A pair of Sydney tenants have been awarded thousands of dollars after taking their landlord to court over their rental property’s state of disrepair.
The tenants rented the three-bedroom Greenacre townhouse, in Sydney’s west, from January 2019 to July 2023.
In the months before they vacated the property, the tenants had been paying $550 a week for rent.
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They applied to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal with claims their rent was excessive in the final year they were renting due to the fact their oven was not working, the blinds and cabana on the property were in a state of disrepair and there was mould in the house.
During an inspection in July 2022, the tenants complained that the oven was not heating as it should and they requested it be repaired.
The oven was not replaced until March 2023 following another inspection.
They also complained some of the blinds in the house were not working and the cabana was worn out.
The tenants also submitted they had taken note of water damage and mould inside the house since the start of the lease.
In July 2021, the tenants advised the landlord’s agent there was mould on the ceiling above the shower and that a built-in robe had experienced water damage.
On March 2022, the tenants contacted the agent again, stating after heavy rain, water had leaked into the dining room from the corner of the ceiling causing damage to the wall, ceiling and building causing mould, wet carpet and a “terrible” smell.
Senior member of the tribunal Philip French determined the rent for the year from July 2022 to July 2023 was excessive and that “the tenants’ use of the premises was substantially reduced by its state of disrepair”.
“I am satisfied that the withdrawal of the oven had a significant impact on the tenants,” French said.
“The availability of an oven to prepare food is essential in any home.
“I am satisfied that the reduction in the function of the blinds had moderate impact on the tenants.
“The ability to easily open and close blinds to regulate light and provide privacy is an important feature of any home.
“I am satisfied that the water ingress and mould had a very significant impact on the tenants.
“Water penetration impacted on the tenants’ comfort and use of rooms, the mould was unsightly, malodorous, and unsafe, and the water damaged carpet emitted a ‘stench’.”
As the tenants paid all the rent they owed and they no longer live in the property, the landlord was ordered to repay the tenants a total of $8421.
“A landlord has an obligation to maintain premises in a reasonable state of repair,” French said in his decision.
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