Property needs repairs!

Question from Jennifer updated on 1st July 2015:

My flatmates and I moved into a property and found the condition of the property was dirty and untidy with several items needing to be fixed, which we listed on the property condition report. After back and forth emails, nothing has been fixed. We had our flat inspection and again we listed the problems on the maintenance form. I feel the cracked landing in the back of the house severely injured my leg. We are now going to the Tenancy Tribunal for repairs and loss of wages due to the accident. Do I have a strong case for getting the repairs fixed and receiving loss wages? The property is managed by a property management company, are they liable or is the owner responsible? When we sent them emails they kept saying they would forward to the owner? We are just trying to be prepared, even for a non favorable outcome.

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

Two major reasons for a property owner in engaging a property manager are to allow the owner to keep on top of maintenance and rent payments. Your property manager is the agent of the owner, and will be operating under instructions from the owner. Often those instructions specify a spending limit for discretionary maintenance, and it appears in your case that the property manager needs to ask for authority to carry out your requested repairs. Whether you can claim for loss of your wages is doubtful, but you have done the right thing in making an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. Your application should be against the property management company as landlord. It may be that the owner has not authorised the property manager to spend the money required to make the repairs. That is an impossible situation for the property manager, and the best solution is to obtain an order from the Tenancy Tribunal that the repairs be done. The company’s contract of management with the property owner will most likely specify a means of the property manager recovering that claim from the owner.

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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