Who’s responsible for air-conditioners and dishwashers?

Winter 2017

Everyone involved in the residential rental process should be aware of whose responsibility it is if appliances which are provided as part of a rental property break down.

As much as they make life a bit more comfortable, non-essential appliances such as air conditioners and dishwashers can fail, particularly if they are old and/or not serviced/cleaned on a regular basis.

The condition of these appliances should be noted prior to signing a tenancy agreement and details included on the Entry condition report (Form 1a).

It is the property manager/owner’s responsibility to keep them in good working order, however tenants also have a role in maintaining the appliances and not doing anything which affects their operation.

In the example of a dishwasher it may be a case of using a rinse aid, or cleaning the filters in the air-conditioner.

Both of these appliances are known to malfunction for want of proper maintenance.

However if the appliances break down due to age or an unforseen fault, it would be considered fair wear and tear, which then becomes the property manager/owner’s responsibility.

Communication is a good first recourse if an appliance breaks down.

The tenant should notify the property manager/owner of any maintenance and repairs needed, preferably in writing.

If a dispute arises the RTA can conciliate between the parties, otherwise the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can make an order.

Some appliances, such as those used for cooking or heating, are considered essential and are treated as emergency repairs. If the property manager/owner does not take action to repair the essential appliances within a reasonable time or the repairer named on the tenancy agreement cannot be contacted, tenants can organise for the emergency repairs and spend up to the equivalent of 2 weeks’ rent.

For more information call the RTA direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is the Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. They provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigation, and policy and education services.