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Landlord not carrying out maintenance - SA

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by BennEznElle, 1st Sep, 2016.

  1. BennEznElle

    BennEznElle Well-Known Member

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    18th Jun, 2015
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    Location:
    Adelaide
    Hi all,

    This is a question from a tenant point of view as we are currently renting so I can see the issue from both sides.

    We put in a maintenance request on Monday 8th August as our dishwasher was not working and had the tech guy come out on Friday the 12th. He basically told me that the motor was dead an it was uneconomical to repair so he would be recommending it get replaced and sent off a quote to the agent straight away. Now granted this was at 430 on a Friday afternoon, but I would expect that the agent would action this on Monday morning. The tech guy actually said if you don't have a new one by the next Friday call the agent.

    Anyway, we are now 3 weeks down the road, I have spoken to the agent on numerous occasions and have been advised initially that they have had trouble getting quotes from the company (okay fair enough i can understand that), now its a warranty claim (again fair enough) but being nearly 4 weeks since the maintenance request was raised and 3 weeks since the tech guy came out, I am sick of doing dishes!!

    So the problem is I just want the thing fixed but obviously can't just go out and do it. I am looking at issuing a Form 4 to the agent, but I don't want to terminate the tenancy if they do not complete it within the 7 days. Am I being unreasonable? What steps should I be taking?

    Would appreciate some advice @Xenia @D.T. @Ricky Adelaide
     
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  2. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    4/136 The Parade Norwood, South Australia
    My dishwasher broke a few months ago and dishes stacked up to the ceiling. It was a nightmare so I do sympathise.

    The bottom line is that landlords do not like replacing dishwashers. They may be stalling by asking for multiple quotes etc... As a tenant this is not your problem.

    The law will see 2 weeks as reasonable. After that you are entitled to apply for compensation for not having a dishwasher. $30-$50/ week in rent reduction are the amounts I've seen in SA for these circumstances.

    I would approach the agent and ask for compensation until fixed. This would spur them on. You will get it anyway if you applied for it.

    You can breach the landlord but need to be clear on what you are asking. Fix this or the consequences will be .... What? Compensation, termination of lease? What?

    I would first start by negotiating a price reduction in rent directly with the agent.

    If they don't give that to you, I would personally wait till end of lease and ask for a reduction then. Keep all records and dates. You will get it - they are trigger happy with awarding compensation to tenants.

    As an aside. I can't stand it when trades people talk to tenants and make assumptions - ie you should have one by this Friday. Sure they can put one in if given the job order but are working with an agency on behalf of the landlord who has not yet made that descision yet. It's not their house or their choice and the landlord is paying them not the tenant. As a PM I would be blasting the hell out of the trades person by now. I tell mine to work in silence or they cause issues. But that's just me.
     
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  3. BennEznElle

    BennEznElle Well-Known Member

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    Adelaide
    Thanks for your comments Xenia.

    I do tend to agree with your point about the tradie, as a landlord I know that it has to go to the agent then to the landlord for approval then back to the agent and then back to the tradie to actually get the work done, so there are lots of links in the chain!
     
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  4. Ricky Adelaide

    Ricky Adelaide PM in Adelaide -Elizabeth Salisbury Modbury Business Member

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    All valid Xenia,

    Only question I would raise in addition to this, is how old is the dishwasher? If it is a quite new or still in warranty they owner may not be inclined to replace as the manufacture may be doing this as part of the warranty but if this the case that should be quite clear that is what is happening - including time lines etc.

    If its not a warranty issue I would have thought you should have had letting you know they were getting quotes and would be following up with you on that Friday after working through quotes with owner. At that stage they should have had an install date. As an agent I would think it would be unreasonable for you expect compensation if you had your agent act as I described above and I would be forthcoming with you about that if you were my tenant and had asked. But given how things have played out so far in your case I would totally agree with Xenia about the compensation as it sounds like either the agent or the owner are slow balling things- which is not what you would expect if your an otherwise good tenant.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10th Oct, 2016
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  5. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Ricky a couple of years ago I had the displeasure of a compensation claim through tribunal for a warrantee issue with an appliance.

