Who pays for repairs?

Question from Samantha updated on 27th April 2012:

I have a rental property which is looked after by a property manager. I am wanting to know what I am liable for in regards to repairs. The tenant is asking me to pay to fix a door handle which they have broken. They also want me to pay to fix the leaking dishwasher - if it is a fault of the machine then I am happy to pay but if it is something they have done e.g. food or broken glass blocking it up then I am wondering if they should be paying for it to get fixed?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

You are quite right. If a tenant has broken a door handle either intentionally or through negligence or carelessness, it is their responsibility to repair. Where it is clearly the tenant's fault, there can be no dispute as to who should fix it. But if the door handle was broken through normal use then it is a maintenance issue for the landlord to repair. Similarly the leaking dishwasher must be repaired by the landlord unless it can be established that the leak was caused by tenant misuse. However, trying to establish the cause of damage can sometimes be a grey area between negligence and normal wear. I suggest that you ask your appliance service contractor to report back to you on the cause of the leak. If it is clearly caused by tenant misuse, the repair cost can be on-charged to the tenant. If not then the cost is yours.

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