If you’re renting a home with a gas heater or fireplace, who is in charge of maintaining that equipment?

Like many tenancy laws across Australia, the rules differ from state to state, and it can be confusing when working out your responsibilities.

The onus is on the landlord to ensure gas heaters in rental properties are maintained and safe.

Most states in Australia require that if you lease out a home with a working gas heater, you need to make sure it’s repaired whenever it breaks.

Most of those same states also say that landlords need to keep their properties in a reasonable state of repair or maintenance.

So even if there’s no specific legal requirement to make sure your gas heater is regularly serviced, it’s a smart idea for landlords to do it because it can affect their insurance policies.

Not too many states have guidelines around fireplaces and chimneys, but again, landlords are expected to ensure the property is kept in a reasonable state of repair. Talk to your landlord about who should ensure the chimney is kept clean and have that agreement stated in your lease.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

As a tenant, you’re entitled to working heating appliances during winter, but you’re also responsible for using them correctly. Ensure you use all heating appliances per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you notice that an appliance is damaged or faulty, stop using it immediately.

Any malfunction needs to be reported to your property manager or landlord as soon as possible, especially if you suspect a faulty heater.

Remember: Carbon monoxide leaks are hard to detect. Poisonous has is tasteless, colourless and odourless and can result in death, serious injury or property damage. For this reason, your gas appliances must be safe to use and properly maintained.

If your landlord has failed to comply and act on an urgent repair, get in touch with the tenancy body in your state for the next steps.

Tina said that you are responsible for ensuring that you are looking after your heating as a tenant.

You should also keep portable heaters away from any combustible material. Avoid hanging washing on a clothes horse nearby or positioning it near swinging curtains or papers.

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