Residential Rental Act - Urgent Repairs Must Be Done ‘Immediately’

It’s a little annoying that in the rental act it says urgent repairs must be done immediately, but doesn’t define what ‘immediate’ is.
If you need a plumber or electrician to reconnect water or electricity, I would define immediate as someone on site in under 6 hours, unless they are unable (by which case you get someone else) or it’s too remote so a little longer could be allowed.
My guess is the commonly stated ‘48 hours’ is not actually the case, it’s just something a real estate agent made up one day & it’s spread throughout Australia
Thoughts?

Comments

  • -1 vote

    Which state?

    •  

      Victoria

      •  

        If the term 'immediately' is not defined in the tenancy act, then you use the dictionary definition.

        48 hours is not immediately. Nowhere near.

        The first step is to establish if the repair is indeed urgent. That term is defined.

        Can you be more specific with the issue?

  •  

    What broke or you’re just checking for due diligence?

    •  

      Checking (due to an intermittent issue)

      • +4 votes

        Does not sound urgent then.

        •  

          But, it is likely that there is some disagreement on this, otherwise there wouldn't be an issue.

          That is, the renter must think it is an urgent issue & should be fixed within 6 hours, while the landlord must think it isn't urgent & 48 hours is OK.

        •  

          Not yet

  •  

    If you need a plumber or electrician to reconnect water or electricity, I would define immediate as someone on site in under 6 hours

    Why? Why not 4 hours? Why not 8 hours?

    unless they are unable (by which case you get someone else) or it’s too remote so a little longer could be allowed.

    I guess this is the point. There might be any number of entirely valid reasons why it can't be done in a very specific/arbitrary and short timeframe.

  • +8 votes

    If you need a plumber or electrician you can call them yourself, your agent would of given you the after hours number when you signed your lease.

    If it needs to be fixed NOW then it can be arranged and they will just bill the agent

    If it is urgent but not an emergency then its with 24 hours usually

    If your house is flooding, power unsafe, etc then its going to be fixed straight away.

    the difference is "emergency" and "urgent"

  • +1 vote

    a plumber or electrician to reconnect water or electricity

    Reconnection speeds would also depend on other factors. Particularly if it's due to non-payment.
    In most cases payment and connection is organised by the tenant not the REA. If you're disconnected on a Friday due to non-payment, I probably wouldn't expect Energex to reconnect you before Monday (I think there are exceptions for those that require medical equipment to be powered).

    If you're talking about repairs rather than disconnection, as mentioned above it depends on the urgency. A broken pipe flooding the kitchen will probably need fixing ASAP. Whereas a flooded toilet, you may be able to turn off just that pipe and wait (provided you have a 2nd toilet).

    If it's not urgent enough for you to organise a repairer yourself (and then bill the REA), then it's probably something that can wait 48hours.

  • +3 votes

    VCAT have guidelines that clarify timeframes for responding to urgent repairs which may assist you.

    Refer to Guidelines 4 - Urgent repairs (Word, 297KB) - link is under the heading: Forms you might need

  •  

    I guess immediate can have different meaning to different people and the nature of the problem. So the law cannot define immediate.
    My understanding is that if its a time sensitive issue, it would be as soon as possible. For example of pipe burst you and water is escaping in the house, immediately as emergency plumbers are available for 24/7.
    If it needs urgent repairs but does not require immidiate attention, next working day might be sufficient.

  •  

    I think the fair thing is to attend as soon as possible, depending on what is reasonable.
    If the power goes off at 3am, that would be call the electrician the next morning, I reckon.
    If it goes off at lunchtime on a Saturday, then as soon as reasonable on the weekend (I.e. I don’t think it would be reasonable to wait until Monday).

    I don’t think it would be reasonable to have to wait longer for a preferred tradie, unless it was a trivial wait of just a few hours.

  •  

    If you need urgent repairs, do consider the RACV Home Assist.

    Pros
    -Available 24/7
    -Available generally within an hour
    -One licenced tradesmen call out is equivalent to your annual membership
    -Tenant is kept happy as a tradesman has attended to "look" at the problem

    Cons
    -Only $215pa
    -Tradesmen will generally only provide a make safe solution.

  • +1 vote

    It’s a little annoying that in the rental act it says urgent repairs must be done immediately, but doesn’t define what ‘immediate’ is.

    Whenever the law leaves something undefined in this way, then a court would use the 'reasonable person' test.

    What would a reasonable person define as 'immediate' in this particular situation ? To answer this question, the court will either collect together a group of 6-8 randomly chosen citizens (the jury size in Victorian civil cases) to come up with a consensus view on 'immediate', or else in judge-only trials, the judge himself or herself will imagine what a group of 6-8 citizens would consider to be 'immediate'.

    You could ask 6-8 of your (unbiased) friends what they would consider to be 'immediate' in your particular situation.

    You could also put up a poll on Ozbargain, along with a detailed description of the issue, & let the 'jury' of Ozbargain users decide on what it would be reasonable to consider as 'immediate'. :-)

  •  

    Most rental agreements I've had, generally stated resolution/repair within 24 hours for urgent repairs. Then guidelines on what failure or breakfown is deemed urgent.

    •  

      Rental agreements can be moot according to overriding statutory law. Ultimately a judge decides what urgent is defined by in terms of hours

  •  

    Immediate can change depending on the repair needed. Something that is life threatening could be ASAP. Eg electrical wiring on fire, gas leak. Something that is going to cause damage but not injury might be a few hours eg water running across the floors or a. Broken window from a storm. Things like a blocked toilet were there is two in the house could be 48hrs.