Uninhabitable tenancy complaints on the rise - Consumer Protection has recently received a high number of complaints regarding unacceptable living conditions in rental properties, including:
Termination of a tenancy agreement when property is uninhabitable - Under the Health Act 1911, local government may declare a house, or specified area/s, unfit for human habitation due to:
Under the Residential Tenancy Act 1987 (RTA), one of the reasons a lessor or tenant can terminate a tenancy agreement is when the whole or part of the premises is rendered uninhabitable due to damage or is declared as such by the local government or any other authority.
Responsibility for safe tenancy - If you raise concerns with your lessor regarding the living conditions and maintenance standards of a property, they must follow up by inspecting the premises, arranging for any necessary repairs and ensuring the property is compliant with local building, health and safety laws. Property managers have an obligation to inform the lessor of the issues and assist them to understand their obligations in relation to the tenant and the property.As the tenant, you must keep the property reasonably clean and at the end of a lease agreement you are expected to hand it back in a similar condition to how it was at the start of the agreement, taking into account normal use (fair wear and tear).
Emergency Situations - If the rental property is severely damaged due to an accident or other major event (storm, damaged roof etc.) and becomes unfit to live in, you can approach your lessor and try to reach an agreement to end the lease, or give your lessor a notice of intention to immediately end the lease. Your lessor is not required to help you find alternative accommodation or pay for relocation costs in the event you end your lease due to an accident or major event.
Best Practice Tips.
A final note - You have the right to live in a property that does not pose any health and safety risks to you or your family/visitors. If an issue arises you should not be penalised for reporting an issue, requesting a repair, or excising your rights under the legislation.
This information was shared by the Government of Western Australia - Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Consumer Protection: October2019