Replacement Like for Like

When an item in a property is damaged or stops working and needs to be replaced, the item should be replaced with another item that is the same, or as close to the item, as possible.

In Tenancy Tribunal hearings, when a tenant damages an item, the Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator will state that the landlord should be returned to the position they would have been in, had the tenant not breached their obligations; and should not be better or worse off.

This is the same as when a landlord must repair or replace an item; and the tenant should not be worse off. Replacing an item with a better one for a tenant is, however okay, mostly appreciated and often advisable given the age and depreciated value of an item. No tenant is going to argue with being provided a better fridge than they had before!

An example could be when a fridge in a rental property stops working. Because the property was rented with a fridge, the landlord must either repair or replace it. If they replace the fridge, they could replace it with a secondhand fridge, providing the replacement fridge isn’t worse than the old fridge. The tenant should not be in a worse off position than before the original fridge stopped working.

If a stove requires replacement, which previously had an oven with four elements, a landlord could not reasonably replace it with a benchtop oven. In fact, a benchtop oven may not meet the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 that requires each kitchen or kitchenette to include ‘adequate’ means of preparing and cooking food, by both boiling and baking.

Harcourts advises landlords to check the Residential Rental Property Chattels - depreciation list for the estimated useful life of an item when deciding whether to repair or replace an item. In the case of a fridge and stove, the estimated useful life of both is 8 years.

For more information on the service we provide and the costs involved, contact our Business Development Manager Janet Pitman today.