Tenant or Landlord Responsibility to Replace Light Globes? (27 Globes)

Hi all,

I recently posted here about being unable to secure a rental, and after some helpful advice (and getting onto my current and previous property managers to complete the reference check..), I successfully secured the next rental I applied for. On to today's problem after securing the property, though:

When I attended the open for inspection, the power at the property had already been disconnected, so I thought nothing of viewing the home with only the sun through the windows to provide light. Applied, got accepted, paid deposit and bond, etc etc.

Today, I picked up the keys and went to the home directly after to do the condition report and found… 25 of the lights inside the home, and 2 outside either have no globe, or have a dead globe (about 50/50 split).

For example, one of the living areas has 2 downlights out of 6 working. The other living area has 7 blown globes. The second bathroom only has working heat lamps, the normal bulb is missing. The globes from the light fittings in the laundry are all missing. The master bedroom has no working lights with a fitting type in a ceiling fan I've never seen before, and of course the globe is missing so I can't even take it into a lighting store for help.

There are at least 4 different globe types required to replace all of the broken/missing globes, some quite high up in vaulted ceilings. I noted this in the condition report and mentioned it to the property manager when I dropped it off, and was mostly brushed off and told to lodge a maintenance request via e-mail.

Just wondering if I'm meant to replace all these blown and missing lights myself as I accepted the property in its current condition when signing the lease, or was it reasonable to expect working lights throughout?

Update: I haven't heard back from Property Manager yet, but sent a follow up email requesting this be rectified before we move in this coming Sunday. Otherwise, my family will experience a very dark few days.

2nd Update: Well, I just got official word back. I've been asked to replace any blown/missing standard globes or heat globes myself.

They will only organise somebody to come out for the downlights. I'm less than impressed and I'm so glad this is going to be my last rental lease.

(also, for those asking, this is VIC)


  • +66

    "lodge a maintenance request via e-mail" and see what happens. You should not be expected to replace that many lights. One or two okay.

    • +6

      I sent the email to them from my phone in the car park immediately after the conversation.

      Let's see what happens, but I was absolutely appalled they'd let the home with that many lights missing/broken.

      • +5

        family will experience a very dark days

        …I see what you did there

        • +11

          I came in like a wrecking bulb

      • +29

        A landlord here.

        I'd be expecting to pay for this, though i wouldn't be happy about it. That should've been on the outgoing checklist and payment sought from the previous tenant.

        If they refuse to sort this out for you, replace the globes and take them with you when you move on. Leave things as they were received.

        Sidebar: why such a long post about something that you haven't gotten official word back from the agent about?

        • Well, I just got official word back. I've been asked to replace any blown or missing standard or heat globes myself.

          They will only organise somebody to come out for the downlights. I'm less than impressed and I'm so glad this is going to be my last rental lease.

          • +12

            @xarudo: Sounds like a shit agent. You could challenge them on this if you want to out the effort in, but they will likely make life more difficult over your leasing period.

            Good luck

          • -7

            @xarudo: Pretty standard deal, landlords only need to provide the building in working condition, not the consumerables. Light bulbs are consumerables.

            • +10

              @tonsta: disagree - also with your speling - 'consumerable' ?

              • +10

                @Hangryuman: damn autosmell erection

              • +3

                @Hangryuman: ….maybe ensure your comment has correct spelLing when challenging someone about spelling! … I agree with you though

            • @tonsta: You sound like a piece of work. No harm in being a nice human being and ensure your new tenants have a house in a liveable condition especially when moving in. It’s landlords like you that contributes to the negativity in the rental market. Try being considerate and kind for once, you’ll sleep better at night.

              Kindness goes a long way. Life is not just about dollar and cents.

          • +4

            @xarudo: Buy bulb, Email back with cost of bulb replacement attach receipt. Let agent know that much will be paid less next month rent and also I am expecting end of lease full bond this will be not deducted from my bond.
            All have to be written to avoid any headache in future.

            • +9

              @Zonty: I would add a labour cost at $65 per hour including time spent investigating required types of bulbs, obtaining stepladders as necessary, travelling to store, selecting bulbs, returning and fitting.

              Say quote ballpark $200 for the total job - advise agent this will be deducted from next rent as part of the initial condition report, unless they replace the bulbs within 48 hours.

              Just be assertive - call the property manager, tell them that you'd like the bulbs changed today please, otherwise you'll have to charge $65ph for your time plus bulbs and it's looking around $200 for you to do that yourself - you can send them the invoice for your time and/or deduct it from next rent payment - all fully documented for owner's tax purposes.

