Ethics!! Safety!!

Q: I have a rental property and we have a good tenant. The ceiling of the property collapsed without warning, damaging some of the tenant’s valuable items. The tenant believes that I should reimburse his cost. Am I liable for his loss?


A: As a landlord, you should have the property well maintained and take the necessary steps to avoid this kind of situation. It may well be poor workmanship by the builder. It is the landlord’s duty to have an adequate insurance cover in place, to recover from this kind of situation. From the tenant’s point of view, it is not fair for them to lose valuable items. In my opinion, you should look at replacing their damaged items. It is unethical to expect the tenant to bear this cost. We have to remember; the tenant is already disadvantaged by this event. They had to live through the trauma of the collapsing ceiling while they were in the property. You should be thankful that they were not hurt. I think you should have a meeting with the tenant and come to some sort of agreement to help them to recover the loss.


Q: I have sold my current home and purchased another property to move in to. I have to use the funds from the sale of my current home to pay for the one I have purchased. Both property settlements are on the same day. I have requested access from the new homeowner/agent to move some of my furniture into the newly purchased home one week prior to the settlement. This is to make it easy for us on the day, as I have so much furniture to move. Eventually, I have got permission to access the garage not the interior of the home. I don’t understand why they cannot allow us to put furniture in.


A: As you know, you do not own the property until you pay the full purchased price. You do not have any rights or ownership Just because you have paid a decent amount of a deposit. The ownership is with the current vendor until the settlement date. You have every right to the property from the settlement date after settling the due funds to the vendor.

There may be unforeseen consequences to the vendor if they allow you access to the property prior to the settlement. Such as, who would be responsible for any damages to the property during this period? The only legal way of obtaining access to the property before the settlement is with a Licence Agreement and you need the vendor’s consent for this.


Sisira Malawaraarachchi

Founder/Director/OIEC/Principal Agent

Sisira Real Estate sisira@sisirarealestate.com.au

(License Number – 070821L)

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