Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Potential excessive maintenance requests?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by jins13, 9th Feb, 2017.

  1. jins13

    jins13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,084
    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi,

    Of course in a perfect world, we'll have a world where everything works in harmony with one another and everyone does the right thing, but that's a fallacy.

    Anyway, ever since I've had a new property manager looking after my IPs due to the previous property manager being away on mat leave, been experiencing a greater number of maintenance requests than usual. Maybe it's my bad luck and just a sheer luck of the draw.

    I do request for two quotes for a job unless it's something minor and the amount is small. I do know that friend who do rent out in the Northern beaches tells me that their managing agent excessively requests for things to be fixed on the landlord and makes it sound like it's tenant requested.

    It makes it hard when you can't exactly go to the home and pictures are not really telling you anything but happy to brainstorm with people on other possible strategies and it may be that it's just a bad run with maintenance requests for me!
     
  2. MyPropertyPro

    MyPropertyPro SE Qld Property Management & Investor Services Business Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    364
    Location:
    Australia
    This is a difficult one and there are two schools of thought:

    1. The PM's job is to act as a filter and to not ask the owner about every single little maintenance request and to just get them done. This is why there's a maximum amount on the agreement that allows your PM to have things done without any further consent. Having said that, even that section is treated in two different ways depending on either the PM's approach, the investor's approach, or a combination of both - either as a "don't contact me regardless and just get it done" amount, or "I still want to hear about it and authorise it but only use that maximum amount if I'm completely unavailable".

    OR

    2. The PM's job is to broker the relationship between you and the tenant and it's their obligation to report any and all maintenance requests, no matter how small. Whether or not the PM considers them minor/irrelevant/pedantic is not for them to decide as it's you as the owner who should provide instruction on whether or not you act on them. Of course, this is also a variable as some investors rely exclusively on the PM to make those sorts of decisions for them and put the question back onto them, "Well, do you think I need it done?" whilst others are possibly more experienced and make decisions and instruct the PM without PM input as to their merit.

    Now, whether or not you are receiving more maintenance requests could be either because your previous PM fell into group 1 (which you'd be able to tell as costs would be appearing on your statement), whether things are just breaking at the moment and it's bad luck (it happens to all of us and seems to come in waves!), whether your tenant has decided that a new PM will listen to their requests and action them as the previous wasn't either listening or even passing them on to you, or that the PM in general is more proactive in general with the upkeep of your property.

    There are many variables and really it comes down to the philosophy and procedures of the PM agency and you as the landlord and your expectations. Most importantly, maintenance should be budgeted for and whilst not a good thing, it also should be viewed in the context of upholding the value of your investment and your PM is there to help you do that. A poorly maintained property loses value very quickly so provided you're keeping within your expected maintenance budget, don't judge yourself, your tenant, your property or your PM too harshly. It's all part of the investment process. If you're starting to exceed it, have a conversation with your PM about preventative maintenance items and invest in some replacements, rather than repairs, to possibly lower your overall maintenance exposure in the medium term.

    Hope that helps :)
     
    gman65 and jins13 like this.
  3. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,280
    Location:
    Qld
    A lot depends on the overall condition of the property and the nature of the maintenance requests.

    You really are better to have a tenant who reports maintenance issues rather than let them become a bigger problem. There are many posts on this forum blaming tenants for not reporting issues in a timely fashion.

    Can you join the PM on one of the regular inspections? This is a good opportunity for you to assess the condition of the property and get an idea of what maintenance is likely to be needed.
    Marg
     
    gman65, Lemmy a fiver and jins13 like this.
  4. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    6,506
    Location:
    Sydney or NSW or Australia
    The PM is the filter - has there been anything extraordinary? Curtain tracks require oiling, door hinges worn out, window opacity increasing, lights don't work in the off position etc?
     
    Wall Street and jins13 like this.
  5. Lemmy a fiver

    Lemmy a fiver Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25th Dec, 2016
    Posts:
    49
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Marg's regular inspection opportunity makes a lot of sense if possible.
    I now normally go with the PM every 24 months.
    Last time I arrived was late afternoon after 3+ days of 35+ ish degree weather.
    Its a 1970 built unit, in a block of 6 in St.Kilda East.
    Sure.....it had a window mounted a/c in the living area. But until I went there after several hot days, I never knew it was running flat out but was totally inadequate for the floorspace in that sort of weather. It was almost as warm inside as it was outside at the time.
    Replaced it asap with a split system capable of cooling for the whole flat.
    Sometimes tenants don't tell you what's lacking. Whilst others do nothing but complain about everything.
    Best to see it sometimes for yourself if possible on occasion.
     
