/s, unfit for human habitation due to:
Under the Residential Tenancy Act 1987 (RTA), one of the reasons a lessor or tenant can terminate a tenancy agreement is when the whole or part of premises is rendered uninhabitable due to damage or is declared as such by the local government or any other authority.
Please ensure your tenants are advised to report all electrical hazards directly to Western Power (or Horizon Power in some regional areas of WA) and any gas leaks (or the smell of gas) to ATCO Gas immediately. Once any immediate danger has been reported to the appropriate authority, tenants should then notify the property manager/agent.
If the property you are managing is severely damaged due to an accident or other major event (storm, damaged roof etc.) and becomes unfit to live in, the lease will have effectively ended and the tenant is not expected to stay at the property. The lessor is not required to help the tenant find alternative accommodation or pay for relocation costs in the event the lease ends due to an accident or major event.
It is not the responsibility of the tenant to conduct the repairs or pay for the repairs out of the bond.
The below tips will help you meet your obligations as a property manager/agent by ensuring a property being leased is safe and habitable:
Remember, keeping the property in a good condition will help your client keep good tenants. Keeping a good tenant is much easier and more financially viable than trying to find a new one.
Tenants have a right to live in a property that does not pose any health and safety risks. If an issue arises you should not dismiss or penalise a tenant for reporting an issue, requesting a repair, or exercising their rights under the legislation.