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When the dog chews up the carpet or a clumsy kid knocks a hole in the wall, it’s the renter who is responsible for the accidental damage to the rental property. Any damage that’s caused by the tenant or their guests falls to the tenant to repair.

Damage that happens over time, like cracks in the wall or other types of wear and tear, is the responsibility of the property’s owner to fix, as it’s their duty to ensure their property is fit for someone to live in. If you’re worried about having to prove whether damage is due to wear and tear, documenting it through photos and videos can help your case.

If you’re the one who is responsible for accidental damage to the rental property, you may be required to arrange and pay for the repairs yourself.

What else are renters liable for?

As a renter, you’re also responsible for the contents that you own, i.e. all personal belongings you bring with you into your rental accommodation.

This means you will need contents insurance (also known as renters insurance) to cover your valuable possessions should anything happen to them. These may include:

  • furniture items – lounge, armchairs, wardrobe, bed – the lot
  • hi-fi equipment – TVs, home theatres, stereo systems
  • sporting equipment – home gym or treadmill
  • bulky old-school gaming items – pool table, table tennis, foosball
  • musical instruments – guitars, drums or keyboards
  • your prized sports memorabilia (including framed posters)
  • artworks
  • jewellery
  • your family heirlooms.

Your personal effects – e.g. your handbag, camera or bicycle – are best covered by personal effects insurance, which is usually an optional extra available under renters insurance.

woman in her kitchen writing a list of her contents for insurance purposes

Given today’s climate of steep housing prices, more Australians than ever live in rental accommodation and regularly move houses, taking their belongings with them. In 2017-18, 32% of Australia’s population were renting.[i]

With so many people renting these days, it’s a good idea to give your belongings an additional safety layer by choosing a contents insurance policy to protect your lifestyle.

Sources

[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics – 4130.0 Housing Occupancy and Costs, 2017-18. Published July 2019. Sourced August 2019.

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