    Perthguy, Marg4000, HUGH72 and 2 others like this.
  6. jins13

    jins13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,084
    Location:
    Sydney
    Yes, been receiving those requests and also it didn't help when I was receiving some similar maintenance requests like my sister in law's IP.
     
  7. jins13

    jins13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,084
    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks guys, the benefit of the PC community to brainstorm for ideas! I think I need to really go to the inspections with the property manager so that way if there are any issues, I can identify it right away and can it resolved and be on top of the maintenance concerns.
     
    Marg4000 likes this.
  8. Magnet

    Magnet Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22nd Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    285
    Location:
    Sydney
    Is your property in Sydney's Northern Beaches? We have found that both previously Property Managers have been less than ideal and some tenants overly demanding. More so than any of our other properties in other locations. We have a good combo going at the moment though.
     
  9. JacM

    JacM VIC Buyer's Agent Business Member

    Joined:
    12th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    1,259
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I would expect the PM to report maintenance requests to the landlord, but to have also indulged in some troubleshooting where applicable. For instance (some examples are made up and some are real. Happy to provide Friday afternoon entertaining reading for PC readers) :

    Tenant says : The hotplates don't work.
    PM says : I see the hotplates in your property are a gas appliance, as is the heater. Is the heater working?
    Tenant says : No.
    PM says : Would you mind checking to see if the gas is on at the gas meter? (PM describes how).
    Tenant says : Oh wow, someone must have turned it off. I've turned it back on again. Thanks. The hotplates are working now.

    Tenant says : I'm so annoyed... we just moved in and the central heating doesn't work.
    PM says : Do the gas hot plates work?
    Tenant says : Yes
    PM says : OK the pilot light for the central heating has probably, because the gas was off in between tenancies. I'll seek landlord to send the plumber to light it.

    Tenant says : Can I please have a new curtain? The old one is torn.
    PM says : It was not torn when you moved in (and was a brand new curtain at that time, less than a year ago). Has it been damaged? For instance during the washing process? If so, tenant needs to replace it but it is helpful to know if a certain type of curtain cannot survive a washing machine so the landlord doesn't buy such products again in the future.

    Tenant says : Can I please have a new curtain ? The old one is torn.
    PM says : It was not torn when you moved in. I do see from my pictures that they are quite an old version of curtain though. How did it get damaged?
    Tenant says : The curtain is so fragile that it tore simply by me holding it to open the curtain. Little fabric fibres have been falling onto the floor for months. It is pretty annoying, I have to keep getting the vaccuum out to clean it up.
    PM says : Understood. It is a very old curtain, perhaps the fibres are disintegrating. I will speak to the landlord to seek a resolution. We will explore suitable curtain or blinds as possible replacements.

    Tenant says : The toilet is blocked.
    PM says : Firstly I notice that there are two toilets in the property. Until this problem is resolved, would you mind using only the other toilet. This will mean the plumber does not need to rush out in the middle of the night to help you. Also have you tried a plunger? Has anything that should not be flushed down the toilet (such as a child's toy) been flushed? We can send a plumber, however if the blockage has been caused by a foreign object, you will need to pay for the plumber's visit.

    Tenant says : The rangehood doesn't work.
    PM says : Referring to my pictures of the kitchen, the rangehood is a model that requires to be pulled forwards to work. Could you try that for me?

    Tenant says : The bedroom light doesn't work.
    PM says : Have you tried changing the lightglobe? These can be purchased in the electrical aisle at the supermarket, or in a hardware store such as Bunnings.

    Tenant says : We want a blind for the bathroom window.
    PM says : Can you help me understand the reasons why? The glass is frosted and the fence on the other side is quite high, is it a privacy issue?
    Tenant says : No. The sun comes in there and makes the house boiling hot. Also the sun is so bright that it's hard to do my make-up correctly in the morning.
    PM says : Understood. I will ask the landlord about adding a blind to that window that has block-out properties to assist with reduction of heat getting into the room.

    Tenant says : There are white worms coming out of the shower drain-hole.
    PM says : :eek: White worms? (PM gets worried because maggots are white.) OK, could you get a photo of them for me and either sms or email them through? This will help us identify precisely what it is and how to fix it. (Pic comes through and PM consults Google and checks his/her findings with a plumber over the phone...) OK that's the larvae of drain fly. This occurs when hair and soap debris gathers in the drain. Do you recall when you last cleaned the drain?
    Tenant says : Cleaning? What is this cleaning you speak of ?
    PM says : :eek: You will need to acquire drain cleaner (refer cleaning aisle of the supermarket) to resolve this. Could you please clean the drain cleaner, and let us know how that goes.

    :D