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Damage to your rented premises – what to do?


Many travel companies occupy rented office space or retail shop space. Recently there has been a spike in claims for damage to tenants’ property as a result of storm damage from leaking roofs and burst pipes.

Whilst most good insurance policies will cover resultant property damage to your contents, there can be a problem when the same issue occurs repeatedly as a result of your landlord not addressing the problem. Your landlord has a responsibility to provide regular maintenance to the property so it is fit for purpose. However, as a tenant, you need to know what kind of maintenance your landlord is expected to look after and how to make sure your business premises doesn’t fall into disrepair whilst you are occupying the premises.

Damage to your rented premises – what to do?

Landlords need to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair. It is also very important that they comply with building, health and safety laws.

As a tenant, you have a duty to inform the landlord and/or the property manager if there is a problem – if you fail to do so, it could mean that any repeat of losses will not be covered.

If you have advised the landlord of the problems, it is then their responsibility to attend to repairs of the premises. The sooner you make the Landlord and Property Manager aware the better. Most good Property Managers will want to have the issue rectified quickly.

If as a tenant you do not report damage and as a result additional loss occurs, failure to report can be considered negligence. At the very least, if you do not report issues, you could end up at a tribunal being ordered to pay the landlord’s excess, or worse still you end up with a large uninsured loss.

Remember, it is crucial to put everything in writing so you have a record around the maintenance issue. If it is urgent, phone calls can be more suitable, but for your protection, follow up with an email confirming the details of the conversation. It is also prudent to take pictures of damage for both the Landlord’s Insurer and potentially your Insurer.

Some examples of urgent repairs that a landlord needs to fix as soon as possible include:

  • A burst water service or a serious water service leak
  • A blocked or broken toilet
  • A serious roof leak
  • A gas leak
  • A dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious storm or fire damage
  • A failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premise
  • A fault or damage which makes the premises unsafe or insecure.

If you believe that this issue is relevant to your business, please feel free to contact Rebecca Fleming, Account Manager of our Travel Industry Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or rfleming@gowates.com.au to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers advises that persons should not act on the material contained in this article as the items are of a general nature only and may be misinterpreted. We, therefore, recommend that advice be sought before acting in these areas.