Keeping Tenants Happy #3: Repairing Differing Standpoints
8 January 2018

Keeping Tenants Happy #3: Repairing Differing Standpoints

Issues regarding repairs are probably at the centre of the tension which mars the relationship between owners and the tenants who occupy their rental properties. And it’s not surprising, as damage and repairs have a huge impact on both parties in the tenancy agreement. Baxton Property Management in Hobart suggests there are ways of getting round the issue. The main one is by trying to understand both sides of the situation. The other is to hand it over to specialist property managers who are experienced and objective in handling it.

Understanding the Tenant’s Position

For tenants, impaired functionality or damage at the rental premises can affect their comfort and enjoyment of the home they’re paying to stay in. It can also pose a threat to their safety in certain circumstances, as well as contributing to a widespread belief that they may lose their tenancy for reporting it.

In the tenant community a fear has built up that doing so could result in eviction soon afterwards. And if that doesn’t happen, they could have their names added to a tenancy blacklist, so lessening lessen their chance of finding a new rental. Or they could be denied a reference, or given a bad one, when they vacate. Where does the fear come from? Surveys based on questions posed to tenants as well as tenants’ forums and social media, suggest it’s based on true stories.

A Picture of Fear and Powerlessness

Allowing the benefit of the doubt, it’s fair to assume that not all landlords, and not even a majority of them, are responsible for this horror picture that has been created. But survey statistics show that these pictures are very real to the majority of tenants. And it makes them feel insecure and powerless in the place they view as home, albeit temporarily.

As a consequence, it’s making most Australian tenants avoid reporting repairs. In fact, 30% of them claim they live in rental homes that need ordinary repairs – and 8 percent say the repairs required are urgent. But they keep quiet about it, because of fear of the possible consequences.

Fortunately, Hobart tenants have special protection. It’s the capital city of the only Australian state that prevents tenants from being evicted without reason. However the protection doesn’t cover the less obvious forms of retribution, like owners not renewing the lease and raising the rent if they do.

Where the landlord stands

As damage shows no respect for office hours, owners share the same disruptive consequences, with calls and reports interrupting their lives any time of the day. And they have extra worries, too. These include the effect long-term damage or functionality failure could have on their property and therefore their ROI, and the short term effects repair costs could have on their cash flow.

Benefits of an understanding

Creating a relationship with tenants that allows them to feel free to point out possible damage as soon as they notice it, could go a long way towards relieving tenants’ fear and insecurity. At the same time being alerted to maintenance issues before the situation progresses too far down the slippery slope towards major damage, can avoid higher repair costs.

Being encouraged to take an interest in the state of the property can also contribute to tenants taking better care of the property, as well as increase the likelihood of their staying longer. And long-term tenants provide a stable income, without the costs and interrupted income flow involved in finding new tenants.

Property Managers can help

Defusing the tension in the landlord/tenant situation regarding repairs involves respect, trust, communication and response. Landlords and owners go a long way towards meeting these needs by responding quickly and positively when tenants report a problem, so that it can be dealt with before it gets worse. The next step is to get the repairs done as soon as possible. Keep the tenants up to date regarding the repair process, and be sure to check with them afterwards to ensure the repairs have been done properly.

Involving the services of a professional property management company like Baxton in Hobart brings years of experience and a professional approach to the situation. This can diffuse the emotional tension that sometimes enters the private landlord/tenant relationship, leading to disruptions and disputes. For more information on how property management can calm these and other rental waters, visit Baxton on line.



#1 – Australia’s Property Management Specialists

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The information contained in this article is based on the authors opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.

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