Protect yourself in cases of urgent repair

Most property investors will be required to undertake property repairs at one point or another. In many of these situations, repairs will be foreseeable and the investor will be able to prepare themself financially. However, there may also be instances where a property sustains damage out of the blue, and where urgent repairs are necessary. In such cases, it can pay for investors to have a strong insurance policy in place. To shed some light on this issue, I’ve decided to share the following article by EBM Insurance, which appeared in the November edition of CENTURY 21 Wentworth’s Property Investor. 

Urgent repairs - why an immediate response is critical

Damage from unpredictable weather conditions or a major failure of services can be a major headache for landlords across the country. 

Urgent repairs, such as a blocked or broken toilet, burst water mains, serious damage caused by floods, a storm or fire, or an electrical or gas fault, need to be dealt with quickly and with good lines of communication; without the right measures in place, urgent repairs can be an extremely costly exercise for landlords. 

EBM Insurance Brokers General Manager, RentCover, Sharon Fox-Slater believes that having the right cover in place can not only protect the landlord, it can also offer reassurance to tenants and protect established relationships. 

"A fast and proactive response to any urgent issues will demonstrate commitment on the landlord's part and is crucial if tenants are to be kept happy.  Should your property be unliveable, or even partly unliveable, then a tenant can give immediate written notice to end the tenancy permanently - this can leave the landlord high and dry, and still having to deal with urgent, and often costly repairs," said Sharon. 

"Precautionary measures, such as rental cover can offer long-term benefits for property investors - protecting against unexpected maintenance bills and potentially lost rental income."

As a rule, tenancy agreements will include an emergency contact list, with nominated tradespeople to call should an urgent repair be required.  Each state has a different set of rules to protect both landlords and tenants in the case of urgent repairs. 

For example, in Western Australia and South Australia tenants can arrange for repairs provided that the costs are 'reasonable' and that written confirmation is provided by a qualified tradesperson, while tenants in NSW and VIC must give the landlord a reasonable opportunity to arrange for repairs to be undertaken, but can spend up to $1,000 on urgent repairs which must be reimbursed within a 14-day period if action is not taken quickly enough. 

In the Northern Territory repairs must be made within five working days or tenants must be advised of arrangements for repairs to take place within 14 days of the original notification.  Meanwhile, in Queensland and Tasmania, if the tenant is unable to contact the landlord's nominated tradesperson, they can arrange for a suitably qualified person to carry out repairs, to a maximum value of two weeks' rent. 

There is a good argument to make that emergency contact lists, with preferred and secondary supplier details, should always be kept up-to-date.

"Never underestimate how stressful if can be to return home to find significant damage to your home, and often belongings. Strong and open lines of communication with your tenants can be incredibly important when dealing with urgent situations," Sharon added. 

"Where you can always provide a clear and accurate timetable of activity as soon as a significant repair is needed, it will help tenants to know exactly where they stand in terms of their living arrangements -  they will be feeling vulnerable at a time and will be eager for the issue to be resolved as quickly as possible," Sharon concluded. 

RentCover's various policy options offer landlords peace of mind against urgent repairs by not only protecting their property but also rental income lost if the building is uninhabitable due to repairs.

For more information about EMB’s range of insurance products please visit

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 17/12/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:


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