24 November 2016

If a rental property has been damaged in a natural disaster – such as an earthquake, a storm or a flood – the landlord and tenant should get in touch with each other to check everyone is safe and to discuss any damage.

Payment of rent when a tenant moves out of a rental property

If you have concerns your property has been affected by an earthquake, the first step is to speak to your landlord. If you and your landlord cannot come to an agreement, contact Tenancy Services to discuss your individual circumstances and what options may be available to you.

It is a tenant’s responsibility to pay the rent when it is due and payable. Failure to do so is a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act and may allow a landlord to take action against a tenant for this breach. That being said, in the event of the premises being destroyed or so seriously damaged that it is wholly or partially uninhabitable the rent payable will be reduced or removed accordingly.

Insurance cover for the property in which a business is located

A standard business insurance policy will apply where there has been material damage to the property in which the business is located. However, the extent of cover will depend on individual policies and businesses should check with their insurer. 

Structural engineering report after a natural disaster

Landlords are obliged to ensure the property they are renting out complies with all building health and safety requirements. Depending on the property, the landlord may need to work with the building owner/body corporate to ensure the building is checked, or may need to arrange their own engineering assessment which needs to be done by a chartered professional engineer, to ensure they are meeting their obligations as a landlord.

While it is best practice, the RTA does not state the landlord must provide the tenant with an engineer’s report. 

If you have concerns your apartment has been affected by an earthquake, the first step is to speak to your landlord and discuss whether an inspection of the property is required. If you and your landlord cannot come to an agreement, you should contact your territorial authority to discuss these matters.

Repairs and damages after a natural disaster

Please read this important information if the property you own or live in needs repairs after a natural disaster.

You can also read what particular rules there are to help landlords and tenants when properties are damaged in a natural disaster.

See our news article for more information on what to do after a natural disaster.

You can also read about post-emergency resources and building assessment after a natural disaster (external link) on the Building Performance website.