All properties are subject to gradual degradation and it is inevitable that repairs and maintenance will be required from time to time. Internal and external paintwork, carpets, curtains, tap washers, light fittings, stoves, heaters, hot water cylinders and even roofs have limited life expectancies and all will need to be repaired, repainted or replaced in due course.
As property managers, our Residential Management Authority allows us to deal with day-to-day (generally minor) repair and maintenance problems, within the constraints of the agreed disbursement limit. This limit varies but one week’s rent as a limit is recommended to allow us to organise work in a timely manner while minimising the impact on your cash flow. Should work be required that is valued in excess of this amount, then the owner, or their representative, will be promptly advised and further instruction sought. However, should there be an urgent repair required (such as a burst water pipe) which is likely to exceed the disbursement limit, we will always organise the repair immediately (as per our contract and the legal requirements of a landlord).
Small repair or maintenance jobs are generally carried out at our discretion and without reference to the owners. We are always mindful of owners’ needs to keep such expenditure within reasonable bounds. When making a decision to carry out work we weigh the impact on the owner’s cash flow against the health or safety needs of the tenant and the obligations and requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act. Section 45 of this Act requires the Landlord to maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair and to comply with any other buildings, health or safety enactments.
Our company employs the services of a range of reputable and reliable contractors. Should an owner have their own preferred contractors, we make a note in our system to deal with those contractors as required.
Major Repairs or Maintenance
Our repairs and maintenance service includes obtaining quotes for major works at a property, such as exterior painting or interior decoration, and the limited supervision of such works. As our profession is property management rather than project management, we can only assess the work to the best of our ability. We cannot accept any liability for such supervision. With the cost of major repair or maintenance work generally being well in excess of the limit agreed in our agency authority, arrangements for payment must be made prior to the commencement of the work. The usual arrangement in this case would be for the owner to forward us payment for the work directly, although in some circumstances we can keep back payments to the owner until enough rent has accrued to pay for the work.
Once we have established that a repair or maintenance job is required we issue the relevant contractor with a work order. The order details the property, the tenant’s details and a description of the work required. Each work order is created within and emailed from our property management software. This allows us to keep track of when the order was sent, and check the progress of every job until they are completed and the invoice paid.
Payments to Contractors
Once the repair or maintenance job has been completed the contractor will invoice us for the work. We then check that the invoice matches the work order sent, and that the sum being charged is fair and reasonable. In cases where we believe the invoice is excessive this is followed up with the contractor.
When we are satisfied that the job has been completed we will make a direct credit from our trust account, debiting the funds held in the name of the owner. Should there be insufficient funds then the payment will be held over until enough rental income has accrued to make the payment. In cases where the accrued rent is not likely to cover the payment required, this is discussed with the owner (before the work is arranged where circumstances allow).