Is your landlord failing to maintain the property?


Property maintenance is the responsibility of the landlord. Know your rights.

There are very strict rules regulating who exactly is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of a rented property. According to the Rental Housing Act, 1999, the landlord must provide the following for tenants:

  1. A property that is fit for living in.
  2. Proper maintenance to ensure that the home complies with all health, safety and local law regulations.
  3. Timeous repairs – the Act states that repairs must be done within 30 days of the landlord being notified of the problem. This can take longer if the landlord talks to the tenant and an agreement is reached.
  4. Decreased rent during the renovation period if it causes a major inconvenience to the people living there.

What should you do if your landlord won’t maintain the property?

  • Check your lease agreement – It’s vital that you know all of the details relating to maintenance, renovations and general upkeep of the property. These should all be stipulated in detail in your lease agreement. If you are unsure of any elements, ask a lawyer to have a look at the agreement to confirm who is responsible for the maintenance item.
  • Keep a record of the results of any inspections done – Your landlord or the letting agent will likely do an inspection of the property before you move in. This is to make a note of the general state of the home, as well as looking at fittings and fixtures that have been installed. The landlord is also within their rights to do inspections on a yearly basis in order to keep note of how things are being used or looked after. Be sure to ask for a record of these inspections so that you are aware of the state of the property according to your landlord.
  • Don’t do any renovations or alterations without consent from the landlord – You may feel that it would just be easier if you do the maintenance work or call in someone to do it for you, rather than wait for your landlord to organise things. However, unless you have the express permission from the landlord to do this, it’s possible that you won’t be reimbursed for the work. Worst case scenario, you could end up being sued by your landlord for making alterations to the property as this usually goes against what is said in your lease agreement.
  • Talk to a lawyer about mediation – The landlord is always responsible for maintenance or upkeep on what is considered “fair wear and tear”. However, sometimes this can be a contentious issue, especially when it comes to elements like damp or plumbing problems. If your landlord is saying that the maintenance is your responsibility, but you believe it isn’t, then it’s time to get a mediator in to sort out the issue.

Talk to Simon today about how to get your landlord to look after the property properly.

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The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.

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