    It took a couple of months to get it fixed. We were able to prove that our office was proactively chasing up the manufactures every second day. The tenant had the manufacturers number too.

    They discounted the claim down by 2 weeks to allow for reasonable time and awarded compensation for the remaining period.

    They don't care if it's a warrantee issue, the tenant is paying rent for that appliance and they need to have it working or be entitled to compensation.

    We were able to then recoup some money back for landlord through bond claim for other things but that is not the point for this.
     
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  6. Ricky Adelaide

    Ricky Adelaide PM in Adelaide -Elizabeth Salisbury Modbury Business Member

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    Not much you can do if the tenant pushes the issue other than try to show what you have done and why like you have if the tenants willing to show good will (something to talk about with the tenant well before then). You are right that if the tenant is to take it that far, we know how it would normally play out as sometimes we also wont/cant compromise on issues. But in saying that, if the relationship has been managed correctly, you can normally lower the odds of this kind of situation(not always as you have just pointed out). If its looking like its going to be a on-going issue for a extended period due to delays, you can go to the tenant beforehand (i would only do this if I know the repair or replacement is going to be excessive and I would do this as early as possible) and get a mutually agreed cheaper amount of compensation or alternative arrangement in place - have had something as simple as a tv antenna in the past which ended up being a win/win as far as the owner was concerned. I dare say you have tired this on that occasion and it hasnt worked, we all have "that tenant" that knows their "rights" and you wont get around until you move them on or the situation is resolved. If it comes to going to tribunal then so be it. Its part of dealing with these situations and sometimes you cant avoid the worst outcome but our actions throughout the processes just have to give us the best possible chance of getting a win for our owners.

    I would be very interested to know what your process to this situation was prior to the claim, and if you made any changes moving forward. After any tribunal hearing where the reason for being there is not really "main-stream" we find out so much about our processes and find out so much about our team across the board.
     
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  7. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Ricky we now do as you stated, offer a small compensation and try to manage the relationship with the tenant - not always Bullet proof nor transparent.

    Property management is about managing crisis as best you can and trying to prevent it occurring in the first place.

    You and I need to have a good chat over a double shot espresso some time. Not this week, it's nuts in my office at the moment.
     
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  8. Ricky Adelaide

    Ricky Adelaide PM in Adelaide -Elizabeth Salisbury Modbury Business Member

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    South Australia

    I know the feeling, I wanted to come to your event last Tuesday and simply got run off my feet. Completely agree and happy to catch up when we both get a breather :)
     
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  9. BennEznElle

    BennEznElle Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the comments guys. Just to update the situation.

    After speaking to the agent last Thursday, the 1st, I was advised that they were getting quotes etc, and it would just need to be approved by the landlord. As of Wednesday we hadn't heard anything, so I called the agent and left a message. Come Thursday (yesterday) afternoon, we still hadn't heard from the agent, so we issued a form 4 to the agent via email. Wasn't what I really wanted to do, but needed to get the issue fixed.

    So, surprise, I had a call form the agent at 9am this morning telling me that the dishwasher was ordered last Monday and that they were waiting for delivery. Have now had a call from teh plumber and its getting installed at 8am on Monday, so I'm glad we have a result.

    I guess my biggest frustration was that if the agent had rung, or sent a quick email saying its been ordered, just waiting on delivery, then we wouldn't have got this far as we would have seen that the problem was trying to be resolved. Its all good for the agent to communicate with the landlord, but the tenant should be kept informed of the progress too in my opinion. It's hard being on the other side of the fence!!

    So my other question and probably my reluctance to issue a Form 4 in the first place, is, is the agent now likely to be harder on us as tenants or not look as favourably on us, even though we were just exercising our rights? Because I am sure that we would be breached at the first opportunity if we were behind on rent.
     
  10. Balman

    Balman Well-Known Member

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    Be rest assured as a landlord we have similar issues with many agents. With some agents until you use more legal jargon and ask for licencee details etc you will not hear back for weeks. Its fair to say as a landlord you want your good tenants to be happy (so they don't move out) so repairs and maintainance should be carried out asap where possible.

    My best experience so far in Adelaide has been with @D.T. who is quick to respond and resolve where need be.
     
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