              In this kind of thing, don't ask - tell. In other words, if you're soft, they'll walk all over you like a doormat and wipe their feet on the way out. If you're strong, they'll be like 'yes sir'.

              • @Hangryuman: and the cost to chuck the globe's boxes.

              • @Hangryuman: That’s going to be a stretch at Tribunal, member is going to throw it out. You might end up having your lease cancelled for short payment.

                You can’t just short pay your rent as a bargaining chip because you feel your hard done by. You need to take these matter to your local tribunal for a ruling.

                There are processes to protect you and the landlord.

          • -8

            @xarudo: I'm confused, the replaceable lights are clearly your responsibility why bother the landlord?

            He needs to pay around ~$200 for somebody to go out and replace them all in labour costs PLUS the light globes.

            You also probably want some decent energy saving ones, (you pay for the electricity so its in your interests to get ones that save you money).

            You may be able to request for reimbursement depending on your landlord, or come to some arrangement but it seems silly to be so caught up about lights when it was likely the previous tenants should have done something about it.

            However, something is not right here, with so many blown is there an underlying electrical issue which the agent/landlord does need to sort out? You also should have been provided with emergency maintenance contacts for anything which is considered urgent (for cases which are urgent to fix).

            • +17

              @frugal investigator: Are you kidding? As a landlord myself, the bulbs shouldn't need to be replaced by the tenant if they were already blown when they moved in. It's not tenant's problem how much it will cost the landlord to get someone to come out and do it. They can come out and DIY if they don't want to hire someone to do it, but it's not tenant's problem.

              • @keejoonc: Not kidding, its a lots of light globes but seek reimbursement. Easier to fix quickly as let's face it regardless of if landlord will fix it or not, you need to see at night.

                • @frugal investigator: The downlights depending on how they are wired can't be replaced by the OP and if I was in their shoes, I wouldn't be spending my own money on something I shouldn't have to when there's no guarantee I would be reimbursed for it.

                  • -5

                    @keejoonc: Well obviously the replaceable ones (I did say that?). Landlord needs to attend to specialised ones. And yep no guarantee for reimbursement but you can deal with that later and fix the immediate issue. It is a lot of pain, and you draw on a point 'as a reasonable landlord you would pay' which i agree with, but its not something you want to let sit for weeks! As much as people want to point fingers here, does it matter? You need to see at night!

                    • @frugal investigator: Yes you did and you also said they are clearly the responsibility of the tenant, which isn't true in this situation.
                      Terrible advice saying OP should pay for it now and deal with it later. Stamping the foot down now is more likely to force the issue and get the landlord to own up and do what is right rather than backing down and paying for it out of OP's own pocket.
                      And yes, it does matter who's right or wrong. OP didn't say ALL lights don't work so in all likelihood they can see at night.

        • +17

          I did exactly this. I had to put in 10 when I moved in my rental. 4 years later I took it with me when I vacated. Bloody REAs tried to claim on the bond and I just send them what they told me 4 years prior ( I had it all on emails). Needless to say they withdrawn the bond claim.

          • +2

            @yamahamoto: That's dodgy AF

            • @nightelves: I don’t understand why it is dodgy? If the bulb need to be replaced when I am in the rental I would have no problem to do so even if I have to do 27 of them. When I vacate I just need to leave the house in the same condition as when I moved in minus acceptable wear and tear. I’m

              • +3

                @yamahamoto: No I'm just mentioning how the REA was dodgy to try and take the money from the bond even though you paid for those globes.

          • +2

            @yamahamoto: u da man !

          • @yamahamoto: How are these people this greedy and useless.

            • +2

              @Smol Cat: I don’t know. They tried to claim for a few more things that was in original condition report. They obviously didn’t even look at it until I pointed out. They are out of business now. They are a local real estate not franchise.

        • +1

          Normally, a tenant is expected to replace consumables like light bulbs as required. However, moving into a place with so many not-working lights is weird - a "red flag". All lights should be in working order at the time you move in. Makes you wonder what is is not working or about to fail.

    • +6

      Look in the tenancy agreement. I have seen explicit terms in there which says it is the responsibility of the tenant to change all globes.

      • +48

        Changing the bulbs that fail during your tenancy makes sense. It's a different story if they were not working at the start of the lease though.

        • +10

          Yea true, the globes should be working to begin with.

        • +1

          If they refuse to replace them, then you should ensure you take them all when you vacate. It won't get you your time or money back, but at least the rental agency and landlord will get some karma, and you'll have enough spare globes to last you a half a life time.

