We’ve all heard that saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

But what if it is broke? Do you have to fix it?

When it comes to your obligations as a lessor, the answer is yes.  Under section 185 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (RTRA) Act 2008 the lessor is obliged to maintain the premises and inclusions in good repair.  This sounds obvious and fair enough, but where it can present a problem is where you have some ageing inclusions in a property that you really don’t want to have to repair or replace.  Common examples are old box style air conditioning units, garden watering systems, white goods that are included in a lease such as washing machines or dryers.

We are frequently asked if we can put a special condition into a lease that states if the item breaks during the tenancy then it won’t be replaced.  This would, however, be an example of contracting outside of the Act and a breach of the legislation.

So what do you do if you have something old at the property that you don’t want to maintain.  The answer is to remove it or be prepared to maintain or replace it.

This may not be a simple exercise and could be costly so it would be worth looking into the costs of doing so first.  For example, if you removed an old box style air conditioning unit then you’d need to patch the external and internal walls.  Do able, but still an expense.  You might want to just consider upgrading the item to a newer one, which could end up being a similar cost and still give tenants the benefits of the item.