If you’ve been injured in your rental property through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to seek compensation from your landlord. Landlords have a duty of care to provide a safe property for tenants to live in, and to take reasonable care to avoid the risk of harm to tenants and guests.
Yet property law can be a complex area, and sometimes real estate agents or body corporates side with landlords. In this post, we address your rights as a renter and how Shine Lawyers can help when things go wrong.
Duty of Care
Landlord responsibilities include arranging for regular building inspections and hiring qualified tradespeople to perform repairs immediately when necessary. An article published on Domain specified that periodic inspections should be carried out every three months: https://www.domain.com.au/group/agent-news/the-importance-of-periodic-inspections-and-when-to-ditch-a-landlord.
A landlord’s duty of care does not require them to make the house as safe as it possibly can be or to replace a non-defective item just because a safer version is available. Landlords also cannot be held accountable for dangers that they knew nothing about.
What are my rights?
Both landlords and renters have legal rights and responsibilities. If your landlord neglects to carry out repairs or maintain the property, you should first try to work out a solution with them personally. If that doesn’t work, you can get a Notice to Remedy Breach form from the Residential Tenancies Authority in Queensland, or a similar organisation in your state such as Consumer Affairs Victoria. You can find more information about giving your landlord a Breach of Duty notice in Victoria here: https://www.tuv.org.au/advice/breach-of-duty-notices.
If your landlord fails to comply with your Breach of Duty notice you can apply for compensation.
Note that you cannot claim compensation for pain and suffering, physical injury or death through an organisation like the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). These claims must be made in the courts.
How do I know if I have a claim?
Perhaps the landlord failed to conduct regular inspections that would have identified the danger that caused your injury? Perhaps the landlord was warned of the danger but failed to act within a reasonable timeframe? In either of these situations, you may have a claim.
If you need to defend yourself against a compensation claim by your landlord or have been given a notice to vacate, we can assist you with legal advice regarding that situation too.
How do I make a claim?
The best way to start your claim is to contact us for advice on your legal rights.