On 1 November 2019 changes to the Residential Tenancies Act come into effect. This post summarises the changes relating to the modifications tenants can make to a property.

This change aims to better define what modifications tenants can make to rental properties.

The Act splits modifications into two categories: general modifications and special modifications. Tenants cannot make ANY changes to the property without the consent of the landlord. However, landlords can only refuse consent for Special Modifications with the consent of the Tribunal. For General Modifications, a landlord can refuse consent if the grounds a reasonable.

If a landlord approves a modification, they can impose conditions so long as they are reasonable. Examples include: a licensed and insured trades person completes the work, dictate how the work is to be done so as not to damage the property, that the rectification work carried out at the end of the tenancy is performed by a licensed and insured trades person.

All modifications performed by the tenant must be rectified at the end of the tenancy unless approval is granted by the landlord otherwise.

Landlords are under no obligation to pay for modifications. However, in some situations a landlord and a tenant may agree to share the costs.

We have setup an online form where tenants can make a request to make modifications to a property. Upon receiving the request we will review and act according to the owners instructions.

Special Modifications

The Act has subdivided this category into minor modifications that can be easily undone, such as installing curtains and the second subcategory includes minor modifications for safety reasons, security, disability, energy efficiency or telecommunications access. Examples are below:

  • safety eg furniture anchors or child safety gates
  • disability eg access ramps, safety rails
  • energy efficiency eg heavy window coverings
  • telecommunications eg NBN
  • security eg deadlocks, alarms

General Modifications

Are all other modifications not covered by Special Modifications.

As we know, rectifying some types of modifications can be costly and if a tenant refuses to rectify at the end of the tenancy and the bond is not adequate, the process to claim costs can be arduous. We strongly recommend that landlords maintain landlords insurance.