Repairing a hole in the wall in a rental property is a common situation. It can happen when a tenant moves out, and there’s damage to the interior walls or ceiling. Or perhaps you’re a tenant, and something has damaged the wall, and you need to fix it before the next house inspection. In either case, who’s responsible for fixing damaged walls or ceilings in a rental property?
The answer depends on what caused the damage. If someone intentionally made a hole in the wall, like punching it or during a rowdy party, or if a car accidentally hit the garage wall, in these situations, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to repair the walls or ceilings because the damage was preventable and caused by the tenant. However, if the wall damage occurred during a storm and the tenants took reasonable care of the property, then it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to make the repairs.
The property manager’s role here is to mediate between the tenant and the homeowner and coordinate any necessary repair work promptly.
How to Fix a Wall Hole in a Rental Property
If you’re a tenant and you or someone you’re responsible for has made a hole in the wall of your rental property, you’ll need to handle the repairs without expecting the landlord to cover the cost. The best approach is to first inform the property manager with photos and a description of the incident. Then, you’ll need to arrange for a tradesperson to fix the damage, either by hiring your own or using the tradespeople recommended by the rental agency.
The payment for these repairs will come out of your own pocket. If you try to hide the damage and fix it yourself, it might be sufficient for small holes. However, be aware that when you move out, an inspection may reveal the damage, and the repair cost could be deducted from your rental bond.
What are the Costs of Repairing Wall Holes in a Rental Property in Australia?
Fixing a hole in the wall in a rental property may not always be the tenant’s responsibility, as small dents or holes are often considered normal wear and tear. However, in cases of more extensive damage, the property manager and landlords can use a tenant’s deposit to cover the repair costs.
The cost of repairing a wall hole in a rental property can vary depending on the extent of the damage. Once the incident and damage have been reported to the property manager, a decision is made regarding who should pay for the repairs. This is where the property manager’s role as a mediator becomes crucial. In most cases, it’s clear who is responsible for the costs. However, when there’s a dispute, the property manager must handle the tenant-homeowner relationship professionally through clear and timely communication.
The cost of repairing a wall hole in a rental property can range from $50 for small repairs the size of a 50-cent coin to $1,000 or more for damage that requires removing sections of the wall and hiring plasterboard installation services. Plus, according to the Government of South Australia, If the landlord offers to repair the damage and the tenant agrees, the landlord can charge the tenant $30.09 an hour for time spent to repair, plus the cost of any materials purchased.
The final cost depends on the hole’s size, its location, and whether the homeowner opts to hire a professional plasterer or a handyman for the repair.
Understanding Repairs and Responsibilities in Rental Properties
Insurance Coverage for Extensive Damage
When damage to your rental property is significant and results from a storm, insurance might cover the costs. In this case, the homeowner will need to handle the insurance claim process. As a tenant, if you’re dealing with damage that’s out of your control, like a sagging ceiling due to a leaking roof, your primary responsibility is to promptly report the damage to the property manager to prevent further harm. Additionally, you should cooperate with the tradespeople who come in to make the necessary repairs.
These repair costs are typically covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. This often means the homeowner will receive a cash payout and can coordinate the repair work through the property manager. As a tenant, it’s beneficial to document the damage with photos, videos, and written descriptions. Doing so not only protects your interests but also assists in expediting the insurance claim process, which, in turn, speeds up the repair work.
When Homeowners Pay for Repairs
If the damage is a result of normal wear and tear, like a hole in the wall caused by a doorknob, the homeowner is responsible for covering the repair costs. Similarly, when a tenant has moved out, and the exit report reveals damage beyond their control, such as water damage from a leaking roof, it’s the homeowner’s duty to fund the repairs.
As a tenant, you have the right to reside in a safe living environment. If damage is caused by a storm or due to someone else’s negligence, such as an unrelated party crashing into your garage, wall, or fence, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to finance the necessary repairs to restore the property to a reasonable and safe condition. If you feel that your property manager isn’t being proactive in handling repairs or communication, you can escalate the matter to the rental management manager, their superior.
Ensure you have everything in writing and maintain thorough documentation, including dates and the situation. This documentation will be crucial if the issue escalates and involves the rental agency. Ultimately, normal wear and tear are expected in rental properties and should be covered by the homeowner. However, when damage results from neglect or is the tenant’s responsibility, the repair costs will be deducted from the rental bond. The property manager plays a vital role in mediating and coordinating repairs.