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Property Management

What is an Urgent Repair?

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 distinguishes between urgent and non-urgent repairs.

All repairs are the landlord’s or owner’s responsibility, but if the tenant or resident caused the damage, the landlord or owner can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.

  • burst water service
  • blocked or broken toilet system
  • serious roof leak
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by a landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
  • failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
  • an appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
  • a serious fault in a lift or staircase.


If urgent repairs are needed the tenant should first take reasonable steps to arrange for the landlords or agent to fix the problem.

If the tenant is not able to get the landlord or agent to carry out urgent repairs, the tenant can have them done and the landlord or agent will have to pay the tenant the reasonable cost of repairs or $1800 whichever is less. Receipts must be kept to prove how much was spent, If a water appliance, fitting or fixture needs to be replaced quickly  as part of an urgent repair arranged by the tenant, the tenant can have an ‘A’ rated item put in.

The tenant has to give the landlord or agent notice of what repairs were done and what they cost. Look at the section on notice under the heading “Urgent Repairs scenarios (scenario 2) on page 17 of the Renting an Home guide. The landlord or agent has 14 days from receiving the notice to pay the tenant for the urgent repairs.


–       Urgent repairs are going to cost more than $1800 or

–       The tenant cannot afford to pay for them

–       The landlord threatens not to pay if the tenant has the repairs done

In these cases, the tenant can apply to the tribunal, which must hear the application within two (2) business days after receipt. The tribunal can order the landlord to do the repairs.