The responsibilities of the landlord

Written by view.com.au in Guides on June 3, 2011

The responsibilities of the landlord

Ultimate Rental Guide

At the beginning and during the residential tenancy, the responsibilities of the landlord must be upheld. It is a good idea to become acquainted with these so you know where you stand.

Choosing a Tenant

Discrimination

During the application process, a landlord must not discriminate against any of the applicants based on certain characteristics, such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Sexuality
  • Having children
  • Pregnancy
  • Mental illness
  • Disabilities

Bond and Advance Rent

It is recommended that all landlords acquire a bond from their new tenants. This security measure will be useful in instances where the tenant does not pay rent, damages the property or fails to keep it in a satisfactory condition. If so, the landlord is then eligible to claim some or the entire bond once the tenancy is over.

The landlord may make a claim on the bond for:

  • Damage caused by the tenant or their visitors
  • Cleaning expenses
  • Abandonment of the premises by the tenant
  • Landlord being forced to pay tenant’s bills
  • Loss of landlord’s goods
  • Rent not being paid

At the start of a new lease, the landlord is expected to provide a bond lodgement form to be filled out by both parties and is responsible to ensure that it is lodged with the relevant state authority within the correct time period.

During Tenancy

Condition Report and Rental Guide

Once the residential tenancy agreement has been established, a condition report must be completed by the estate agent / landlord and tenant. This report will, in detail, state the condition of the premises at the start of the tenancy, and any past damages. Having photographic evidence and the condition report is very important as it may be used as evidence if there is a disagreement regarding the bond claim in the future. The estate agent or landlord must also provide a rental guide relevant to their state, which will include all the tenant’s rights and other information which may be needed during the tenancy.

Rent and Bond

The landlord has the right to request rent on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. With both the bond and rental payments received, the landlord should provide detailed and signed receipts stating the date, amount received, property address, name of tenant and duration for which it has been paid.

Rent Increases

The conditions of rental increases vary from state to state.

For more information on state based rental increase legislation refer to “All You Need to Know About a Bond & Upfront Rental Payment”.

Utilities

Landlords are responsible for ensuring the property has all basic utilities installed. They are also responsible for the payment of rates and taxes, any services which do not have separate metering devices, annual supply charge for water and sewerage, body corporate fees and any other services they have agreed to finance.

Maintenance and Repairs

The main living areas must be kept in good condition and all the appliances need to be maintained. The condition expected will be dependent on how old the property is and how much the rent is. Landlords are obliged to take care of anything that may need repairing on the property and must respond to any requests in a timely manner.

Urgent Repairs

Urgent repairs should be dealt with without any delay, in order to continue providing the tenants with a secure and livable environment. Urgent repairs are those which are needed in order to
fix a serious problem or fault which may endanger the tenant or damage the property and other belongings, such as:

  • Burst water service
  • Blocked or broken lavatory system
  • Serious roof leak
  • Gas leak
  • A dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious fire or storm damage
  • Failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply to premises
  • Any other damage which results in the property being unsafe or not secure

If they are not dealt with, the tenant has the right to organise a qualified professional to complete repairs, up to the amount specified in the tenancy agreement. The landlord will then have to reimburse the tenant for the cost incurred.

Non-urgent Repairs

Non-urgent repairs need to be resolved as soon as possible and should be done so within 14 days.

For more information on obligations and tenant rights, refer to “Your Rights as a Tenant”.