IMPORTANT changes to rental laws during COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency period
New laws have commenced which affect tenants, property owners and agents. Read about the COVID-19 Disease (Emergency Provisions) Act 2020 and the changes to:
An owner is responsible to keep a rental property in good repair at all times during a tenancy. There are different rules for:
- urgent and
- emergency repairs.
An owner must have ‘urgent repairs’ done as soon as possible after a tenant tells them about the issue.
Urgent repairs are when an ‘essential service’ stops working, which is any of the following:
- removal of waste water from kitchen, bathrooms and laundries
- the supply of electricity
- cooking stove
- hot water service.
‘Stops working’ means:
- water: the water service no longer supplies to or removes from the property the same amount of water that it would be capable of supplying or removing if it were fully functional.
- electricity: all power points or wires between the walls or in the ceiling of the property are no longer safe or no longer supply electricity. The exception is where power points and wires are noted on the ingoing condition report as not working.
- electricity: the electricity-generating device no longer safely produces and supplies electricity to the same level that it ought to reasonably produce and supply.
- heating: the heater no longer provides heat the same level that it was reasonably capable of providing when it was made.
- cooking: at least half of the heating elements of the stove, or the oven, no longer function safely.
- hot water: the same amount of hot water at the same temperature is no longer provided by the hot water service as when it was manufactured.
- grey water: if all water at the property required to be removed or treated is no longer able to be safely removed or safely treated within a timeframe that it should be able to remove or treat water if it were fully functioning.
If the owner cannot be contacted within 24 hours, a tenant can arrange for a nominated repairer to do the works, and to invoice the owner.
If an owner expects to be away or is not contactable, they should give the tenant the name of a person to contact in the case of an urgent repair. This person is a nominated repairer. These are also often named in the lease.
If the owner has not nominated a repairer, or the nominated repairer is unavailable, the tenant can have a suitably qualified person do the repairs. This is a suitable repairer. In this case, the tenant must pay the repairer and have the owner pay them back. See Reimbursement of cost of repairs.