Tenant repair costs

Tenant repair costs

Jul 2017

Tenant repair costs

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, Family and Community Services (FACS) Housing is responsible for maintaining your home in a liveable condition.  This means that we maintain and repair your home for damage caused by reasonable everyday living or the normal wear and tear.

Tenant responsibility for damage

Under the Residential Tenancy Agreement which you have signed, you agree to take good care of your home and report any damage to FACS Housing as soon as possible. You will be held responsible for any property damage caused by you, your household members or a guest or a pet has caused. When such damage occurs, FACS Housing can require that you pay for the cost of repairs.

There are occasions you are not held responsible, for example when the damage is caused by criminals (eg burglars or vandals) or in the normal course of fair wear and tear.

FACS Housing is likely to ask you to pay for repair costs to cover damage such as:

  • Broken windows
  • Punctured internal cupboard doors and walls
  • Carpet burns
  • Broken clotheslines and hoists
  • Broken locks
  • Damaged internal or external doors, fly screens and security doors
  • Damaged toilets and basins
  • Blocked sewers due to sanitary pads, nappies, toys or other items flushed down the toilet
  • Fire damage caused by deliberately, or carelessly lit fires or neglect by the tenant or household member

FACS Housing will also ask you to pay for the cost of replacing lost keys or removing furniture and rubbish or vehicles abandoned at the end of the tenancy.

When deciding who is responsible for damage and repair costs, FACS Housing takes into account the type of damage and the information you give us about who was responsible when reporting the damage.

We will also consider individual circumstances, such as:

  • The condition of the property at the beginning of your tenancy as listed in the Property Condition Report
  • Whether repairs are needed due to fair wear and tear
  • Ill health or external factors (eg. Criminal activity, break and enter, vandalism) or domestic or family violence.

If we hold you responsible for tenant repair costs, we will write a Reimbursement for Tenant Repair Cost letter to you explaining the repairs to be carried out and the amount you will be charged.  The most that can be charged is the actual cost of the repairs. FACS Housing will also consider the age of the item damaged and whether its value has gone down over time (depreciation) before working out the final cost.

In the letter, we will ask you to accept the tenant repair costs by signing and returning the Reimbursement for Tenant Repair Cost letter to your local FACS Housing office. You should return the signed form back to us within 10 days (plus postage time).

If you believe that you were not responsible for the damage or disagree with the repair costs, you must advise FACS Housing in writing when you receive your Reimbursement for Tenant Repair Cost Letter. We will then send you a Dispute Liability form for you to complete, stating the reasons why you disagree with the repair costs, and attaching any evidence to support these reasons.  This form is to be returned to your local office within 10 days (including postage time).

If FACS Housing does not receive your returned Reimbursement for Tenant Repair Cost Letter or a Dispute Liability Form within 10 days (plus postage time), we will assume you are not disputing responsibility for the damage and/or the cost of the repairs.

We then review our earlier decision. If the review finds you are responsible and confirms the amount of the tenant repair costs, we will write to you and apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or local court to recover the repair costs.

You will have an opportunity to tell the Tribunal or local court why you disagree about your responsibility and/or the tenant repair costs. The Tribunal or local court will decide if you have to pay and if so how much.

You can contact the NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for independent information and advice on tenant repair costs.

You can also contact your local Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service – find your local service on this website: https://tenants.org.au/all/taas.

You can find your local Aboriginal Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Services here: https://tenants.org.au/aboriginal-tenants

Are all your questions answered?

For more information call the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322, visit www.housing.nsw.gov.au, or visit your local FACS office.

Translation service

If you need help with interpreting or translation because English is not your first language, phone the All Graduates Translating and Interpreting Service on 1300 652 488. They will phone the housing organisation and interpret for you for free.

إذا كنت بحاجة للمساعدة في الترجمة الشفهية أو الترجمة لأن اللغة الإنجليزية ليست لغتك الأولى، اتصل بشركة "أول جراديويتس" All Graduates على الرقم 1300 652 488.

如果你的母語不是英語,需要口譯或筆譯幫助,請致電All Graduates,電話號碼:1300 652 488。

Nếu quý vị cần hỗ trợ biên dịch hoặc phiên dịch vì tiếng Anh không phải là ngôn ngữ chính của quý vị, vui lòng gọi All Graduates theo số 1300 652 488.