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Cleaning of pathways/walkways etc

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  • Cleaning of pathways/walkways etc

    I currently have a builder (who I pay directly and know directly from the past) working on some maintenance issues for me at two of my properties.

    The managing Agency (unbeknown to me) approached him to provide them with a quote to clean the exterior of the tenanted houses, incl. pathways, stairways etc etc.
    They have since forwarded the quote to me without comment or reason. I do not know if the tenants have requested this, or its the agents initiative.

    I on the other hand, whilst not worried about the roofs etc because I know apart from dirt they are absolutely fine and can wait, am concerned as to how much I should be responsible for as a health and safety issue.

    both houses have been tenanted for well over a year by the occupiers. In the past, I have had another house waterblasted during vacancy period.

    However my question is; how much cleanliness is the tenant responsible for when occupying a house? Is it the landlord's responsibility to clean external pathways to prevent (perhaps) a slip or fall, or would this come under some sort of tenancy expectation?

    Is this detailed somewhere so I know what my responsiblities as a Landlord are. As I said before, I don't know if the agent thought they would get the builder to quote just because he is there, or because its a health and safety requirement that I am responsible for...

    Any thoughts/experience appreciated, but I would rather not ask why of the agents at this stage.... would rather be more informed by contributors here initially please.

  • #2
    I don't understand what the actual problem is?

    Were you not happy that the paths were cleaned?
    Is it that you weren't consulted first?
    Are you not happy with the price?

    With stuff like this why argue the point?
    You own the property, and any general upkeep is part and parcel of owning a property.

    In a case like this I wouldn't be worring about about who's to blame, who's responsibility etc,.....just do it!


    • #3
      Perhaps in trying to explain, I have given too much information in getting to the point of the question...

      No it hasn't been dealt with. No I am unconcerned as to how accurate the quote is. No one is being "blamed"... but I do reserve the right to have a better understanding....

      My question being, what matters of cleanliness that may lead to safety issues (ie the slippery surface of a stairway) are tenants responsible for in a property when they rent it?

      Is there a 'guidline/book/information" available stating whatever line has been drawn in the sand between landlord and tenant responsiblity assists both parties with their responsibilities and rights over such issues?

      I would think something would have to be written down or more appearances at a tribunal hearing would have resulted by now...

      I think the problem is my local knowledge is lacking for the "correct" name of the ruling I am looking for....


      • #4
        Perhaps an example would help.

        For instance, one half of us has a roofing business.

        From time to time agents call and ask for the business to inspect leaks etc. Mostly these leaks are caused by blocked spouting etc.
        In Aust. its the tenants responsiblity to keep clear the spouting, not the owners.

        That is the sort of info I am interested in finding out about but for NZ practice.... in relation to slippery pathways/stairs.

        (it would be interesting, here I go getting long winded again, if the tenant for instance dropped a lolly or ice cream on the stairs and then slipped over, does it become a landlord's problem because the stairs were slippery due to the spilage.... probably a extreme example but one perhaps no doubt that could be used).


        • #5
          On the common sense front(i.e. how I see it) -the paths required cleaning, they were cleaned, everything good.
          Come next inspection in a few months, check the paths again, all ok?, good.
          As long as you have carried out your inspections, and have noted/repaired issues at the time, then everyone should be happy.
          As for the legal side I wouldn't know , I just look at it that it's in my best interests to look after my investments and present them to the best of my abilities.
          To be honest I wouldn't want the tenants to be responsible for this type of maintenance,...half of them have trouble looking after their own affairs without me adding to it.
          This is how I handle it anyway...I just prefer to get things done rather than pinch pennies.


          • #6
            its not about pinching pennies Glen, its about finding out the responsibilities of all parties and being informed... if you are not sure, then I am happy to hear other views as well...


            • #7
              Hello nesw,

              Although you are in Oz I believe the rules would be the same as here in NZ.

              I believe each case will be looked at on its own merits if it ever got to the TT.

              An example would be pests and vermin. This would generally be the LL's job unless it could be shown that the tenant's lifestyle caused the problem.

              I have a driveway that gets wet and slippery in the winter because it is in constant shade from the boundary fence. doesn't dry properly and mildew grows. I regard this as my responsibility if an issue ever arose, which it hasn't yet.

              If the shade had been caused by the tenants parking a large van permantly in one spot and themn one of them slipped and broke a leg then I would argue my case strongly at the TT.

              The tenants have to keep and leave the property in a reasonably neat and tidy condition. By whose standards? Again, each case on its own merits.

              Last edited by xris; 22-05-2007, 09:01 PM.


              • #8
                Many thanks for the thoughts Xris.

                I was thinking it could well be a "gray" area as far as a TT went, (not that I am wanting it to go there) but would rather be sure of my position (as I do admit to a lack of knowledge in these types of issues), rather than "assume" immediate ownership of the issue if its standard practice otherwise in NZ..


                • #9
                  Perhaps we sometimes do a little more than is required, to
                  err on the safe side? If you have had paths and the like
                  cleaned before tenant's possession, I'd imagine that,
                  combined with the relevant sections of the RTA, you'll be in
                  a good position – the moral high ground, if you prefer. You
                  will have complied with s45, viz.

                  45 Landlord's responsibilities
                  (1) The landlord shall -
                  (a) provide the premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness;
                  . . . . .
                  (5) In this section premises includes facilities . . .

                  . . . which are defined thus:
                  facilities, in relation to a tenancy agreement, includes all
                  facilities provided by the landlord for the use and enjoyment
                  of the tenant, otherwise than as part of the premises that are
                  the subject of the agreement, such as the following:
                  (a) any land or buildings intended for use for storage space
                  or for the parking of motor vehicles:
                  (b) laundry facilities:
                  (c) cooking facilities:
                  (d) lifts and stairways:
                  (e) rubbish storage and rubbish disposal facilities:
                  (f) toilet and washing facilities:
                  (g) appliances for heating or cooling premises:
                  (h) communication facilities:
                  (i) recreational areas:
                  (j) lawns, gardens, and outhouses

                  In addition to Xris' comments about condition of the
                  premises upon leaving, s40 (Tenant's responsibilities) says
                  that the tenant shall -
                  (c) keep the premises reasonably clean and reasonably tidy;
                  (By implication, during the occupancy/tenancy period)
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                  • #10
                    Interesting - there is an implciation that there is a distinction between the premises and the facilities and that the tenants responsibilities only extend to the premises.

                    To examine your point, NESW, I'd use a more extreme example. Say that, instead of a driveway its a deck that deterioates over time, leading to someone slipping on it and falling through the fencing - in this case I'd expect the LL to be responsible.

                    Generally, in any matter concerning Health and Safety, therefore, I'd expect a responsible LL to take action, but I don't know where the line in the sand would be drawn - probably on a case by case basis.



                    • #11
                      Many thanks for the further thoughts...

                      Its interesting to think that it could well be a "gray" area.... in this litigious day and age of hands having to be held with whatever tasks we undertake...

                      In my original example, I have gone back through recent inspection reports and no comment is made for the need for the pathways etc to be cleaned.

                      Indeed the wording of the quote suggests the pathway issues were of a secondly nature along the lines of "while I am here quoting for the roof/walls I might as well clean xxx and its going to cost .....".

                      I was a bit surprised the Managing Agent asked my maintenance person directly to undertake the quote, rather than drop a quick email to me.

                      I am also surprised (or perhaps not in light of some other issues) at the lack of professionalism and communication in not supplying a covering note explaining why the quote was asked for in the first instance... but that is an "aside" from the question at hand..