What can I expect when I request a rental repair?

Whether it’s a tap that starts leaking or a hot water heater that fails unexpectedly, every rental property will require repairs and maintenance from time to time.

As the rental occupier, flagging those required repairs is part of your responsibility, so what should you expect once that repair has been requested?

Two different types

First up, it’s important to note there are two different types of repairs:

  • Routine repairs where something goes a little bit awry but doesn’t require urgent attention; and…
  • Emergency repairs when something you can’t reasonably live without breaks or no longer works as it should.

For example, a leaking tap would be a routine repair while that broken hot water system we mentioned earlier is considered an emergency.

What to expect with emergency repairs

When it comes to emergency repairs, they need to be responded to swiftly, with most states and territories requiring action to be taken within 24-48 hours.

And the first port of call for contact is your property manager to notify them of the problem.

If something breaks outside of business hours, the property management agency may have an after hours number for you to reach out to.

Meanwhile, your rental agreement should also include an emergency contact list of who to call if something major needs repair urgently.

If none of these contacts can be reached, in most states and territories the renter can then engage a suitable tradesperson to complete the repair up to a certain approved amount.

Again, the legislation varies depending on what state and territory you’re in and responding to a repair might not necessarily mean the problem is totally remedied within that 24-48 hour period. Domain has a comprehensive guide on that here.

What to expect with non-urgent repairs

As mentioned, non-urgent repairs refer to general things that were once working at the property but no longer function as they should.

And it’s important to note that there’s a difference here between requesting a repair and asking for an improvement.

For example, if a dishwasher breaks, that’s considered a non-urgent repair that the property owner should fix to bring the property back to the standard it was in when the rental agreement was signed.

However, requesting the installation of a dishwasher if there wasn’t one there previously would be considered an upgrade that the property owner may or may not undertake at their discretion.

Non-urgent repairs should be made in writing either via an email to your property manager or by filling out a form that is usually found on the property management agency’s website or designated app.

Generally, the property owner has a specific time frame to respond to this repair request, but this time frame varies from state to state.

The rent still needs to be paid

The renter cannot withhold their rent while awaiting requested repairs, so even if a repair is taking a long time you can’t stop paying rent or reduce the amount you pay without the owner agreeing to a rent reduction.

That said, if the property owner does not meet their obligations to repair the property, you may be able to apply to the relevant tribunal to end the rental agreement without penalty.

How we can help

Our experienced property managers pride themselves on establishing great relationships with both rental occupiers and owners.

We manage every property as if it were our own and you can learn more about our property management services here.

Alternatively, if you are looking to rent a property, you can view the properties we currently have available here.