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Storey & Gough issues its clients with a regular newsletter which highlights developments which have taken place in the firm. Our latest issue can be viewed below:
September 2015

Fixtures and rental properties: What changes can a tenant make? If any.

One aspect of renting property is that tenants may not always be completely satisfied with some of the fixtures that may form part of the property. For the most part, tenants generally have no recourse in changing aspects of the property of which they may be unhappy with, but with that being said, there may be occasions where changes to fixtures may be required: So what are the laws in relation to amending fixtures in the rental property? Read on to find out.

What happens if a tenant wishes to add a fixture?

If a tenant wishes to add a fixture or make any changes to the rental property, they are required to seek written permission from the landlord prior to adding the fixture, or they must ensure that the terms of the rental agreement makes an allowance for the fixture to be added. Broadly speaking, the landlord may not unreasonably withhold permission of adding a fixture or making a renovation that is minor in scope. For such alterations, it may be the tenant who is responsible for the costs of making such improvements, unless the landlord agrees to cover the costs themselves.

What happens if a tenant wishes to remove a fixture?

For fixtures where the relevant Act allows for installation, or in conformity with the tenancy agreement, the tenant may remove such fixtures before vacant possession. If any damage occurs in the removal of the fixture, the tenant must repair the damage or pay compensation to the landlord for any reasonable expenses incurred when repairing the damage.

Tenants may not remove any fixtures without the approval of the landlord if the fixture was installed by the landlord, or the tenant benefitted from a fixture that was equivalent in cost of the fixture.

What if a fixture is the cause of a dispute between the tenant and landlord?

If a relevant Act allows a tenant to install, alter, or renovate a fixture, and the landlord does not allow the action, then the tenant may apply to the relevant administrative tribunal body for an order. However, the landlord may also make an application to the relevant body as well, prohibiting a tenant from removing a fixture, or to seek compensation for the cost of fixing the work, irrespective if the work was done with or without the consent of the landlord.