TenantsTips / Australia / Storm Damage Advice for Tenants

Storm Damage Advice for Tenants

In the event of a storm that seriously damages your rental property you should vacate the property and follow the instruction of the emergency services.

Immediate action in the event of a storm:

In the event of a storm that damages your rental property you should vacate the property and follow the instruction of the emergency services. It may be necessary to evacuate the property until further notice if the local authorities deem the property unsafe or unfit for purpose.

What if the property is safe and I want to stay?

If you wish to remain at the property and it is safe to do so you should ensure that you do the following:

 

  • Take action to reduce risk of further damage.
  • Notify the landlord of the damage to the property.
  • Inform the landlord of your intention to remain at the property.
  • Inform the landlord of all necessary repairs. You should put this in writing.
  • Ask the landlord to inspect the property and provide you with a list of work to be carried out.
  • Record any decisions or correspondence in writing.

 

If you want to leave call Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service for free advice.

If you want to leave the property you must provide the landlord with a termination notice for immediate possession of the premises. You must serve the notice on the landlord, return the keys and vacate the property. You can seek advice from your local Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service on how to go about doing this.

Before serving a notice you should consider whether your notice is justified. If the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) find that your notice was not justified they can order you to pay your landlord compensation.

The landlord wants you to leave:

In the event of a storm that damages your rental property your landlord may decide to serve you with a termination notice for immediate possession of the premises. If you fail to vacate the premises the landlord can make an application to the NCAT for an order to terminate the tenancy. NCAT will decide if the premises are uninhabitable and the termination is justified.

Uninhabitable premises:

All or part of a property may be classified as uninhabitable. If any part of the property is uninhabitable a termination notice may be given by either the tenant or landlord.

Repairs:

The landlord is responsible for the maintenance of a property. Any damage caused as a result of a storm which makes a property unsafe or insecure is classed as an urgent repair. Urgent repairs should be completed as soon as possible. Urgent repairs may require that the landlord has immediate access to the property.

If your landlord does not make urgent repairs in a timely manner you can apply to the NCAT for orders that the repairs be completed. You must submit an application to the NCAT within 3 months of the date the damage was caused.

Applying to NCAT for orders:

You can apply to NCAT for any of these orders:

 

  • That the landlord complete requested repairs.
  • That the rent is reduced from the date you informed the landlord about urgent repairs until the repairs are completed.
  • That the landlord compensates you for any loss suffered as a result of their failure to complete repairs.

 

If you submit an application for an order for repairs you must have evidence to prove that you informed the landlord about the need for repairs and the landlord failed to act upon this information.

Applying for a rent reduction:

Applications to the NCAT can be made for an order that the rent is excessive due to damage. For example, if a room in a house is no longer useable due to damage caused by a storm or a flood and the landlord refuses to complete the required repairs, you can apply for an order that the rent is too high given the circumstances.

Applying for compensation in the event of storm damage

Applications to the NCAT can be made ordering the landlord to compensate you for loss such as damage to your personal belongings. You can also apply for compensation on the grounds that you have suffered distress as a result of the situation. In either case you will be required to provide proof in support of your application.



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