It is very important for you as a Landlord and also as a Tenant, to know the difference between Routine Maintenance and Emergency Repairs.  They are two very different things!

We have outlined the difference between Routine Maintenance and Emergency Repairs and how they should be handled.  If the maintenance and or repairs are not carried out correctly, you put yourself, Tenants, their guests and your Property Manager at risk and potentially set yourself up for costly expenses down the track.

Routine Maintenance is exactly that – routine.  This is day to day maintenance such as a fly screen or a washer in a tap or loose light fitting needing to be replaced or fixed.  It is general maintenance to keep your property in good working order.

Attending to Routine Maintenance is not only beneficial for the long term condition of your property and finances but also keeps your Tenants happy.  Leaving Routine Maintenance unattended results in a high turnover of unhappy Tenants and opens the potential for these items to turn into Emergency Repairs which can be costly.

Emergency Repairs: There are a specific list of items that are considered Emergency Repairs as outlined with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).  These items are listed as part of Orbit Property’s Tenancy Kit for Tenant’s reference.

  • a burst water service or a serious water service leak
  • a blocked or broken lavatory service
  • 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 to the property
  • a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on premises 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 resident of the property
  • a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area or premises that unduly inconveniences a resident in gaining access to, or using, the property

The time frame in which an Emergency Repair would be required to be attended to would be, by definition, as soon as possible.

The tenant must notify their Property Manager of the need for an Emergency Repair.  Under QLD legislation, should the Property Manager be unavailable the Tenant can contact the Emergency Repairer as listed on their Tenancy Agreement.  Should the Tenant fail to be able to contact the Property Manager and or the Emergency Repairer, the Tenant can arrange a suitably qualified tradesperson to carry out the repair.  The Tenant can then pay the repairer directly and pass on the invoice to the Property Manager for the Landlord to reimburse the cost or they can get the repairer to invoice the property directly.  This must be reimbursed to the Tenant within seven (7) days.  The emergency repair must not exceed the value of two (2) weeks rent.  Should the Property Manager or Landlord not agree about the Emergency Repair or the Tenant not be reimbursed within 7 days, an application to QCAT for a ruling would need to be made.

Source: RTA

Anita Genrich – Orbit Property