Property Management Education
January 17, 2018
Water can be extremely dangerous for a property. Not only does it cause water damage, but it can also lead to things like mold and rot. If there’s a leak or any kind of water problem at your property, it’s imperative that you take care of it immediately. Leaving the problem for longer than necessary will result in higher costs and more extensive repairs. If a tenant reports a leak or you notice water on your roof or in your home, make sure you take immediate action.
First, you need to identify the leak and the source of the water. Talk to your tenants about when the problem began to occur. Perhaps the leak was evident prior to turning on the shower, or it began after the dishwasher was used. If there was a heavy rain recently and the ceiling is showing signs of water; that could indicate a problem with the roof.
Schedule repairs as soon as possible. Treat and dry the carpets if they are affected, and determine whether you need to replace the flooring altogether. If you own property in a new building, decide if the repairs need to be actioned under warranty by the builder. New buildings have a 90 day defect warranty, and the warranty for structural issues is generally seven years. Talk to your insurance carrier and see if the damage is a covered loss. Each insurance policy is different, so talk to your insurance provider about what would cover this problem; landlord insurance or building insurance. If a tenant’s personal belongings were damaged by water, inform them to look into their own contents policy as the owners insurance may not cover tenancy belongings.
The owner of a property is required to provide a safe and habitable home for the tenants who are renting. Usually, the liability of the leak remains with where the leak has come from. E.g. A waste pipe which services the unit above would be liable if it causes damage to the unit below. If the pipe services multiple units then the liability would be on the body corporate. However, if something occurs that shows your tenant caused water damage, you can expect your tenant to cover the cost. Talk to your body corporate and property managers about how to handle this. Your property manager can also help with understanding the common piping between units that might be causing a leak. If your tenant needs to be relocated or the lease needs to be terminated because the property is not habitable, your property manager will assist with this.