What should I do if I damage something in my rental property, or if something falls into disrepair?”

Business Development Manager at Absolute Real Estate Michelle Kathopoulis said that damages in a property could leave tenants in a confusing – and often sticky – situation.

“If you damage something in your rental, the best course of action is to ‘make good,’ and return it to its original condition. Try to make sure this is done promptly,” she said.

“If an issue isn’t addressed quickly, your agent may issue you with a breach notice, and this could be recorded as part of your rental history.”

“However, it’s important to remember that accidents do happen from time to time, and if addressed quickly, it shouldn’t become an issue – or even noticed.”

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Accidental versus deliberate property damage

When your over-eager dog chews up the carpet, or a clumsy neighbour overlooks the flyscreen and tears a hole, you (as the tenant) are responsible for accidental damage to the property.

Accidental damage refers to any damage that the tenant or their guests cause, which falls to the tenant to repair.

“From time to time, we do see situations where the damage at the property has been intentional, or there’s a real delay in rectifying the damage,” Michelle said.

“This can result in a lot of frustration for all parties, plus presents a real risk to a tenant’s rental history.”

“If you notice that something in your property requires maintenance, report it to your property manager or the landlord. They will be able to arrange to have the issue rectified.”

Damage caused by fair wear and tear

Damage that occurs over time (things like cracks in the wall, for example) is the responsibility of your property owner. They must ensure that their property is fit for a tenant to live in.

If you are unsure or worried about whether the damage in your home is due to wear and tear, consider documenting it through photos and videos. This evidence can help your cause when it comes to vacating the property and returning your rental bond.

“If the damage at home is a result of an issue that stems from the age of the property or wear and tear, ensure you report it to your agent,” Michelle said.

“This will allow them to contact the owner to approve maintenance to repair or replace it and ensure you’re protected when you vacate the property, and your bond is disbursed.”

You might also like:
First-time renters: What to know before you rent
Rental applications: How long before I’m approved?
Rental ledger – Why you should ask for a copy

Michelle Kathopoulis
Michelle Kathopoulis
Business Development Manager at Absolute Real Estate | (08) 8930 6600 | [email protected]

Michelle Kathopoulis is the Business Development Manager for Absolute Real Estate in Winnellie, Northern Territory. Her involvement in real estate has been as a residential and commercial property manager. She was awarded Property Manager of the Year in 2008. Since joining Absolute Real Estate in 2009, Michelle's role has included all aspects of business management with a strong focus on property management training and mentoring.


  1. I had a flatmate, Janne, staying from 12 Sept to 30th October 2018. She had a temporary job at the Power Station as Safety Officer. She had two dogs.
    As agreed she paid $290 per week, had her own bathroom and lounge room which she used to watch netflix every night.
    As agreed, if another flatmate used the other bedroom she received a refund of $90.This happened twice.
    I had received a phone call from an agent in Buderim wanting a reference. I gave a good reference because at the time she was OK.
    As her date of departure was nearing, I advertised the two rooms. One for $200 and the other for $180.
    Janne became very irate that the person taking her room was going to pay $200 per week. No reasoning would calm her down.
    On her last Sunday here, 28th Oct, she destroyed the griller (brand new wall oven) by closing the door with the heat full on. My partner and I smelt something strange when we returned home that day. The damage wasn’t discovered until after she left. She received a refund for her bond.
    The bill for the damager is $208.
    She is on Facebook. She has blocked me on her phone. I have her Rego number.
    This was malicious damage. What recourse do I have?