      • Check who you are asking to do what.

      • +1

        Only where replaceable
        Unless OP is an electrician and by the sounds of this thread that is highly unlikely, OP cannot legally change downlights (LED housing these days so need to replace entire housing).
        For the other ones e.g. bathroom - I had a few not work at the commencement of my lease. Couldn’t be bothered asking the agent to replace light bulbs that were $5 each. Went to Bunnings and did it myself. Noted it on condition report though, but still couldn’t be bothered taking them out when I left haha.

        • +3

          Plug-in downlights yes he can. Hard wired, no.

        • This only correct in some instances, majority of led bulbs or even halogen can be replaced without the need of an electrician. It really depends on how the bulbs/housing is wired up.

      • +1

        Yes it is but not while you move in first day. Need to rectify. Good landlord suppose give house ready to move in.

      • +4

        'Tenants are also required to leave the property in the same condition when they vacate, so if all the light bulbs were working then they will be required to ensure they are still functioning when they leave.' - https://www.domain.com.au/news/seven-rights-sydney-landlords...

        ergo - tenants are 'required' to leave the property with non-working bulbs if that's what they started with

        in other words, what yamamoto did - took the bulbs with them when they left !

      • +4

        Funnily enough it's an invalid clause (in Vic at least). See paragraph 35 of George v Papalaskaris 2019

        The special clause which purported to place the obligation to replace light globes on the tenants is an attempt to modify the application of the RT Act, in that it purports to oblige the parties to ignore the concept of fair wear and tear, and make the tenants’ obligation to replace the globes absolute. The clause is therefore invalid


        • I think these things are usually so trivial that people don't want to fight over a few dollars.

    • yep first thing i would do any issues you then go rta. place has to be supplied with working bulbs. any blow during your tenency i believe you are then liable to replace by time you exit

      • +67


        • +34

          Tenlord. Landnant.

          • +31

            @Euphemistic: Tennant. Timelord.

            • +1

              @jjjaar: Still my favourite though I had to stop watching.

              • +1

                @Caped Baldy: Equal second with Eccleston for me, first goes to Tom Baker

                • +1

                  @Nugs: I never watched the older episodes so got some bias.

                  Eccleston is actual my second despite the short run. Really underappreciated.

              • +1

                @Caped Baldy: My favourite is whoever I’m watching at the time. Except Capaldi. He was crap.

                • @jjjaar: I didn't mind him but that's when I stopped watching as the stories got a bit shitty for me.

                  • +3

                    @Caped Baldy: Yeah maybe it was just the whole darker themes that came with him. They wanted to move away from the whimsy of Eccleston, Tennant and Smith, but that’s really what killed it for me too. That, and I never liked Clara either.

                    Whittaker is fantastic though.

            • @jjjaar: Limelord and ten ants.

  • +15

    My understanding is that any bulbs that are standard and relatively easy to change/fix are tenant's responsibility and anything that's difficult (arguably high ceiling halogens) or out of reasonable reach the landlord would do.

    If they're missing from day one though, would definitely be asking agent to rectify it and note on the condition checklist when moving in.

  • +64

    Yowsers, came here expecting a troll post, but to be fair that is ridiculous.

    A tenant shouldn't up for 27(!?!) globes as they move in.

    • +44

      Goes to show WTF the agents are even doing.

      • +2

        My property agent missed a blatant hole in the wall in their final inspection when the tenants left :|

        • Are they still your rental agent?

          • +7

            @esq: Nope. I was getting rid of them for other reasons and this just confirmed it all.

        • You can fix by using agent’s public liability insurance. Because he was failed to do his job.

      • +4

        they take their cut and count their money that's about it.

      • +2

        Recently moved rentals, and I swear most agents unlock the front door and don't even go in for inspections. We looked at a place that had a giant, very poorly cut hole in the back door (improvised pet door I think), and we asked the agent if that was going to be fixed and she was like "oh, I've had a few people mention that. I'll ask the owners".

  • +15

    Return it as you found it

  • +2

    In the past I’ve replaced myself and got a reimbursement from the agency. Preferable to both parties. Saved me time and saved the agent coming out.

    • Yeah it seems pretty crazy that there's no standardised petty cash claim form you can fill, along with a receipt and a few photos as evidence.
      Save everyone so much time and money.

  • +3

    and was mostly brushed off and told to lodge a maintenance request via e-mail.

    This sounds like they will replaced it?, you just have to wait for their maintenance to action it (which could take a while). I'm not a lawyer but typically tenants replace if its a simple replacement, but landlord if its complicated (difficult to find connector, requires ladder etc I guess). Though this isn't usually at the start of renting. But if they have a process for a maintenance request, they probably have something set up already to put it through.

