Property managers who fail to talk their clients into quickly authorising maintenance could be opening up the door to lawsuits.
PPM Group managing director Debbie Palmer told RPM that property managers shouldn’t just highlight the maintenance issue to the client, but focus primarily on the consequences of inaction.
“This could be as simple as creating an unhappy tenant who may choose to vacate the property at the end of the tenancy or a tenant taking control to action the repairs if it is an emergency,” she said.
“The tenant may end up seeking compensation or even face potential risk of injury that could cost your client thousands in a lawsuit.”
Ms Palmer said landlords need to be educated from the outset of the listing presentation about the importance of promptly attending to maintenance.
“Be proactive and [take] the landlord through establishing a maintenance and renovation budget with them so they can put a little extra aside each month,” she said.
“Ultimately, if they are refusing to attend to maintenance, it may be necessary to send a firm letter, followed by potentially putting them on notice to terminate the management depending on the circumstances.”
Qura Property director Samantha Gatherum-Goss said one way to get landlords to quickly authorise maintenance is to take it out of their hands altogether.
“I find a good way to remove this issue is asking the owner whether they’re happy for you to approve up to X amount of dollars before seeking a quote,” she told RPM.
“This will get the maintenance off your desk quicker, tenants will be happier, tradespeople aren’t spending their time quoting frivolous jobs and the owner knows the invoice won’t be any higher than the pre-determined figure, unless they’re advised.”
According to Ms Gatherum-Goss, if a client is unwilling to do maintenance work, the agency needs to weigh up whether it’s worth a potential lawsuit or the stress it can cause staff members.
[Related: Tackling property maintenance]