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Squarefoot Maintenance repairs and alterations to rented property in Hong Kong


Maintenance and Repairs


The issue of who is responsible for the maintenance and repair of a rental property often causes disputes between a landlord and a tenant. Therefore, both parties should clearly specify their respective responsibilities in the tenancy agreement. These usually include:

 

  • Responsibility for maintenance and repair of the interior of the rental property
  • Responsibility for maintenance and repair of the exterior of the property and common areas of the building


Normally, the landlord may request the following terms regarding repairs to be included in the tenancy:

 

  • Keep the interior of the rental property in good repair and condition, except latent defects, structural problems or natural wear and tear
  • Maintain gas, water and electricity systems, kitchen and bathroom facilities as well as keep the drainage system clear, replace broken glass of windows and doors, and repair the flooring, walls, doors and locks of the rental property
  • Prevent any damage by fire or wind


For the tenant, the costs of maintenance and repair of the common areas and facilities of the building are responsible by all owners of the building. These areas include external walls, common roof, common facilities for electrical appliances, facilities for water and public hygiene, passages, stairs, lifts, water tanks, water pipes, water pumps, drainages and the building’s main structures.

The tenant may ask the landlord to specify in the agreement that the landlord be responsible for the contribution that the rental property has to make for the maintenance and repair of the common areas and facilities of the building.

To avoid future disputes, the tenant should examine carefully the condition of the rental property before signing the tenancy agreement. If any damage is found, the tenant should formally notify the landlord, or ask the landlord to repair the damage before handing over the property.

 

Alterations


The tenancy agreement should clearly state whether the landlord will let the tenant make alterations to the fittings or partitions of the rental property. Generally, the tenant is not permitted to make any alterations to partitions and fittings, or make additions to the property without the landlord’s prior written consent. If the tenant wishes to make alterations, he/she should make sure if there are any restrictions so that no offence will be committed and safety can be ensured.

Under normal circumstances, if a tenant insists on alterations, the landlord will usually require the tenant to pay a certain amount of deposit to ensure the tenant will keep their promise of returning the property as it was, when it was rented to them.

Summary: There are often minor maintenance and repairs with a property that needs to be taken care of, or alterations you would like of the property, how should it be settled? This section will provide you with more information on how to prepare for and to handle such situations.