Your tenants could be the perfect choice, pay their rent regularly, and take good care of your house, unit or flat. But things do happen, and they don’t usually happen at the best of moments. It’s Murphy’s Law, perhaps. Baxton Property Management warns against the possible pitfalls of trying to handle repairs and maintenance at your investment property by yourself.
It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault
You might be in the boarding queue for the trip of your lifetime, or sitting proudly waiting to see your son’s graduation at the uni. Then the phone rings. There’s a problem at your rental property, and your tenant needs it fixed right away. A pipe might have burst, and there’s flooding in the kitchen, or a howling wind can have blown away part of the roof, and the rain is pouring in. It’s nobody’s fault, but it’s also not something that you can delay or avoid.
It’s what classifies as an emergency repair, one which involves damage to the property. In terms of the tenancy regulations, a landlord has to respond immediately. If you can’t be contacted or don’t respond immediately, and this could result in further damage, your tenant has the right to organise and pay for the repairs to be done, and you will have to pay back the costs within 14 days. However, leaving it to your tenant is not something to make a habit of – it can lead to disputes afterwards. And the contractors the tenant contacts may not be the cheapest or the best.
Urgent repairs are those that affect the supply of essential services – required items like power, heating, water, sewerage and a working stove, for example. Because of the urgency of these repairs, you are expected to respond and organise the repairs within 24 hours.
General repairs are your responsibility in terms of the tenancy laws which require the owner, landlord or agent to maintain the property in the same condition it was in when the tenant took occupancy. This is subject to normal wear and tear, and provided the damage was not caused by the tenant.
Fortunately, not all repairs are urgent. However, there is still a time limit on how long you have in which to repair it. General repairs have to be carried out with 28 days of notification from the tenant.
Pitfalls of handling your own repairs
Trying to do all the repairs and maintenance jobs that fall within your obligation as an owner, does not always make sense. Even if you do all the work yourself, you are not necessarily saving money in the long term. And it takes up a lot of your time, which in itself has a value.
As you have not paid out for the labour, you cannot claim it as a tax deduction on your rental property income. And if you choose to bring in casual labour, you could face a number of risks. Unless you hire reputable contractors (who could charge a hefty fee), you may find yourself paying cash to a handyman, which again leaves you unable to claim it on tax, and disputes could arise over quotes and quality of work. And if there should be an accident on site you might find yourself liable for injuries not covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which larger firms usually have in place.
Handling the management side of your rental property can not only take up a good deal of time, but can put added stresses on your relationships and lifestyle because repair problems can crop up at any time. Take a look at how the professional property managers do it and the service packages they have for taking these stresses off your shoulders. Visit the Baxton Property Management website today.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
#1 – Australia’s Property Management Specialists