Can Property Managers Approve Emergency Repairs?
When things go wrong with your rental property, is your property manager up to the task of handling emergency repairs? Here’s what else you need to consider.
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Can Property Managers Approve Emergency Repairs?

When you buy your first investment property you may be surprised by all the maintenance that’s involved. Even when you leave a property in the capable hands of a property manager there are still things you need to keep tabs on. There are decisions to be made when things go wrong with either your property or the relationship with your tenants. 


One of the reasons you probably hired a property manager in the first place is to make sure your investment property is being looked after. But what you may not be aware of is that the level of care your investment property enjoys is based on the contract you have with your property manager. This is one of those scenarios where it really helps to read the fine print. 

Can Property Managers Approve Emergency Repairs_

So if you’re concerned about the level of care for your investment property, you need to have a good look at the contract between you and the property management company you chose for looking after your house. It’s important to note here that not every contract can anticipate and cover every possible emergency or situation that comes up. 


When you’re choosing a property manager it’s not just the property management fees you should be weighing up for your decision. It’s the quality of service that you’re paying for. Is your property manager willing to go above and beyond to help your property retain its value? Will they put the right time and effort into fostering a positive relationship with your tenants


One of the most important questions you need to ask is how your property manager will handle emergency repairs for your property. Will they swiftly answer your tenant’s calls when something goes wrong? Will they be charging additional fees for picking up the phone outside of office hours just to make sure something urgent in your investment property is fixed straight away?

Who has authority?


In recent times it has become an industry standard to delegate certain authority to your property manager. This authority is required so your property manager can make swift decisions on your behalf. In the case of an emergency like a burst pipe or leaking roof, a quick decision needs to be made to prevent further damage from occurring to your investment property.


The right for the property manager to act decisively all comes down to your decision as the property owner. You may not be comfortable giving your property manager the ability to spend thousands on maintenance without your knowledge. Luckily, what you can do is set price limits for repairs. So your property manager may have the ability to spend only up to an amount like $2000. This can help you rest assured that whatever maintenance budget you had for the property is not going to be exceeded without your knowledge. 


In times where your property manager needs to make an urgent decision, it can also come down to your availability. Whenever your contact details change make sure you update your property manager. It’s the little things like updating your property manager on a new phone number or email address that could be the difference between you being alerted about an emergency.

Identifying an emergency


When emergency repairs have been performed on your property it’s important to ask yourself questions like “was the repair an actual emergency”. Timing is everything with maintenance because in a lot of cases a repair can be done the following day to help save money on call out fees. 


Remember that what may feel like an emergency to your tenant may not seem like an emergency to you. The ability to differentiate between what is and isn’t an emergency is also a good trait that any property manager should have. So if you’re in the process of choosing a property manager it’s a good idea to clarify what their definition is too. 


Here are two questions you could ask to help identify an emergency. These could both be used to set up emergency protocols in case your property manager isn’t able to reach you in time:


  1. Would a delay in repairs result in further damage to the property? 
  2. Could a delay in repairs result in the tenant or a neighbour suffering injury or death? 
  3. Is the property still lovable after the said emergency has been identified?


The context of the emergency can also affect the severity of it. A clogged toilet in a house with only one bathroom is a lot more urgent compared to a house with two bathrooms. To help you identify what counts as an urgent repair, let’s look at some common examples we’ve seen over the years:

  • Gas leak
  • Fire damage
  • Burst water pipes
  • Flooding damage from a storm
  • Broken or blocked toilet system
  • Roof leak damaging ceiling plaster
  • Failure of any gas, electricity, or water supply
  • Operational or structural faults in a lift or staircase
  • Any fault or damage that makes the house insecure or unsafe
  • Breakdown of any essential service or appliances provided by the landlord
  • Any faulty appliance, fitting or fixture that wastes large amounts of water
  • Electrical faults and exposed wires

Additional management charges


No matter how prepared you think you are, there may be times when you rely on your property manager to go above and beyond their normal duties. Answering an emergency for your property and organising repairs can be one of them. Contracts between property managers and property owners can vary. Answering emergency calls isn’t always included in a contract. 


Unfortunately, when a property manager handles something outside of their contract they could end up charging you additional fees. These management fees could be calculated by adding up the time spent handling and resolving the emergency repair. In your contract, you may have a set amount agreed upon for repairs. Another thing to remember is that your property manager may end up paying for the emergency repairs if the payment needs to be made promptly.


If you are unable to pay the emergency repair fees straight away, your property manager may charge you an additional fee for this. The longer you take to pay back this fee your property manager may add additional late fees on top of this. So while you have the luxury of a property manager that can act swiftly for you, consider the extra costs this service may incur. 

Work with property managers that make your rental a top priority


So can a property manager approve repairs? What a property manager can do for you during emergencies really depends on your agreed terms with them. It’s so important to establish with your property manager what’s classified as an emergency repair for your rental. In the case of an emergency where you are unavailable, there needs to be a clear plan in place. 


Your property manager should have clear instructions that stipulate what they’re allowed to do with emergency repairs including a budget. With the right plan and measures in place, you can rest assured your rental property will be looked after properly during an emergency. So get your rental property back on track with a team of property management experts who care. 


Here at Property Managers Melb, we understand your concerns. Our property managers have faced all sorts of scenarios to do with emergency repairs. With the expert knowledge that comes with years of experience, our property managers know how to calmly and efficiently handle an emergency repair. They understand how important it is to salvage a positive relationship with your tenants during times of emergencies. 

Talk to one of our property managers today to see how we handle situations like emergency repairs. We can even provide you with a free rental appraisal. Contact us today on 9221 6133 to experience our high level of service available to rental property owners across Melbourne toda

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