What is a non-urgent repair? Let’s have a look at a real case first.
One of our tenants is calling our property manager about the damaged apartment carpet.
TENANT: Hello, property manager, I am a tenant. My lease would end in three weeks. However, I now find a small hole in the carpet outside the bathroom door, which should have been scratched by my dog. Is this an emergency repair? Who should be responsible for the maintenance? How to the claim?
PROPERTY MANAGER: If it is damaged by a dog, the tenant should be responsible for the repairs; if it is caused by natural usage and aging, the landlord should be responsible for the hole or crack.
TENANT: How much should I pay if I am responsible for repairs? When should I give it?
PROPERTY MANAGER: Don't worry, how bad is the damage? Can you send me a photo? Let’s do the assessment first.
What is a non-urgent repair?
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure a rented property is maintained in good repair.
If a tenant or resident requests non-urgent repairs, the landlord must respond promptly. All repairs are the landlord's responsibility, but if the tenant or resident caused the damage, the landlord can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs. Tenants and residents must continue paying rent when they are waiting for repairs to be done. It is important for the landlord and tenant to communicate all information about repairs in writing, and to keep copies for future reference.
1. How to request a non-urgent repair
To arrange non-urgent repairs, notify the landlord in writing, advising them what needs to be repaired, and giving them 14 days to carry out the work. Include the date of your request, so it is clear when this 14-day period will expire.
2. If the landlord does not respond, what should a tenant do?
If you have taken reasonable steps to advise the landlord of the repairs in writing and they have failed to respond within the 14-day time frame, you can VCAT. If you are unsure whether it is the landlord's responsibility to fix the problem, you can ask us to carry out an investigation for a non-urgent repair. You may also request an investigation into whether the landlord has failed in their duty to ensure that the property is maintained in good order.