Tenant repair costs
Last published 17 Aug 2018
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, FACS Housing is responsible for maintaining your home in a liveable condition. This means that we maintain and repair your home for damage caused by normal fair, wear and tear.
Tenant responsibility for damage
Under the Residential Tenancy Agreement which you have signed, you agree to take good care of your home and report any damage to FACS Housing as soon as possible. You will be held responsible for any property damage caused by you, your household members or which a guest or a pet has caused. When such damage occurs, FACS Housing can require that you pay for the cost of repairs.
There are occasions you are not held responsible, for example when the damage is caused by criminals (e.g. burglars or vandals) or in the normal course of fair wear and tear.
Types of damage you can be charged for
FACS Housing is likely to ask you to pay for repair costs to cover damage such as:
- broken windows
- punctured internal cupboard doors and walls
- carpet burns
- broken clotheslines and hoists
- broken locks
- damaged internal or external doors, fly screens and security doors
- damaged toilets and basins
- blocked sewers due to sanitary pads, nappies, toys or other items flushed down the toilet
- fire damage caused by deliberately, or carelessly lit fires or neglect by the tenant or household member
FACS Housing will also ask you to pay for the cost of replacing lost keys or removing furniture and rubbish or vehicles abandoned at the end of your tenancy.
How does FACS Housing decide who to charge for damage?
When deciding who is responsible for damage and repair costs, FACS Housing takes into account the type of damage and the information you give us about who was responsible when reporting the damage.
We will also consider individual circumstances, such as:
- the condition of the property at the beginning of your tenancy as listed in the Property Condition Report
- whether repairs are needed due to fair wear and tear
- ill health or external factors (e.g. criminal activity, break and enter, vandalism) or domestic and family violence.
What happens if FACS Housing asks me to pay for repairs?
If we hold you responsible for tenant repair costs, we will write a Tenant Damage Charges Notification letter to you explaining the repairs to be carried out and the amount you will be charged. The most that can be charged is the actual cost of the repairs. FACS Housing will also consider the age of the item damaged and whether its value has gone down over time (depreciation) before working out the final cost.
In the letter, we will ask you to accept the tenant repair costs by signing and returning the Dispute Liability form to your local FACS Housing office. You should return the signed form back to us within 10 days (plus 4 days postage time).
What if I disagree about my responsibility or the repair costs?
If you believe that you were not responsible for the damage or disagree with the repair costs, you must advise FACS Housing in writing when you receive your Tenant Damage Charges Notification Letter with the Dispute Liability Form for you to complete, stating the reasons why you disagree with the repair costs, and attaching any evidence to support these reasons. This form is to be returned to your local office within 10 days (plus 4 days postage time).
If FACS Housing does not receive your returned Dispute Liability Form within 10 days (plus 4 days postage time), we will assume you are not disputing responsibility for the damage and/or the cost of the repairs.
We then review our earlier decision. If the review finds you are responsible and confirms the amount of the tenant repair costs, we will write to you and apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or local court to recover the repair costs.
You will have an opportunity to tell the Tribunal or local court why you disagree about your responsibility and/or the tenant repair costs. The Tribunal or local court will decide if you have to pay and if so how much.
Where can I get more advice?
You can contact NSW Fair Trading for independent information and advice on tenant repair costs.
NSW Fair Trading
13 32 20
You can also contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service with questions.
Aboriginal tenants can find further information on their rights through the NSW Aboriginal Tenants Advice Service.