Urgent Repairs for tenants

When something goes wrong out of hours and you can’t contact your Fisk and Nagle what can you do? If the repairs are deemed to be urgent, can you get them fixed right away and be reimbursed for the costs? How much are you allowed to spend and what repairs are deemed to be urgent?

The law distinguishes between urgent (emergency) repairs and those which are not so urgent. According to the NSW Fair Trading website urgent repairs are:

  • a burst water service or a serious water service leak
  • a blocked or broken toilet
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
  • a failure or breakdown of the hot water service
  • a failure or breakdown of the stove or oven
  • a failure or breakdown of a heater or air-conditioner
  • a fault or damage which makes the premises unsafe or insecure.

If urgent repairs are needed you should notify Fisk & Nagle immediately. We must arrange for the repairs to be done as soon as possible. If you cannot reach them, check your tenancy agreement for the details of a nominated tradesperson to contact.

If urgent repairs are not done within a reasonable time you may be able to arrange for the work to be done and be reimbursed by the landlord (but only up to $1000). However, you must be able to show that:

  • the need for the urgent repair was not your fault
  • you contacted the landlord or agent about the problem or made a reasonable attempt to do so
  • you gave the landlord or agent a reasonable opportunity to get the repairs done
  • the repairs were carried out by a licensed tradesperson (if appropriate)

There are rules around how you should be reimbursed for urgent repairs.  Make sure you’re aware of these before you push the “go” button.  If you’re not reimbursed you can speak with Fair Trading’s free tenancy complaint service for advice or make application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

If urgent repairs are likely to cost more than $1000 or you cannot afford to pay, you can apply to the Tribunal for an urgent hearing order for the landlord to get the repairs done.

You should never stop paying the rent for any reason, including when a landlord is not doing repairs. Withholding rent will put you in breach of your agreement places you at risk of having your tenancy terminated.