As with most things in life we always feel that we have the right outlook, perspective and opinions and are sometimes too caught up to see the other side of the story. Having been a Tenant, Landlord and Property Manager myself it is easy to understand why there is an ongoing Tenant vs Landlord mentality especially when it comes to repairs and maintenance.
First lets talk about the Tenant perspective, it is their home first and foremost. They clean it, they sleep in it, they decorate it with their belongings so if something needs fixing to them it is urgent – regardless of whether or not the Residential Tenancies Act deems it an urgent or non urgent repair.
From the Landlords point of view, they see the house as an investment and depending on what kind of Landlord they are, might feel that they can hold off on certain repairs to a time that may be more suitable for them financially. To give you an example, a Tenant notifies their Property Manager that there is a broken blind in their bedroom which is affecting their sleep as light is coming in. It is not classified as an urgent repair and the Landlord is not in a rush to get it fixed however it is preventing the Tenant from having a good nights sleep.
The Property Manager’s role is to pass on the information from the Tenant to the Landlord, have it assessed, arrange quotes and discuss the repair with the Landlord for their consideration. It is the Landlords decision on when the non-urgent repairs are carried out as they must approve the expense, however the Landlord is responsible for ensuring that the premises is maintained in good order and if the Landlord does not carry out the repairs within 14 days, the Tenant may contact Consumer Affairs to request an inspector visit the property and fill out a report of the works required.
To clear up any confusion the Residential Tenancies Act deems the following as ‘Urgent Repairs’:
- Burst water service
- Blocked or broken toilet system
- Serious roof leak
- Gas leak
- Dangerous electrical fault
- Flooding or serious flood damage
- Serious storm or fire damage
- Failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by Landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
- Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
- Any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
- An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
- A serious fault in a lift or staircase.
So having had experience in each and every one of these people’s shoes, the most important aspect of dealing with these issues is communication.
Every party involved has rights and responsibilities, the communication between the Tenant and Property Manager through to the communication between the Property Manager and the Landlord is paramount to resolving the concerns quickly and efficiently. We all know there is nothing more frustrating than having something that needs to be done and not having anything done about it.
- Property Managers please don’t ignore calling the Tenant back- even if you don’t have an update it’s just courtesy to let them know you haven’t forgotten about the request.
- Landlords, please be considerate to the Tenant and try and get the maintenance attended to promptly.
- Tenants, please be understanding that your concerns will be addressed, patience is a virtue.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this post. If you have any thoughts on this topic please free to leave a comment or give me a call.