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Urgent repairs are often a hot topic as the definition often means one thing to a tenant and another to a property investor.
The definition of urgent or emergency repairs are set out in legislation which mandates what constitutes an emergency repair and who is responsible for arranging and paying for the repair.
Emergency repairs can be broadly defined as a repair that affects a tenant’s standard of living or safety, such as a blocked toilet; dangerous electrical fault; damages caused by storm, flood or fire; the failure of essential services; and whether the issue is life threatening.
When an emergency or urgent repair is referred to a property manager, they make an assessment of whether the repair is urgent based upon the definition under The Act and will report it immediately to you for authorisation to appoint a contractor.
Who is responsible for repairs? Section From the RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority) Website ;
The property manager/owner is responsible for ensuring the property is fit to live in and in a good state of repair. The tenant must notify them of any repairs needed.
If a tenant, or their guest, damages the property, they may have to pay for repairs.
Example 1. If a tenant breaks a window by throwing a ball through it, they are responsible and have to pay for repairs.
Example 2. If a window falls out of the frame, and breaks, due to ageing putty that may be fair wear and tear and the property manager/owner may have to pay.
The property manager/owner generally carries out any repairs or organises someone to do so.
There are 2 kinds of repairs:
routine, and emergency (general tenancies only).
The property manager/owner must carry out repairs within a reasonable time and comply with the entry rules.
There are no rules about emergency repairs in rooming accommodation (apart from entry rules) and the tenant must not arrange emergency repairs.
So What are Emergency repairs??
The tenant should contact the property manager/owner or the nominated repairer (listed on the tenancy agreement) about the problem. It is a good idea to put the request in writing as evidence of notification.
If they cannot be contacted, the tenant can arrange for a qualified person to carry out emergency repairs to a maximum value of 2 weeks rent.
Emergency repairs are:
- a burst water service or a serious water service leak
- a blocked or broken toilet
- a serious roof leak
- a gas leak
- a dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm, fire or impact damage
- a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
- a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the property for hot water, cooking or heating
- a fault or damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure
- a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a tenant
- a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of the property that unduly inconveniences a tenant in gaining access to, or using, the property.
All other repairs are considered routine repairs.