Maintenance responsibility

Question from Tess updated on 2nd November 2018:

We currently live overseas but have a rental property managed by a property management company. It seems as if the property management company is being a bit ridiculous lately in terms of what we might reasonably expect the tenant to do themselves versus getting a handyman to do.

The latest request is regarding a door handle that has come off and a stud that has gone missing from underneath a shelf in a small cupboard (without it the shelf tips so is unusable). The door handle has come off in the past when we lived in the property and it is simply a matter of holding a screwdriver in the screw while screwing the handle back on.

Similarly, we said that a replacement stud can be bought from any DIY store for approx $2 and we would be happy to reimburse the tenant for this. The property manager has said we can't expect the tenant to do either of these things and we have to pay a handyman. Is it reasonable to ask the tenant to do this work?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

It may be natural to assume that a tenant is both capable and willing to do these minor repairs. However, it may be that the tenant cannot do the work. It may be reasonable to ask a tenant to do so, but in turn it may be equally reasonable for a tenant to decline.

What would be the case if, for example, a tenant messed up a repair and caused some damage? In simple terms, it’s your investment, your property, and your responsibility to maintain it.

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 30 years.

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