Maintenance – the right advice at the right time - Changing Places

Recently we’ve been looking at the 14 Fundamentals Of Effective Property Management with Changing Places CEO and Founder, Cameron Fisher.


Last week we looked at Rental Payments – cash flow is paramount, this week we discuss Maintenance – the right advice at the right time.


In the main, landlords are not keen to spend any money on maintenance but sometimes a stitch in time saves nine, so what I would say to you is, again, listen to what your property manager is recommending. When conducting periodic inspections, we may see a broken roof tile that needs replacing. If it is not replaced then you may later find internal roof and ceiling damage from water leaking into the roof cavity. We inspect properties all the time, so, if we see something that is starting to go wrong, it is best to get on top of it straight away rather than let it get worse. We use excellent qualified tradespeople, those that we use time and time again. It is of the utmost importance that they are properly insured. This is vital because if something is fixed, but still faulty, and the tenant sustains an injury from electrocution or the roof falls in for example, it is imperative that that tradesperson is insured to protect you from possible legal action. If you have a plumber, an electrician or other tradesperson you would like to use, no problem. All you need to do is let your agent know, and as long as they are properly qualified and insured, your agent should be happy to use them.


It can also be said some agents are too quick to act on every tenant’s maintenance request. Leases state a tenant is allowed to spend up to a certain amount, as determined by the Act, for emergency repairs. This can be substantial: that amount is $1800 in Victoria. Often enough, these repairs happen out of hours and most property managers don’t provide their mobile phone numbers to tenants, rather an answering service with tradespeoples’ phone numbers. At Changing Places we believe in providing a better service to tenants as it saves our landlords money in turn. Our office phone number and main property manager phone numbers are answered by a senior property manager after hours and on weekends. Whilst we would prefer to not have the disruption we have seen too many cases where landlords have incurred unnecessary expense as a result of a tenant believing a situation is an emergency when it is not. Some tenants are not sure what an emergency is. They will ring you after hours to tell you the taps are dripping. “Well okay how long has it been dripping for, we may ask? Two weeks is the reply. Why are you calling at 9 o’clock at night to tell me the tap is dripping?” They then want us to get someone out right there and then!


Related Article: How To Find A Great Tenant


Emergencies do happen: hot water services blow up, the heating unit malfunctions so we try and take the calls because sometimes it might be just the pilot light that has gone out. To give you an example, we have had many cases where a tenant believes there is a major electricity fault. Fortunately, by answering the phones after hours we can determine the full extent of the situation. Often the emergency has been a simple tripped power switch or the blackout of a whole suburb. So, as simple as it sounds, we might ask a tenant to go out of their apartment or home and see if their neighbours lights are out or we will have them check the fuse box and have the problem solved without the high expense of a tradesperson after hours, which can be very costly. By simply being prepared to answer the phone after hours, the landlord achieves a big saving.


The checking of smoke detectors yearly is also a very important procedure. Failure to do so leaves you open to litigation if there is a fire. Agents use specialised companies to check smoke detectors annually. You are not obliged to use this service but the agent will advise you that the onus will be on you if they fail.


If you have warranties on your properties or appliances, it is important that your agent has a copy of them. You don’t want a situation where a property manager sends out a plumber to fix a broken hot water system when it was actually covered under warranty and if the property manager had gone to the manufacturer, it was would have been fixed free of charge, saving you money. It is crucial that the property manager has all the information available on your property to make your property management experience a real success.


Your property manager should make sure maintenance issues are handled in your best interests in the quickest and most inexpensive way.

Click here for more information on property management or call 1300 130 998.



Follow: Subscribe to this post's comments