Maintenance Issues - Urgent and Non Urgent
What are Urgent / Emergency Repairs?
The Standard ACT Lease Agreement that applies to all residential leases in Canberra stipulates that tenants must notify the lessor / agent as soon as possible once they become aware of the need to rectify an urgent repair (sometimes called an emergency repair by real estate agencies). In turn, the lessor (or an agent on their behalf) must rectify those repairs as soon as practicable.
While the legislation does not prescribe the time limit for rectification, in most cases it would be reasonable to expect for urgent repairs be rectified within 24 hours of occurrence (pending trade labour and parts availability).
Standard Term 55 of the Agreement defines urgent repairs as follows. Urgent repairs in relation to the premises, or services or fixtures supplied by the lessor are listed below:
(a) a burst water service;
(b) a blocked or broken lavatory system;
(c) a serious roof leak;
(d) a gas leak;
(e) a dangerous electrical fault;
(f) flooding or serious flood damage;
(g) serious storm or fire damage;
(h) a failure of gas, electricity or water supply to the premises;
(i) the failure of a refrigerator supplied with the premises;
(j) a failure or breakdown of any service on the premises essential for hot water, cooking, heating or laundering;
(k) a fault or damage that causes the residential premises to be unsafe or insecure;
(l) a fault or damage likely to cause injury to person or property;
(m) a serious fault in any door, staircase, lift or other common area that inhibits or unduly inconveniences the tenant in gaining access to and use of the premises.
What about other types of maintenance?
Non-urgent maintenance. The ACT Standard Tenancy Agreement Term 55 states that the lessor ‘must maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair having regard for their condition at the start of the commencement of the tenancy agreement’. Term 57 clarifies that such repairs must be completed by the lessor within 4 weeks of being notified (unless otherwise agreed with the tenant). At Block Real Estate we pride ourselves in being able to seamlessly manage any maintenance requirements on behalf of the lessors. This gives the property owners the peace of mind that their valuable investment if being carefully looked-after, as well as making the tenants feel valued and looked after.
Preventative maintenance. We tend to agree with the old expression ‘prevention is better than cure’. It is important for any investor or landlord to consider the future preventative maintenance requirements and to factor them into the property lifecycle costs. At Block Real Estate we take note of any future maintenance requirements during the routine property inspections and communicate that information back to the homeowners as a part of the normal property management process. This allows our lessors to stay on top of any preventative maintenance issues that can potentially save thousands of dollars in future maintenance costs and prolong the ‘on market’ time of their investment properties.
Repairs and renovations. It is important to understand that all properties deteriorate due to age and fair wear and tear. As an investor it would be wise to budget for a property refresh every 5-7 years, which (depending on the rate of wear) could include; internal and external painting, replacement of carpets, replacement of window coverings, replacement of appliances and any major gardening and landscaping works. Below are the approximate lifespan guidelines for maintenance and replacement requirements in rental properties: