When it comes to repairs in and around the home, there’s a big difference between repairs and maintenance for normal wear and tear around the home and a repair that is deemed an emergency. While it may seem annoying to provide access to your home to a tradesman, emergency repairs must be attended to quickly as they can cause worse damage to the property if left unattended and can even present a safety hazard to you and your family.
A question we have been asked by some tenants is, “what is regarded as an emergency repair?”
When is an emergency repair an ‘emergency repair’?
The following are examples of emergency repairs as stated on the NSW Office of Fair Trading website:
- Burst water service or a serious water service leak
- Blocked or broken toilet
- Serious roof leak
- Gas leak
- Dangerous electrical fault
- Flooding or serious flood damage
- Serious storm or fire damage
- Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
- Failure or breakdown of the hot water service
- Failure or breakdown of the stove or oven
- Failure or breakdown of a heater or air‑conditioner
- Fault or damage, which makes the premises unsafe or insecure.
- Your responsibility as a tenant
If you find a fault or damage as listed above in the home you are renting, it is your responsibility to notify us immediately. This will allow us to arrange for the problem to be fixed ASAP with minimal disruption to you and your family.
Should you discover the emergency outside standard business hours and we can’t be contacted, head to our website where you will find all the details you need to contact our preferred emergency tradespeople. This list is also included within your Tenancy Agreement. Click here to view the list of our preferred emergency repair tradespeople. Simply contact the appropriate tradesperson from our list and arrange a suitable time for them to come and attend to the problem. Just be sure to tell them it is an emergency.
Our preferred method and most efficient way to action an emergency repair is to submit the emergency repair via our maintenance repair app. The app automatically sends an urgent repair request direct to the relevant tradesman – this is particularly helpful when the emergency is outside of business hours.
If emergency repairs are not attended to within a reasonable timeframe you may be able to arrange for the work to be done and be reimbursed by the landlord (but only up to $1,000). However, you must be able to show that:
- The need for the urgent repair was not your fault
- You contacted the landlord or agent about the problem or made a reasonable attempt to do so
- You gave the landlord or agent a reasonable opportunity to get the repairs done
- The repairs were carried out by a licensed tradesperson (if appropriate).
- You must give the landlord written notice setting out the details of the repair and copies of all receipts. The landlord is required to pay you back within 14 days of receiving your notice. If they fail to do so you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order.
If urgent repairs are likely to cost more than $1,000 or you cannot afford to pay, you can apply to the Tribunal for an urgent hearing order for the landlord.
Realistic expectations for emergency repairs
While emergency repairs always take priority over any other repairs and we always take immediate action to organise the necessary repairs as quickly as possible, we ask that you apply common sense when it comes to your expectations of having them resolved. We have dedicated tradespeople available to us specifically for emergency repairs so that we can take action on an emergency maintenance request even if it is outside core business hours.
Please ensure you report an emergency repair request at the time you first discover it rather than waiting till later. Of course we cannot always control when an emergency repair is required. Sometimes faults occur in the middle of the night or on weekends/public holidays. The reality is that it can take a little longer to action an emergency repair outside core business hours and this is where we ask for your understanding and patience. If the problem presents a safety hazard the tradesperson you call will advise if there are any safety precautions you need to take while waiting for the problem to be attended to.
It is also your responsibility as a tenant to action an emergency maintenance request. For example, if you discover that the toilet is broken on a Tuesday but don’t report it to us until 5pm on Friday you must understand that it may take a little longer to fix the problem than if you had reported the problem to us on the Tuesday.
In instances of natural disasters, like the east coast storm we experienced on the Central Coast a few months ago, we ask you to be mindful of the widespread demand for emergency repairs and to adjust your expectations accordingly. Rest assured emergencies will always be attended to in order or priority.