    I will say though, you may want to get a sparkie or something in to check the electricity, wouldn't be surprised if something was off which caused all the lights to go out. And may be why electricity was switched off, as companies don't switch it off that quickly. It may be nothing but something feels off.

  • +7

    We had this issue when we bought our home. We used to joke that the last owners had needed to sell the place before they ended up in total darkness. I think I counted 17 bulbs that needed replaced or repaired. The downlight bulbs needed the entire fitting replaced by an electrician - so it may not just be a straightforward matter of replacing bulbs.

    For a rental, that is unacceptable. I would be submitting a maintenance request, especially for the unusual fittings.

  • +70

    All lights should work at the start of your tenancy. You should then maintain them until you leave.

    • +8

      Best short and correct answer so far.

  • +4

    I came in thinking "Like when one blows? You should do it" but we are talking nearly 30 globes. This should have been checked and replaced by the LL/RA before you moved in and thus it is there responsibility

  • +15

    My house doesn't even have 27 lights lol

    I need to up my lighting game.

    • +1

      For example, one of the living areas has 2 downlights out of 6 working. The other living area has 7 blown globes.

      lol - I was doing a quick calculation of how many lights there are at our place (the down lights add up fast) however I only have one living room!

      • If I counted correctly then I have 29 lights if you include the two in the range hood, and county the eight heat lamp bulbs in the bathrooms separately.

    • +1

      with 27 bulbs - just the count of the non-working ones!?

      I'm guessing this is a place riddled with halogen downlights - installed when people were scammed into believing that these 'low voltage' lights would be low electricity running cost … so they installed like 20 in a row in living rooms and like 6 over kitchen benches et al

      nuh-uh ! - the typical 50W spotlight bulb back was not only a fire risk as they got so hot concentrated under cabinets, but the common installation of 20 or more = 1000W was the same power as a bathroom radiator heater ! SMH.

      so if OP has already signed up to rent this place with 27+ bulbs, they're probably looking at electricity bills higher than need be as well.

      FWIW as a DIY guy I put a wall-mounted 44W LED 1200mm batten behind our sofa/recliner about 150cm high - which gives both perfect task lighting for my laptop/reading/paperwork, but also area lighting for our whole living area (DIY louvre in front to avoid glare when facing it). So our total lighting average is 44W. Not 1000W+

      • LOL yeah my house is like this. 20 lights alone in the kitchen and dining area. 25W each from memory. No dimmers either. I absolutely hate it. And yes it got really bloody hot.

        I had them replaced with LED bulbs which is a huge improvement on power consumption but it still adds up! I just want some basic traditional lights, is that really too much to ask?

    • We discussing houses not caves

    • +6

      27 lights including a mix of downlights and special fittings, will likely be around $200 and that's assuming that the previous tenants didn't remove them to cover up other issues.

  • +4

    We did a condition report after we moved in and had the electricity connected and wrote down that 4/6 of the lights in the kitchen and one light in the laundry wasn't working. They sent someone to replace them along with a bunch of other issues within a couple of weeks. This was in NSW.

  • +6

    Glad to see you found a home OP

    • +19

      Turn off SkyNews lmao

    • +6

      Read the OP. Power was not connected.

      • Point stands once power was connected, anything not working should be reported to landlord/ Property manager and should be rectified. The place should be functional when moving in after that tenant responsibility….

        • +2

          Which is what everyone else is saying, you said tenant has to replace it as they didn't note what wasn't working at the inspection. Which they couldn't have done as no power.

          • @Quantumcat: Where the hell did you get that from this sentence?

            "If it was working when you went in replace the bloody thing, if not Landlord needs to keep the place up to scratch."

            Quantumcat 20 hours 54 min agonew
            Which is what everyone else is saying, you said tenant has to replace it as they didn't note what wasn't working at the inspection. Which they couldn't have done as no power.

            • @fprjet:

              If it was working when you went in

              From the post, we know that they are not working on the first chance OP has to find out. So the "if" makes no sense as the post already says they are not working. The only way your "if" makes sense is if you think that OP could have known earlier. The only earlier time OP had the chance to look at the property was the inspection. And OP could not have found out whether the lights were working as there was no power.

              So you must have missed something in the OP. Either you missed that the lights aren't working (unlikely as that is what the post title says), or you missed that there was no power for the earlier time that the OP was able to see the property. The most logical is the latter one so that's what I assumed.

              Hope that helps.

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