Who is Responsible? An Introduction for Landlords
November 28 2023
“Kollosche’s dedicated Property Management and Leasing division plays a vital role in supporting and informing landlords on Queensland’s rental laws. We serve as a crucial conduit between landlords and their legal obligations, ensuring compliance and reducing potential legal pitfalls. Drawing on the expertise of our in-house legal counsel, our team is able to expertly interpret and communicate these laws clearly to landlords, helping them understand their responsibilities in terms of property maintenance, repairs, security, and more. We provide continuous updates on changes in legislation, keeping landlords informed and up to date. By facilitating a solid understanding of rental laws, we help our clients maintain smooth, legally compliant tenancies, ultimately safeguarding their investments and reducing risks.” – Renae Hayek | Kollosche General Manager
Landlords must maintain the property in a reasonable state of repair during the tenancy. They are generally responsible for organising and financing repairs and maintenance. Tenants, on the other hand, are responsible for repairing any damage they, their children, pets, or guests have caused.
Landlords must attend to urgent and emergency repairs promptly. These typically involve essential services like gas, electricity, sewerage, water, or major appliances provided with the property. If landlords cannot be reached to address urgent repairs, tenants may arrange and recoup the costs.
Landlords are obliged to keep the rental premises in a reasonable state of repair and ensure compliance with building and safety regulations. They are responsible for plumbing and maintaining appliances provided with the property. Tenants, on the other hand, handle basic household maintenance like cleaning, dusting, and changing light bulbs.
Under Queensland law, the lessor/landlord must test and clean smoke alarms and replace any flat or nearly flat batteries within 30 days before the start of a tenancy, including lease renewals. During the tenancy, the tenant must test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling, at least once every 12 months.
GARDENS AND LAWNS
Garden maintenance is a common source of confusion. In most cases, tenants are responsible for general garden up keep, including mowing the lawn, weeding, pruning, and watering. Unless otherwise stated in the tenancy agreement, tenants are expected to maintain the garden at the standard set at the beginning of the tenancy.
Major gardening work, such as landscaping or significant tree pruning, falls under the landlord’s responsibilities. Specialised tasks like tree lopping are also typically the landlord’s duty. Additionally, the landlord usually provides gardening equipment, like hoses and sprinklers, and maintains the reticulation system.
Landlords are responsible for providing a safe and secure property for tenants. This includes installing and maintaining security devices like door locks, window locks, and exterior lights. If tenants wish to add additional security measures, they usually need the landlord’s permission and become responsible for their upkeep.
Landlords must ensure the property’s plumbing is safe and habitable. In the case of plumbing emergencies, landlords must arrange repairs within the legislated timeframes. Tenants are responsible for issues they cause, like clogged toilets.
To meet minimum housing standards in Queensland, the property manager owner must ensure the property is free from pests when the tenant moves in and throughout the tenancy agreement. If pest infestations result from the tenant’s failure to maintain cleanliness, they are generally liable for resolving the issue. Termites or white ants are typically the landlord’s responsibility, regardless of the cause.
The responsibility for repairing or replacing broken appliances depends on ownership. Landlords are responsible for appliances provided with the property,while individual appliances owned by tenants are their responsibility.
To avoid disputes, it’s crucial to understand these responsibilities, both according to legislation and the tenancy agreement. A property manager can help clarify these responsibilities, reducing the chances of conflicts and potential insurance issues.