Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs?

As a property investor you need to become comfortable with the idea that you will need to pay for maintenance or repairs relating to your property from time to time.

Repairs that are proven to be the fault of the tenant are deemed to be the tenants responsibility.

There are two types of repairs as described in legislation that are entirely a landlord’s responsibility: urgent repairs and routine repairs.

Urgent repairs require immediate action by both the managing agent and the landlord. As described in legislation, urgent repairs are defined as:

  • A burst water service or a serious water service leak.
  • A blocked or broken lavatory service.
  • A serious roof leak.
  • A gas leak.
  • A dangerous electrical fault.
  • Flooding or serious flood damage.
  • Serious storm, fire or impact damage.
  • A failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the property.
  • A failure or breakdown of an essential service or hot water, cooking or heating appliance.
  • A fault or damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure.
  • A fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a resident of the property.
  • A serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area or premises that unduly inconveniences a resident in gaining access to, or using, the property.

All other repairs apart from those above are considered by legislation to be routine repairs. These may include anything from loose fixtures or fittings to faulty air conditioners or garage remotes.

Conclusion

Investors should budget for things to go wrong so they have the ability to act fast when they do. A good tip is to give your property manager an expenditure limit that you would be happy to pay if there was the need for an urgent repair so they don’t need to wait for your permission before engaging tradesmen. These limits can range from $250 – $1000 depending on what you as a landlord are comfortable with paying if and when these circumstances arise.

There have been numerous cases in tribunals where tenants have been awarded considerable compensation for the loss of certain amenities so delaying or neglecting repairs and maintenance at your investment property can be costly.