Alarmed and scared

Che asks:
(updated on Wednesday, May 01st 2013)

I am a tenant and would like to ask about two issues - changing property managers and fair fees when ending a fixed term. It follows an argument I had with the property manager. Our house was burgled so we requested that the alarm be repaired. The service man disconnected it without my consent, so we rang the property manager to request the contractor back to connect the alarm again. But she insisted that it could not be done. I was so upset and I am now scared without the alarm in place. I made a complaint as I havent slept well since they turned it up, I've been woken up shaking with fear and crying by small noises outside. They seem to not care. Is it fair for us to not finish the fixed term? We have lost almost $3,000 from the burglary incident.

Our Experts Answer:

If the alarm was working when you moved into the property you have a right to expect that it will continue to work. If, however, the alarm was not working (and you accepted it was not working) at the start of your tenancy, you can’t claim that it is a condition of the tenancy. The basis of this is that you can’t require the landlord to improve the property. The way I read your question is that the alarm used to work, but became faulty and was disconnected. If that is the case the landlord has a responsibility to restore the alarm to a working state. If the landlord / property manager refuses to do so, you can serve the property manager with a 14-day notice to remedy, requiring that the alarm be restored to its original working condition. If that doesn’t bring the result you want, then you might apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a range of orders, including an order to have the tenancy terminated.

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