We’ve all been there. Your home needs emergency maintenance of some sort and you feel ill-equipped to cope. We’ve exhausted our friend’s list, and their friends’ list, and we’ve scoured the Yellow Pages for anything “emergency <insert appropriate trade here>” related. Imagine now you’re renting… You have the added stress of who will cover the costs. How do I log a service? How does one go about obtaining emergency maintenance on a rental property?

What to do when something goes wrong

If you’re renting and something goes wrong, there are a number of options you have to get them rectified. Your first step should be finding your contract and/or your rental agreement. All the pertinent information should be there: who you contact for emergency maintenance, who covers the costs, how you go about lodging a maintenance request and so on.

If the information is not there (and there’s a tiny chance it won’t be) then contact the real estate agency or the rental property manager that you’re renting your home from, or the landlord if you have their details; in writing is best. Even if the emergency isn’t directly affecting you, you could be liable for any damage it causes if you fail to tell someone. A landlord only needs to keep the property in a “reasonable state of repair, taking into account the age of the property” and so it really needs to be an “emergency” in order for them to be obliged to fix it. You’re obligated to tell them right away of any damage or repairs and the landlord is not obligated to fix any damage you caused.

Luckily, the law tells us what is an emergency that requires urgent fixing, and what is not as urgent. If your emergency falls into the first category the landlord must repair it straight away. If the landlord does not fix the urgent repairs in a timely manner you may do it yourself. You can claim the expenses from them (up to $1000). Note that criteria do apply. When you and your landlord can’t seem to agree, you can always go through the Fair Trading tenancy complaint service.

Of course, if you’re renting through Aspect Estate Agents, you can utilise our maintenance request form using our tenant portal. It is an online site where you log your request, with photos if possible, and our tradespeople will attend in a timely manner to assess and repair any non-urgent concerns. Phone through any urgent repairs and we will deal with them as soon as possible.