Who is responsible for cleaning the gutters in a rental property?

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Who is responsible for cleaning the gutters in a rental property?

Renting for the first time and unsure of your responsibilities when it comes to roof and gutter maintenance? This is an interesting topic to clarify, as there are different considerations involved. Tenants, landlords and agents need to be aware of certain rules and guidelines throughout a tenancy that will help avoid problems and miscommunications. It is worthwhile having a look at the Australian Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website for more information, as well as checking your lease agreement terms.

The RTA says property managers/owner’s are responsible for repairing general wear and tear on their property. They would be responsible if the gutters had become faulty or damaged due to age or wear-and-tear.

Some buildings may be more susceptible to leaking roofs and gutter blockages. This is due to elements such as age of the property, location, and structural design. In these situations there is a higher likelihood the landlord will be accountable.

In the instance damages arise from the tenant, (the RTA gives an example of a child’s toy blocking the drain), the tenant may be liable for the cost of the damages and removal of the problem-causing item.  

Ultimately, it is the property manager/owner’s responsibility to ensure the property is fit to live in, and generally the duty falls on them to arrange repairs.

While abiding by entry rules, the property manager/owner should liase with the tenant to agree upon a favourable time for any repairs to be completed.

It is the tenant’s responsibility to notify the property agent/owner as soon as any issues become apparent. The tenant may be in breach of their responsibilities if they fail to do so! In a highly competitive rental property market, it is good to keep a good track record. There is an age-old expression, “better an empty house than a bad tenant.” Every three months as part of the routine property inspection, the property manager/owner is supposed to check that the property is in good, liveable condition, and doesn’t require any repairs. This is an opportune time to discuss any matters that you need to draw the property agent/ owner’s attention to.

There can be more considerations in a body corporate setting. Common areas by-laws apply. A body corporate may also be accountable if it does not keep common property in good condition, and that results in damages. It is important to note maintenance is not the same thing as improvement however. For further information regarding body corporate maintenance, it is worth checking the Queensland Government’s website, which can be found here.

Hopefully, these points shed some light on understanding your lease agreement. It can be challenging deciphering who is responsible for what, especially if you are new to the game. Both tenants/ agents/ owners have responsibilities throughout a tenancy. The RTA is always a good point of reference, or to find further information about your legal obligations – have a look at the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, which can be accessed here.  Regardless if you are a tenant or an owner, the gutters and roof of a property need to be cleaned and maintained regularly. This will mean that your home or your investment property continues to look great, and you’ll be protecting yourself from damages. It is recommended all parties communicate directly. Reaching a common understanding in the agreement is usually the fastest and most straightforward way to sort out matters while maintaining relationships.