Regularly checking the property and repairing any damage or wear and tear as soon as possible is important. 

If you’re a landlord, carry out regular inspections to check everything’s working well, there’s no damage and the tenant’s keeping the property reasonably clean and tidy. Carry out repairs promptly. Have a good network of service people if you can’t do the work yourself.

Inspections has more on carrying out inspections.

A landlord can’t give notice to end a tenancy because the tenant has made a reasonable request for repairs or maintenance to be done.

Retaliatory notice has more about this.

Landlords are responsible for cleaning the chimney

Cleaning the chimney is usually the landlord’s responsibility. The tenant remains responsible for cleaning the ashes from the hearth. The landlord may wish to have the chimney swept and checked at least annually to make sure it’s safe. (The landlord’s insurance policy for the property will often not cover the property if the chimney is not swept at least annually).

Both landlords and tenants can be responsible for light bulbs

The Residential Tenancies Act does not cover who is responsible for light bulbs.

However, if the landlord supplies light bulbs and the tenant takes them at the end of the tenancy, or damages them intentionally or carelessly, the tenant may be responsible for replacing them.

If the light bulbs remain in place but have blown, responsibility is less certain. Standard light bulbs may be seen as consumables and replaceable by the tenant, or may be seen as fair wear and tear and replaceable by the landlord.

Non-standard light bulbs – which may be more expensive or are tricky to fit – may be the responsibility of the landlord. If a light bulb of this kind blows, it’s likely to be treated as fair wear and tear.

Landlords must agree before tenants add any fixtures

Tenants cannot affix anything to the property, or renovate or make alterations or additions to the property, unless the landlord agrees. That is, the changes must agree with what’s in the tenancy agreement, or the landlord must give written consent first.

Before the tenancy ends, the tenant can remove any of their fixtures, unless this would cause irreparable damage to the premises or the agreement from the landlord was conditional upon it remaining and becoming the property of the landlord at the end of the tenancy. Fixtures are things that are fixed in position (such as garden sheds, spa pools, heat pumps, security alarms or lights, clothes lines and panel heaters).

Any fixture put up by a tenant and not removed at the end of a tenancy becomes the property of the landlord. But this doesn’t apply if a different agreement exists, or the landlord has led the tenant to believe that the tenant can remove the fixtures after the tenancy ends.

If the tenant causes damage when removing the fixtures, the tenant should tell the landlord. The landlord should then tell the tenant whether they want them to repair the damage, or negotiate compensation.

Both landlords and tenants are responsible for maintaining the outside of the house

The landlord is usually responsible for outside cleaning and maintenance tasks such as house-washing and gutter cleaning. The tenant can do outdoor cleaning tasks like window cleaning (if the windows are easily accessible, not apartment buildings or multi-level houses) as part of their responsibility to keep the property reasonably clean and tidy. It is a good idea to discuss this topic in detail at the start of the tenancy and note what is agreed on the tenancy agreement to avoid misunderstandings.