Can I Deduct Rent if the House Has Mice in Melbourne?

September 9, 2022
Can I Deduct Rent if the House Has Mice in Melbourne?

In Melbourne, you can deduct rent if the house has mice and you haven’t agreed to pay for property maintenance and repair in your rental agreement. However, if you agree to be mutually responsible for property maintenance, the expenses for mice exterminators should be divided equally.

Of course, there are a few responsibilities regarding house maintenance due to you by default. In this post, we’ll share those and answer everything that might be on your mind regarding mice infestation in your rental home in Melbourne

Can You Withhold Rent if the House Has Mice in Melbourne?

No–you cannot withhold rent even if there are lots of mice in the house. You’ve signed a lease, and you’re legally bound to pay an amount to the property owner.

If you fail to pay, the owner can easily evict you from the house based on non-payment. This, in turn, will ruin your rental history and make it very difficult for you to find another house for rent. Remember, though, that your landlord or property manager cannot end the contract without notice. 

Who Is Responsible for Pests, Infestations, and Mould in Rented Houses? 

Australian law does not define who is responsible for pests, infestations, or mould in a rented property. Usually, tenants and property owners agree to mutual contributions for property maintenance in the lease agreement or rental agreement. 

In exceptional cases, one of the two parties may take responsibility; this is usually the property owner. However, if the rental agreement says nothing about the subject, whoever caused the problem is responsible for fixing it.

Finding Who’s Responsible for Mice Infestation

Typically, mice infest a house in search of food, shelter, and warmth. So, if you leave leftovers out in the open or fail to clean crumbs or pieces of food from the floor, there is a high chance rodents will make their way to it. Along the same lines, if you do not clean your house properly, you’ll be inviting mice. In this case, it falls on you to pay for pest and rodent control.

Mice also love water sources and can easily fit in small spaces, so if there are cracks, holes, or gaps in plumbing lines, ceilings, walls, windows, gas lines, or sewer lines in the house, the property owner will be responsible for paying for rodent control. If the property owner refuses to pay, you can report them.

What Deductions Can You Claim on Your Rent in Melbourne?

Can I Deduct Rent if the House Has Mice in Melbourne?

You can claim deductions for urgent repairs and maintenance needs that your landlord has failed to pay attention to. An example would be: your kitchen sink’s faucet stops working, your landlord hasn’t answered calls in two days, you get the faucet fixed at your expense, and when it’s time to deposit rent, you deduct the amount and explain the deduction to your landlord if they question it.

Similarly, if you’ve faced a loss due to the property, you can deduct a fair amount from the rent. For example, if the water from a leaking pipe damages an appliance, you can claim compensation for it.

However, if it’s a non-urgent repair, such as a damaged fence, you’re encouraged to wait at least fourteen days before addressing the issue yourself. During these fourteen days, make sure you write to the landlord or property manager about the problem before taking action–it’s always best to have written evidence.

If there’s a dispute regarding maintenance and repair issues, you can take the matter to The Tenancy Tribunal, which is a legal body that administers the issues between landlords and tenants as quickly as possible. 

How Can You Avoid Rental Houses With Mice?

The best thing to do to avoid rental houses with mice is to look for clean, tidy, and well-maintained rental properties. When you opt for an in-person inspection, check out the attic, basement, and wet areas of the house. You should also assess the corners and nooks and determine how difficult they are to clean, as well as look for any gaps and cracks that can let mice in. If a house is free of all these, it is fairly safe from mice.

For more rental-related information, check out our recent posts on the best time to rent a home in Melbourne and lease transfers and sublettings in Melbourne.

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