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Benchmark - Real Estate Cases & Commentary
Tenancy matters
    •  Repairs
        -  Repair within reasonable time
        >  Landlord's failure to repair in reasonable time



Landlord's failure to repair in reasonable time 

The tenant commenced proceedings against the landlord in the Tribunal, claiming remedies for excessive rent.

The tenant, after moving into the property, made a number of complaints regarding the property to the landlord’s agent. These included that the toilet and taps were leaking, the garage was not lockable, the roller door to the garage was unusable, and the carpet smelt of mould. There were many other additional complaints made by the tenant.

The Tribunal noted that section 52 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 requires a landlord to provide the residential premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness and fit for habitation by the tenant.

In general, there is no breach of such an express covenant by the landlord until two criteria had been met. First, the landlord must have information as to the defect, such as would put a reasonable landlord on enquiry as to whether work or repair is needed. Second, the landlord must have failed to carry out the necessary works with reasonable expedition.

In this case, the landlord had requested that the tenant log onto a website and fill out an electronic form when requesting repairs. Before the Tribunal, the landlord contended that any other method of notification was not sufficient. The Tribunal did not agree with the landlord on this point. The Tribunal held that any form of notice was sufficient.

The Tribunal held that the landlord had not commenced or completed the required repairs in a reasonable time, and had not done so at all until ordered to do so by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal was satisfied that there should be an order under section 44 of the Residential Tenancies Act for a reduction in rent. The Tribunal allowed a reduction of 30% over 24 weeks. The Tribunal also awarded compensation for mould damage to the tenant’s property. The Tribunal also ordered that the landlord compensate the tenant for the purchase of locks that the tenant had made.

Aboutaleb v Al-Hayek [2011] NSWCTTT 378