On the 30th of January 2018, the Tenancy Tribunal ruled that the landlord (New Leaf Properties Limited) needed to replace the broken gas hobs and remove the gas fire on or before the 20th of February 2018. As of the 22nd of March 2018, the landlord had yet to do either of those things.
The Tenancy Tribunal then ruled that since 2 of the 5 hobs hadn’t worked since August 2017 (with another beginning to fail), and the gas fire had also stopped working at the same time. The Tribunal ruled that the loss of use of the hob would have cost $20 per week for 6 months, which comes to $480, because of the inconvenience caused. $250 was awarded because of the loss of access to the gas fire.
On top of this, the gas supply was professionally disconnected around the time of February 20th, which the landlord claimed wasn’t their doing, and asked the tenant to fix herself. This meant the tenant didn’t have any hot water or cooking facilities for 5 days, and had to pay $460.71 to have the gas reconnected. This should have been the landlord’s responsibility.
Because of the landlord’s failure to replace the hob and remove the gas fire, and the fact that the tenant acted reasonably, another $204.29 is awarded to the tenant.
Therefore, the total amount that the tenant is entitled comes to $1,390.71. This is the value of 2 weeks rent, which she isn’t required to pay. Until such a time that the landlord replaces the hob, she is entitled to reduce the rent she pays by $30, and a further $10 for every week that the landlord hasn’t removed the gas fire.
Here is the official document for this dispute, which goes into more detail. This has just been a quick summary.
This case is a great example of what can happen to landlords that don’t get maintenance done within a reasonable time frame. If you don’t repair/replace/remove things relatively soon after your tenant informs you that they’re no longer working, you’re going to make your tenant’s life more difficult, who are then likely to want to take you to the Tenancy Tribunal. This could potentially cost you a lot of money, so it’s in your best interest that you get on top of the issue as soon as you can.
There are situations where, as a tenant, you might need repair work done urgently, and can’t wait for your landlord to sort the problem. In this situation, make sure you get a receipt when the repair work is finished, which clearly shows how much the repairs cost. You can then present this receipt to your landlord, who should cover the cost of this.
As a tenant, you want to know that your landlord is going to listen to you when you tell them that you need something repaired/replaced/removed. If you’ve requested maintenance, and your landlord hasn’t done anything about it, consider presenting them with a 14-day notice to remedy. This lets them know that you’re serious about the issue and that you may go to the Tenancy Tribunal if the problem is not sorted in 14 days. You can also do this if they haven’t provided the money to cover the costs of repairs you needed to have done.
As a landlord, you are required to make sure that your rental property is in good repair. If your tenant requests maintenance, then in most cases you need to make sure that it gets done, and you are liable for the costs associated with that. As a tenant, you’re entitled to live in a property with appliances and fixtures that work. If your landlord isn’t fulfilling their obligation to keep the property in good repair, make sure you go through the right channels (requesting maintenance, a 14-day notice to remedy, the Tenancy Tribunal) to ensure that this is rectified, and you receive any compensation you’re entitled to.