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The concept of ‘Reasonable’

By Emma Smith

Managing a property and the tenant is fairly straight-forward at the commencement when it comes to entering into a tenancy agreement. You outline the tenant/s, rent, term and bond details. The information is clear with no requirement for interpretation.
However, as we know there is much more to managing a property than paperwork. There are countless scenarios that can arise that require interpreting the legislation or what we call the ‘grey areas’.
The concept of reasonable is one that many landlords (including us as the managing agent) often need to take into consideration when making a decision or taking action.
Legislation can state that you must provide reasonable security for the premises; or you must give reasonable notice to enter the property; or the property must be kept in a reasonably clean and tidy condition.
So what is reasonable? It actually depends… Reasonable is what the average citizen of sound mind would think, do, or expect in that situation.
If we talk about ‘reasonable’ notice for a sale or rental inspection for instance, many would think of 24 hours. But would 24 hours be reasonable for a night shift worker versus someone who is retired and staying at home?
A property to be kept in a reasonably clean and tidy condition is not required to pass the ‘white glove’ standard of cleanliness at a routine property inspection.
Understanding the concept of reasonable is very important in times of dispute. If a dispute does arise, take a moment to look at the situation from all aspects. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you cannot come to a resolution and the matter is taken to the Tribunal Courts you may find the ruling outcome unreasonable.
As property managers, we strive to achieve the best outcomes possible within the provisions of the Act.

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