Unauthorised maintenance cost

Question from Iain updated on 26th July 2013:

I own a rental property and it's currently managed by a property management company. A job requiring trees to be pruned was undertaken and bill of $350 has been passed on to me as the landlord. This is over and above the $200 amount whereby landlord authorisation is required. The property management company took the funds out of the rent. What are my rights as to recovering this amount due to breach of agreement by the property management company? Any advice appreciated.

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

If your property management company has exceeded its authority in having the work done, it may be that you can recover the money from them. Before you embark on that route, however, there are a few questions to consider the following: Was the work necessary? Did the property manager try to contact you,and were you reachable for a decision? Is there mention in your management agreement as to whether there are any circumstances in which the property manager can exceed the specified authority? If the invoice was for only $200 would you be complaining? If not, then all you are seeking to recover is the additional $150. Bearing in mind that your property has benefited from the work, is it worth your time and energy to carry your argument to the Disputes Tribunal (with the time and cost involved in that process)? I think a good deep breath and a re-affirmation of your instructions to your property manager should be your preferred course of action. If you’re willing to go into bat against your property manager over this issue, perhaps you have other issues that are simmering? This issue alone doesn’t seem to be big enough to spend your time and energy on, especially since your property has received the benefit!

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