Blocked basin: whos pays the costs to clean?

Lara asks:
(updated on Monday, April 21st 2008)

Our tenants blocked up the hand basin in the bathroom - who pays the bill? - the tenants or the landlord? They had to use a water blaster to unblock it.

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 says tenants are responsible for the repair of any careless or intentional damage they (or anyone on the property at their invitation) cause to the property. If the blockage in the hand basin was carelessly or intentionally caused by the tenants, they may be held responsible for the cost of fixing it. However, if the blockage was not carelessly or intentionally caused by the tenants, then the landlord is responsible for the cost of fixing it, as part of the obligation to maintain the premises. I suggest that you discuss the cause of the blockage with your tenants, and decide who will be responsible accordingly.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weather tight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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