Several amendments have been made to various sections of the RTRA Act, relating to Emergency Repairs:
Section 214 of the RTRA Act Meaning of emergency repairs for residential tenancy agreements has been amended to define emergency repairs to also mean works needed for the premises or inclusions to comply with the prescribed minimum housing standards.
Section 216 Nominated repairer for emergency repairs has been amended to ensure tenants know who to contact, and how to contact them, if emergency repairs are required.
Under amendments to subsection 216(1) and (2), the lessor must nominate a person (or persons) as a nominated repairer to act for the lessor in arranging for emergency repairs, or to make the emergency repairs, of the premises or inclusions.
Subsection 216(2) requires the nominated repairer details to be included in the residential tenancy agreement or a written notice given by the lessor to tenant.
Under subsection 216(3) the residential tenancy agreement or written notice must state the name and telephone number of the nominated repairer, and whether the nominated repairer is the tenant’s first point of contact for notifying the need for emergency repairs.
Under subsection 216(4) the lessor must give the tenant a written notice of any change to the nominated repairer, including changes to contact details.
Subsection 216(5) clarifies that this section does not apply if the lessor gave the tenant the lessor’s contact information, including a telephone number and, under the residential tenancy agreement, the lessor is to arrange for emergency repairs to be made to the premises or inclusions.
Section 219 Costs of emergency repairs arranged by tenant to increase the amount the tenant can authorise has been amended.
Subsection 219(1) is amended to establish the maximum amount that may be incurred for emergency repairs arranged by the tenant where the emergency repairs process has been followed is equal to the amount of 4 weeks rent payable under the residential tenancy agreement. This is an increase equivalent to an extra 2 weeks.
A new section 219A Lessor’s agent may arrange for emergency repairs to be made introduces a new power for agents of lessors to arrange emergency repairs to be carried out under residential tenancy agreements.
Under subsection 219A(1), the lessor’s agent may arrange for a suitably qualified person to carry out emergency repairs to the premises or inclusions if the repairs are not likely to cost more than the emergency repair limit for the residential tenancy agreement.
The emergency repair limit for a residential tenancy agreement is an amount equal to 4 weeks rent payable under the agreement.
Subsection 219A(2) provides that if the lessor’s agent acts as allowed under the section and pays for the emergency repairs, the agent may make deductions from rent payments received from the tenant, up to the cost of the repairs, before disbursement of the payments to the lessor’s account.
The lessor’s agent must inform the lessor of the action as soon as practicable after taking it.
Key information provided in this blog post has been extracted from the Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021, the Explanatory Notes and the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website, and is provided as an educational resource only.