Residential Tenancies Act Blog Rectification Order Process

Residential Tenancies Act Blog – New Rectification Order Process

On and from 23 March 2020, there are strengthened rectification processes in place to resolve disputes between landlords, their agents, and tenants.


NSW Fair Trading now has powers to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords over repairs and maintenance and property damage. This includes the ability to issue rectification orders. The rectification order process supports tenants and landlords to resolve disputes about property repairs and damage in a tenancy by working with Fair Trading.

Landlords can apply to Fair Trading to investigate whether a tenant has caused or allowed damage to the property and has refused or failed to repair, or not satisfactorily repaired, the damage without a reasonable excuse.

Tenants can apply to Fair Trading to investigate whether the landlord has failed to provide and maintain the property in a reasonable state of repair.

A landlord or tenant must first make a written request to the other party to try and resolve the issue and can then apply to Fair Trading through the complaints and dispute resolution process if the issue is not resolved.

General Information on Tenancy Repairs:

A rental property must always be fit to live in.

Landlords are responsible for repairing and maintaining the property so that it is in a reasonable state of repair, considering the age of the property, the amount of rent being paid, and the prospective life of the property.

This does not mean that the property must be in perfect condition.

The state of the property and the level of repair expected should be in proportion to the property’s age and the amount of rent.

Tenants must keep the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness, considering the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy.

Tenants are responsible for minor maintenance including replacing light bulbs, cleaning windows, dusting, removing cobwebs and routine garden maintenance such as watering, mowing, and weeding.

Getting Repairs Done:

The tenant must have written permission from the landlord, including agreement on reimbursement, from the landlord, unless the repair is an urgent repair.

The tenant should request the repair in writing to the landlord explaining what needs fixing.

Even when repairs are not completed, a tenant should never stop paying the rent.

Withholding rent will put them in breach of their tenancy agreement and the tenancy may be terminated.


Tenants must not cause or allow damage to the property, either intentionally or through lack of care or attention, including by other occupants or invited guests.

If the tenant causes or allows damage to the property, the landlord or agent can ask the tenant to arrange to repair the damage or to pay for the costs of the repairs if they are done by the landlord or agent.

Resolving repair, maintenance, or damage disputes:

It is always best for a tenant and landlord or agent to try to negotiate a resolution together. If the issue cannot be resolved this way, a tenant or landlord can:

  • contact Fair Trading’s tenancy complaints and disputes service
  • lodge an application directly with the Tribunal.

In some situations, Fair Trading may issue a rectification order to landlords to undertake repairs, or to tenants to fix damage. Visit the Resolving rental problems page for more information.

A landlord or tenant can apply directly to the Tribunal to resolve disputes about repairs, maintenance, or damage to the property.

The Tribunal can make various orders including:

  • that the landlord does repairs
  • that the tenant can pay their rent to the Tribunal until the repairs are done
  • that the tenant’s rent be reduced until the repairs are done
  • to compensate the tenant for losses (e.g. damage to tenants’ belongings from a leaking pipe after they told the landlord the pipe was leaking)
  • that the tenant repair damage they caused
  • that the tenant compensates the landlord for costs to repair damage the tenant caused
  • directing the landlord, landlord’s agent or the tenant to comply with their obligations.

If you would like to read about all the changes for tenants and landlords alike, please visit the Department of Fair Trading’s website here.