As part of the October 2022 changes to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, tenants will now have greater rights to initiate repairs to their unit.
Currently, if repairs are required a tenant will notify their Property Manager who in turn will consult the Lot Owner or Body Corporate to arrange the repairs. From 1st October 2022 a tenant will be able to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) seeking an order for emergency repairs to be carried out, or for routine repairs to be carried out if these have not been carried out within a reasonable time frame.
This could have a significant impact to schemes that require large repairs to be carried out, for example extensive roof repairs in the case of a Building Format Plan. To ensure that your Body Corporate is not facing an order for emergency repairs it is important to have strong processes in place and to keep all occupants, including tenants, informed of the progress of repairs.
So what steps can Owners and Committees put in place to try to prevent a tenant from seeking an order for repairs?
- Ensure maintenance, including preventative maintenance and servicing, is carried out regularly and in a timely manner. By conducting preventative works such as roof inspections, garage door servicing etc the Body Corporate will reduce the likelihood of emergency repairs being required.
- Communicate with tenants as well as the Lot Owners and Property Managers when the Committee are in the process or arranging quotations and work orders for repairs.
- Seek input from tenants when considering what maintenance is required.
- Ensure that your Sinking Fund Forecast is up to date and that the Body Corporate is collecting sufficient Sinking Fund Levies so that repairs are able to be funded when they are required.
- Ensure that the Body Corporate has been provided with your tenants and property managers contact details. A lot owner is required to provide the Body Corporate with the name, residential or business address, and address for service of the lessee or sublessee within 14 days from the date a lease is entered in to or transferred (refer Section 223 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Standard Module 2020). By providing your tenants name and contact number and/or email address this will enable the Body Corporate to communicate with your tenant regarding any common property repairs that may affect your lot.
- Refer any tenant concerns regarding common property maintenance to the Committee in a timely manner. This will enable the Committee to action the concerns and communicate with your tenant.
- When reporting issues, ask your tenant to provide specific details and photographs of the issue to assist the Committee in considering the appropriate action.
- If you are unsure whether repairs are the responsibility of the Body Corporate or Lot Owner / tenant discuss this with your Committee and Body Corporate Manager.
The full Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021 can be found here.