Renting a substandard property

Property standards

All properties that are rented privately must meet legal standards.

If there are serious maintenance defects the property can be declared substandard and a limit placed on the amount of rent a landlord can charge for it.

Substandard property conditions include:

  • leaking or damaged roofs
  • missing or poorly maintained gutters and downpipes
  • rotten woodwork or joinery
  • sagging, cracked or damaged ceilings
  • cracked or damp walls
  • damaged, uneven or insufficiently supported floors
  • inadequate or no supply of hot and cold water
  • inadequate, contaminated or no supply of drinking water
  • plumbing, gas or electrical services that aren't maintained or don't meet regulation requirements
  • inadequate kitchen, bathroom, toilet or laundry facilities
  • inadequate natural light or ventilation
  • missing or poorly fitted fly screens.

If the property doesn't meet the standards

Private tenants

  1. Contact your landlord to talk about the problems with your property and ask for repairs to be carried out.
  2. If there has been no action contact the Consumer and Business Services tenancy branch to discuss alternative options.
  3. If there has still been no resolution contact the Housing Improvement Branch (HIB). This is a free service.

Public housing tenants

If you are renting public housing contact Housing SA Maintenance on 131 288.

Community housing tenants

If you are renting community housing, contact your community housing organisation.

Property inspections

HIB will organise a time to come and inspect your property. They don't need your landlord's permission to do this. You can choose to have someone else with you at the inspection - eg relative, friend, support worker.

HIB will make a list of any defects at the property and talk to you about what happens next. HIB has to have your permission to continue with the complaint.

You will be sent a letter telling you of HIB's decision, and any action that will be taken.

If HIB has issued a notice of intention detailing repair work that must be done, the owner has four weeks to respond. If the owner doesn't respond, or the property still doesn't meet the required standard, it will be declared substandard.

If the defects haven't been rectified within four weeks of the declaration date, a limit may be placed on the amount of rent you can be charged. This will remain in place until the repairs are carried out and HIB has inspected the property.

Contact HIB for advice if the landlord continues to charge more than the rent limit.

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Page last updated: 18th July 2014