Rental Maintenance – How it works

February 13, 2019

When things go wrong in your rental property, here’s what to do

When something needs repairing in your rental property, whether you’re the tenant or landlord it can be very stressful. As a landlord, rental maintenance is when your investment is most vulnerable, and as a tenant, having to wait to get approval for repairs can be frustrating. We recognise both circumstances which is why we do our absolute best to ensure the process is smooth and everybody has an understanding of their rights.

There are different types of repairs, however the most common type are non-urgent repairs. To make sure we have solid evidence that a request has been made, all maintenance requests must be in writing and the easiest form of communication is email. Email your property manager, cc the main agency email address if you like, and provide a detailed description of your request/required repair and provide photographs if you can. From this point, the property manager will contact the landlord and inform them of the request, seeking approval to get a quote from the appropriate tradesperson. Sometimes the landlord may have their own contact, and if the property manager is happy to, that contact can be used. Non-urgent repairs require a 14 day turnaround time for the landlord to fix the problem.

The other type of repair is urgent repairs. An urgent repair is classed as any of the following:

  • 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 a 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

Urgent repairs are required to be actioned immediately. If a tenant cannot make contact to get the repair attended to immediately, they have the right to organise their own tradesperson to repair the issue, as long as the amount does not exceed $1800. Should this situation occur the tenant is to be reimbursed by the landlord within 7 days, or might choose to pass the invoice directly on to them instead.

Some main things to keep in mind during the rental maintenance process is that tenants still must continue paying their rent whilst waiting for repairs to be fixed; legislation is quite strict and will rarely allow a tenant to stop paying rent. Repairing maintenance issues is the landlord’s responsibility, however if the damage is caused by the tenant, the landlord can request for them to pay. Lastly, communication regarding maintenance should be in written form (email) as a way to keep track of what has been said/organised and to hold people accountable.

Although the process may seem complicated, your property manager is here to help you through and guide the way. If you are ever unsure about certain repairs in different situations, you can get in contact with your property manager or search Consumer Affairs Victoria.

*Disclosure: information retrieved from Consumer Affairs Victoria

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