Tenants, Building Defects, NCAT and Rent Relief
In a recent case, a property manager failed to inform a landlord of defects in the common property of a strata building and take any steps to investigate issues that a tenant had complained about.
The tenant applied to NCAT for a rent reduction as the landlord had breached their obligation to keep the rented premises in a reasonable state of repair as water leaked into the premises. The tenant was successful.
Who Could be Liable?
If a tenant claims rent relief from NCAT due to defects in a strata building, it’s important to note that NCAT could deem that it is the responsibility of the:
- Landlord who could lose rent (or worse) if they do nothing;
- Property manager if they fail to fix defects in the premises that they are authorised to repair following a tenant’s complaint in a timely manner;
- Property manager if they have not advised the landlord of defects (where they are not authorised organise repairs) following a tenant’s complaint;
- Owners corporation who could also be held liable for a landlord’s loss of rent.
A Timely Reminder for Managing Agents!
- Ensure your professional indemnity insurance is current
- Obtain landlord consent on a minimum amount for repair works which can be dealt with without the landlord’s approval;
- Allocate sufficient resources to attend to repair requests in a timely manner to avoid issues which could lead to court proceedings;
- Request that any common property defects are promptly repaired by the owners corporation;
- Ensure that the relevant strata by-laws for the apartment block are up to date to minimise your risk