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Who's responsibility is this charge?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by TMNT, 6th Nov, 2015.

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  1. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    Got a bit of an interesting situation, not that of a big deal but would like some opinions

    Tenant moves in, tells agent the HWS isnt working,

    agent calls plumber, plumber turns up, discovers its just switched off

    call out fee and labour charge,

    agent says its a grey area and since it was technically off when they first moved in, they cant be charged.....
     
    Last edited: 6th Nov, 2015
  2. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    We have invoiced tenants for things like that before. If they pay all good.
    We've also held onto invoices like that on file where tenant has refused to pay and will challenge it as bond claim at end of lease.

    The downfall is that if you push too hard then tenants will be too scared to call for real maintenance issues.

    Technically tenant is liable but if they refuse then onus is on PM to prove it or claim it later.
     
  3. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    @TMNT would it have been a lot of trouble for your agent to confirm the HWS wasn't working prior to calling a plumber? What are you paying the agent for?
     
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  4. Bargain Hunter

    Bargain Hunter Well-Known Member

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    If I moved in to a place and something didn't work the first thing I would do is check that it's turned on, but often tenants don't and an unexpected invoice arrives in your inbox.

    I'd give it back to the PM and have them pass the invoice onto the tenant, usually they pay however as per Xenia's advice if they don't pay you may be able to hold it over till later.

    Regards

    Andrew
     
  5. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Some of the onus is on the PM to check common items before engaging trades. Is it turned on at the board, is the pilot light lit, is there a booster switch, etc etc

    If none of this was done the PM called out a trade unncessecarily and should pay it themselves in my book. Its what the owner pays them their commission for. Poor training or operations manual or just no braincells on the PM side shouldn't be the owners cost, and likely the tenants either.
     
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  6. Ace in the Hole

    Ace in the Hole Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Agree, the PM should know this stuff....
    I think the PM should call the landlord too in these cases, in case the landlord knows anything about the situation and to get confirmed approval to send a plumber in.
     
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  7. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    this is not for my property, but in my experience, getting a Agent to pay for their mistake is like getting blood from a stone in my opinion,

    in my years of PM, ive never had an agent say oops our fault, we will rectify,

    anyway, some common sense would have prevaled too.

    as far as im aware, it goes unde the emergency repair category which is short for, agent can do whatever they want at any cost and dont and wont tell the landlord anything until you get your statement
     
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  8. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    Some people have no technical understanding or idea what to look for, like the red oil light on the car dash etc.

    My IPs have solar hot water, tenant complained water wasn't hot enough, I asked if they were using the booster, what's that? There's a switch on the wall there above the kitchen stink, switch it on and a red light next to the switch will come on, Oh is that what that's for.
    Of Course this was explained when taking the place on, but I guess there's allot of other stuff going on for them so it's over the head.
     
  9. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    exactly, to be honest, I didnt even know there was a switch on a hws, and ive replaced gazillions of them (damn ferals stealing hws),

    however, being a tenant, especially when I move in, and it wasnt working, the first logical thing I would assume is that since im new, there might be a switch, and if I couldnt find it, id call the agent.

    but I guess common sense isnt what it used to be!
     
  10. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    I always use an agent to find tenants then self manage after that. Last tenant was with the agent at handover. She checked everything was working with the tenant... no hot water. Ran through the usual start up for the HWS but no go. Called us and my investment partner went over. Ran through the usual start up. No go. I read him the instructions from the manual over the phone and we got it going. There was a troubleshooting section and it worked.

    My point is that our agent: 1) tried to get it going 2) when that failed, called us, not a plumber.

    You are right. I would just pay the bill. But I would let the agent know a) I'm not happy b) they are slack and should get their act together

    I have had trouble like this with another agent. She turned up for a home open. Couldn't locate the front door key. Called a locksmith to break into the house and cut a key. Here is what the locksmith said to her over the phone: I want you to take every key off the key ring, try it and if it doesn't work, put it on the ground. Agent: oh, here it is. The locksmith is an awesome dude and saved me a call out which I would have had to pay due to my agent's stupidity. Unbelievable. There is a saying in sales though: 'you can make a sale or you can make a customer'. Guess who I go to in Melbourne if I need anything lock related? ;) :)
     
  11. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    I agree with this - ask the simple questions, is it turned on?

    Also, the plumber/ electrician could ask these questions.
     
  12. Richard Williams

    Richard Williams Buyers Agent - Southeast QLD Business Member

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    Exactly, poor property manager. I'd be asking the tenants to pay.
     
  13. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    Why are you penalising the tenants for a poor property manager?
     
  14. Richard Williams

    Richard Williams Buyers Agent - Southeast QLD Business Member

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    Good point actually :p