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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:
July 2015

Some handy tips for tenants in relation to condition reports

A large proportion of the Australian population are renters, and as a consequence, many people will be subject to the various tenancy laws across the country.  One of the important aspects of leasing a residential property is the condition report, and there are a number of essential elements that readers should keep in mind in relation to such reports.

The law requires that either a landlord or real estate agent must provide a condition report outlining the state and repair of the rental property, and also details of fixtures, fittings and appliances.

Tenants should ensure that the condition report is scrutinised closely before returning the report to the landlord or agent within seven days. It’s also important that both the tenant and the landlord possess a copy of the report as well.

What happens if a tenant disagrees with the condition report?

It’s not unusual for a tenant to disagree with what the landlord may have written in a condition report, and in such a scenario, the tenant should make note of their disagreement. If it’s possible, taking photographic evidence may be a good idea and can be used as evidence for the tenant. It may also be handy to have the photo dated and signed by a witness in the event of a dispute. Additionally, a tenant can also apply to the relevant body to have the condition report amended.

If a landlord fails to provide a condition report, then a tenant may be able to produce their own report and have it signed by a witness. A copy should also be provided to the landlord or real estate agent.

Condition reports and Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has been incorporated into the relevant State or Territory Fair Trading Act, and has an effect on residential tenancy agreements, in particular laws pertaining to any landlord or real estate agent offering a service in the course of trade or commerce. Landlords or real estate agents who misrepresents the property, or completes a condition report with little or no regard to its accuracy, may be in breach of the clause 18, “misleading or deceptive conduct” provisions. In addition to the “misleading or deceptive conduct” provisions, a landlord or real estate agent who offers a service in the course of trade or commerce rents a property that is not fit to live in, may be in breach of clause 6 of the ACL guaranteeing, “fitness for a particular purpose.”