Wild Weather Can Cause Damage at your Rental Property

Find out what to do if your rental needs repairs after extreme weather or a natural disaster.

Landlords are responsible for maintaining the property in a reasonable condition. This includes fixing any damage caused by severe weather or a natural disaster.

If the rental is damaged by flooding, the landlord is responsible for drying the property if it has water damage and paying for costs to repair the damage. This might also include paying the tenants for electricity charges to run a fan, dehumidifier, or heater to dry the property.

For Landlords (and property managers):

• Contact the tenants to check everyone is safe and discuss any damage.
• Discuss with the tenant what safe and practical measures could be done to prevent any further damage, or to secure the property until the repairs can be done.
• Ask a professional when they can make the repairs and if it’s safe for the tenants to stay in the property while it's being fixed. Let the tenants know how long the repairs are expected to take, and make sure you give the correct notice to enter the property.
• Have a good knowledge of your insurance policy and what it covers. Talk to your insurance company about making claims.

For Tenants:

• Tenants should speak to their landlord as soon as they can to let them know about any damage or need for repairs. If they don’t tell their landlord about damage within a reasonable time, they may be liable.
• If it’s safe and practical to do, there may be things they can do to help prevent further damage. For example, covering a broken window to keep rain out of the house until repairs can be done.
• If a tenant has tried talking to their landlord about the damage and they don’t do the necessary repairs, they can send their landlord a notice to remedy. This notice tells the landlord what they believe they have done to breach their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, what the tenant would like them to do to fix it, and a reasonable timeframe for them to do it (normally a minimum of 14 days).

This article is featured in Property Management Focus Issue 6, 2022.Back