Property manager responsibilities
Question from nathan updated on 20th August 2018:
I had to replace the oven in my rental property as the elements were not controlling the heat. I believe that it could have been repaired instead of replaced. For that reason, I asked that my old oven be stored in the garage for me to deal with when I returned to reside in the house. On my return, I found that my oven had been wrecked and is now useless. What can I do? Does the property management company have any responsibility?
Also, I left some metal shelving in the garage for the tenants’ convenience. But when they moved out they took the shelving with them. How can I get it back? Does the property management company have any power to get it back for me?
Finally, when the tenants moved out, the property management company did a final inspection and received the keys. I've later heard that the company handed the keys back to the tenants to uplift some items left behind. Is this acceptable? Is it standard procedure?
Our expert Bernard Parker responded:
You have asked a few questions. Firstly, you haven’t said how the oven incurred the damage that you describe. The property management company should not normally be responsible because they arranged to have the oven placed in the garage as you requested. Bear in mind that you replaced the oven because it didn’t work and that its value may have been negligible.
Secondly, the metal shelving belongs to you. It should have been noted as missing when the property manager carried out the end-of-tenancy inspection. You can ask the property management company to follow up and ask the tenants to return the shelving. The Tenancy Tribunal is available to the property manager to make a claim for the shelving if you consider it desirable and necessary.
Thirdly, it is not unusual for a property manager to lend tenants a key to pick up some items left behind. (Bear in mind that they were entrusted with keys during the tenancy!) It does depend on the circumstances, though. Was it immediately after the end of tenancy? Were the keys returned immediately afterwards? How many items needed to be collected? Often a property manager will accompany the tenant and supervise the collection. But for a quick visit and a few items, with the keys being returned very quickly, it’s occasionally acceptable to lend the keys.
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.