Tenants - Property defects: To Report or Not To Report?

PUBLISHED 22 SEP 2016   

With the excitement of moving into a new property, have we found that tenants forget one of the most important things to do... Submitting a fault list!

Yes, there is an inspection conducted by the landlord/agent/inspector, but these are for obvious faults only and let’s face it; something can be missed and one can only really determine if something is not working when you start using it.

By not submitting your own fault list, may you be held liable for faults that were not caused by you or your family. Unfortunately in these cases, do tenants have no proof of it being reported as they felt it not necessary.

It is also irrelevant whether or not a specific item bothers you.  IT MUST BE NOTED! E.g. you take a bath and notice there are holes in the bathroom wall where a soap dish was previously installed - it doesn’t bother you, so you don’t note it and that item will be for your account (upon vacating) if the inspector did not notice the holes in the wall and you didn’t bother to report it.  Another example: there is a light in the room, but the cover is missing. It doesn’t bother you, so you don’t note it and that item will be for your account (upon vacating) if the inspector did not notice the holes in the wall and you didn’t bother to report it.

By not submitting your own fault list, can you be held liable for faults that were not caused by you or your family.  Providing photo evidence, although it is not a requirement by law, will be of great help to you and the agency managing the property.

Something important to remember about the inspection conducted is that it is conducted to show faults/damage to the property at your occupation time.  This is not a snag list, meaning that only items for the previous tenants account, plumbing, electrical & items approved by the owner will be repaired.  Not all the items on the inspection list will necessarily be fixed, as the purpose of the opening inspection is to note the condition of property on occupation for comparison when you vacate the premises.  The owner is obligated to carry out such repairs and maintenance that are not merely an inconvenience, but that make it impossible for the use and enjoyment of your home.