Aussie real estate's $1040 request divides renters: 'Is this fair?'

A tenant has received a mixed response after asking who should pay for costly repairs.

A disgruntled tenant who was asked to cough up over $1,000 to replace two items at a rental property has questioned whether the real estate's demands are fair and sparked outrage among fellow renters.

"My REA is charging me $140 to change this outdoor light bulb and $900 to replace the entire wash basin," the renter claimed anonymously in a Facebook post alongside photos of the light and sink in question.

The author of the post added that the real estate was bringing in a labourer to change the globe, hence the $140 cost, and asked whether this was really something a tenant had to pay for in Australia.

Outdoor light fixture; old sink
An Aussie renter has posted photos of a light and sink, claiming that a real estate agent demanded they be replaced at a cost of over $1,000 to the tenant. Source: Facebook

"Also the crack in the basin, I honestly never noticed it as it's so tiny and caused no leaking. Is this fair for them to charge me to replace the entire thing?" the tenant inquired further.

Landlord or tenant responsibility?

The post fuelled a debate over who should be responsible for the replacement of the items. "They cannot charge you to change a light bulb, especially if you need a ladder to reach it," someone commented. Many others also raised concern over why the original poster was being charged for a brand-new sink when the one in the photo looked rather old.

"How old is the basin? Aside from a crack likely being fair wear and tear, landlords think they can replace old for new and have the tenants wear the cost, but fixtures depreciate," someone claimed.

Others, however, offered different opinions, claiming light bulbs are indeed a tenant's responsibility based on the assumption that they were working when they were handed over.

A real estate agent weighs in

"It is generally a tenant's responsibility to replace light bulbs," Tam Leslie, Director for Ray White Albany told Yahoo News Australia. She added that with fixtures such as wash basins, this would depend on several factors such as age and if it was caused by wilful damage or wear and tear.

"If the tenant has dropped something on it causing the crack, then yes, they are responsible," Ms Leslie said, stating further that the age of the fixture would also determine how much a tenant is expected to pay.

In this particular case, she explained that the tenant would be expected to replace the light bulb. "I would expect the tenant to replace this globe. This cost could be justified as they would need to go and purchase the globe, and then fit," according to Leslie.

As for the sink, Ms Leslie said: "If the sink was in new condition with no damage prior, then yes. they could charge full replacement as this wouldn't be normal wear." However, she added that the tenant would have to refer to the ingoing condition report for this. "If it was aged, then you couldn't charge full replacement as you would need to depreciate."

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