Question from Sue updated on 8th August 2018:
We have a block of units in Wellington. We have just changed property managers and found that our previous manager had not, among many other things, kept the fire alarms up to date. There were a number of issues but given that this is a compliance issue, is there any recourse with the previous manager as it is now about to cost us significant money to get a fire inspection company in to do a check-up? We're thinking that as our representative, the property manager should have some liability here.
Our expert Bernard Parker responded:
You probably have had a contract with your property manager that lists the manager’s duties. If they don’t specify any responsibility for updating fire alarms, then I would not expect that duty to fall to a property manager. It should normally be the owner’s responsibility. I’m not sure what you are referring to in regard to liability.
You may ask the property manager to take care of some duties as your agent, but the ultimate responsibility will be for you as the property owner. It’s likely also that the property manager would arrange for a specialist company to do the inspection (much as you have subsequently done). So there would be a related service cost, regardless whether it was done earlier or at a later date.
Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 22 years.