“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 NT, Michelle Kathopoulis said that damages in a property can 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 in a timely manner,” 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.”
Accidental versus deliberate property damage
When your over-eager dog chews up the carpet, or a clumsy neighbour doesn’t notice 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, and this 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 manage 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. It’s their duty to 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 the return of 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 give them the opportunity 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.”
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