Tenancy disputes due to no-fault fire

Question from Mark Rogers updated on 4th October 2006:

Recently had a fire in my apt. bathroom do to faulty electrical wiring in the ceiling fan. The landlord has been great with repairs and cleaning. My only complaint is that I've been displaced during the repairs and asked for a pro-rated rental payment. Her comment was that they are at no fault for the fire and should be happy enough that they didnt charge me for repairs. Dont have rental insurance but not asking for compensation to my loss in property. What are my rights on this matter?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act landlords are responsible for paying for serious or urgent repairs to their rental property (either by arranging for the repairs themselves or compensating tenants for the cost of the repairs) when:

• the damage or state of disrepair has not been caused by the careless or intentional actions of the tenant or a guest of the tenant; and

• the tenant has made a reasonable attempt to inform the landlord about the damage.

Tenants and landlords have the right to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for compensation for any loss suffered as a result of one party breaching their obligations under the Act. However, if there is no breach of obligations, it is unlikely that an application before the Tribunal will succeed. The best course of action is always to discuss any issues you have with your landlord. If you can’t reach agreement, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing, free phone 0800 TENANCY (83 62 62) for advice and information about your rights and obligations as a tenant.

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


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