What to do when an Owner and Tenant disagree on a repair?
When you don’t know why something is broken, it is not uncommon for either party to assume a reason and blame the other person. The Tribunal has had to decide many cases where the actual cause of an issue is disputed.
From our experience, this is how they decide.
If the cause is unknown, it’s usually treated as Fair Wear and Tear.
If a tradesperson says that it is misused, the Tribunal expects evidence in the tradesman’s report to show how they decided that. Simply a tradesperson is saying it is not enough.
If an owner uses logic to argue that the tenant did it, the alternatives must be illogical. An example would be a chipped bath. How else could it happen without something being dropped on it?
Suppose the tenant is shown to have caused the problem through inappropriate usage. An example would be replacing dead grass because the tenant was parking the car on the grass or not driving the car on the driveway.
If the tenant’s equipment or use of the property causes the problem, it’s the tenant’s responsibility. An electrician goes out to resolve why the power won’t come on and finds that when he unplugs the fridge, the power comes on, but it shorts as soon as he turns the fridge on.
If a tenant fails to care for or maintain something that they are required to, for example, not cleaning a stovetop and then requiring professional cleaning to bring it back to condition or failing to weed a garden and water and plants dying and needing to be replaced is another.