With your help, the department wants to keep your home in good condition. As your lessor, the department provides:
- a maintenance service during office hours
- an emergency after-hours service
What are my responsibilities?
The department asks you to care for your home by taking reasonable precautions to protect the property and by following the basic guidelines below.
- Immediately report any damage caused to the property.
- Report problems such as roof and gutter leaks, unsafe stairs, dripping taps, etc.
- Keep the garden tidy and mow the grass regularly.
- Remove and responsibly dispose of all unwanted rubbish.
- Keep ceilings, walls, floors, fixtures and fittings clean.
- Avoid using toilet blue in cisterns and bowls especially septic systems.
- Do not flush bulky items, fat or oil down drains or toilets.
- Avoid planting trees near sewerage and drainage pipes or within three metres of the house as this may cause structural problems to foundations, roof and guttering.
- Do not place garden beds against house walls as this may cause structural problems and encourage termite (white ant) activity.
- Check for and report any termite activity as soon as possible (see Termites).
- Do not attempt to carry out serious repair work such as electrical, plumbing or structural work.
- Check the hot water unit for leaks (It is normal for overflow pipes to drip from time to time, particularly in cooler weather).
- Immediately report gas and water leaks and electrical faults.
- Do not install improvements to your home without departmental approval.
- Test the smoke alarm every week, according to the instructions placed in your rental property (see Smoke Alarms).
Who pays for maintenance work?
The department will pay for any maintenance work that has been caused by fair wear and tear. Fair wear and tear is the amount of wear that you would expect to occur over time with the age and reasonable use of the property.
You are responsible for the full cost of repairs if you or your visitors cause damage (see Damage to your property).
The department inspects your home before you move in, once every twelve months, and when you move out. When you move out, you will be charged for any damage that is not fair wear and tear, or if the home is not left clean and tidy. Photographic evidence is taken of all damage, rubbish and unclean areas. You are also responsible for any damage caused by pets (see Ending your tenancy).
When is maintenance carried out on my home?
Maintenance staff respond to requests in order of urgency from when you report the problem. The following are examples of typical maintenance priorities and response times.
Immediate – 1 hour response
Any fault which could lead to death or injury to persons or serious damage to the property such as:
- gas leaks;
- exposed live electrical wires in an accessible location;
- seniors or incapacitated tenants being locked out of their home during night time hours; and
- burst pipes within the building.
Urgent – 4 hour response
Any fault which could endanger health or result in extensive damage to the property such as:
- building being unsecure after forced entry;
- no lights or power;
- serious water penetration;
- serious storm damage;
- burst water pipes outside the building;
- fully blocked sewerage (health hazard);
- full stove not working;
- seniors or incapacitated tenants being locked out of their home during daylight hours;
- smoke alarm not working; and
- major structural damage endangering the occupants.
Priority – 24 hour response
Faults which cause serious inconvenience to the client such as:
- blocked drains (minor, no health hazard);
- toilet cistern not working or overflowing;
- broken locks (external doors);
- unsecure yard (fence damage greater than 125mm wide);
- broken windows;
- no hot water;
- no power to multiple power points;
- no power to multiple lights; and
- security lights not working.
Normal – 14 day response
Faults which cause inconvenience to the client or may, in the long term, affect the value of the property such as:
- slow dripping taps;
- element not working on stove;
- water hammer;
- doors jamming;
- uneven hard paving (trip hazards);
- trees which need lopping (not dangerous);
- leaking gutters or downpipes;
- power and lights not working (single points); and
- faulty internal door locks.
What is considered to be emergency maintenance?
Emergency maintenance is needed for faults or damage which may put people's lives, health or safety at risk, for example:
- a gas leak, exposed live bare electrical wires, extensive fire damage, water entry by storm damage or flood);
- the premises are unlockable because of impact (for example, damage caused by a vehicle); or
- property may be at risk of damage (for example, from storm or flood, which may be classified as a natural disaster, in which case, contact Emergency Services).
In the case of an emergency, contact the department's maintenance section, or call the after hours number 1800 808 107.
Response times to emergencies will depend on the situation, but will normally be within one to four hours. An emergency is the only time maintenance staff can enter your home without obtaining your prior permission.
Work that is not an emergency should be reported to the department's maintenance section on the next working day.
Planned maintenance is work that does not require action in the response times listed above and can be carried out over a longer period. Types of maintenance that can be listed for planned maintenance include repainting and associated prepaint preparation, and the replacement of a leaking roof gutter or rusted downpipes. Items similar to these can be reported either by tenants, or as part of a general inspection. These items are recorded and scheduled for future action as part of a planned program.
What types of maintenance won't the department do?
Some maintenance is not carried out by the department, for example, changing light bulbs, mowing lawns, or maintaining items which you have installed such as light fittings, dishwashers, floor coverings, etc. Non-standard items that were supplied with your home, for example, drapes, blinds, curtains, some floor coverings etc, are also not maintained by the department. However, if for example, a light bulb needs changing in a common area of your building complex, such as stairwells or carparks, contact the department.
When will my home be painted?
Painting is carried out by the department according to a planned program determined with reference to the department's property condition database.
Do I have any say in the colours used to repaint my property?
Yes you do. Discuss your preferences with the inspecting officer when they visit your property.
What do I do if I think the inside of my property needs repainting?
There are two things you can do if you think your home needs repainting:
- Contact the department's maintenance section and they will advise you if the repainting will be done and approximately when this may happen;
- Contact the department to request approval to repaint the inside of the home at your cost. The department will advise you about approved paints, colours and conditions (see Home improvements).
What is general upgrade work?
General upgrade work is improvements to areas in your home, such as the kitchen, laundry or bathroom, when they are not in good repair or working condition, or pose a health risk.
How do I know if general upgrade work is to be performed on my property?
The department will notify you either in writing or by telephone that general upgrade work is planned on your property, the approximate date this work will start and any other information you need to know. Details of general upgrade work are collected during annual inspections.
What do I do if I think my bathroom, kitchen or laundry needs upgrading?
If you think your bathroom, kitchen or laundry needs upgrading, contact the Housing Service Centre's maintenance section who will arrange an inspection. They will advise you if it will be upgraded and approximately when this may happen. A subsequent property inspection may be required to confirm the condition details with the database.
How will maintenance staff gain access to my property?
Maintenance staff may need to access your property to carry out any maintenance. The department will always attempt to contact you before any maintenance work is carried out.
Staff can enter your property without your permission only if there is a genuine emergency, such as a fire, serious water or gas leak or storm/flood damage.
The department will repair any damage to your property resulting from maintenance staff gaining access in an emergency situation, at no cost to you.
For routine maintenance visits, staff will not enter your home unless there is an adult in attendance. If you are unable to be present for this appointment you will need to arrange for another adult to be home at this time. Maintenance work on your property will be delayed if an adult is not home when staff visit at the agreed time, however maintenance staff will leave a card with details about who to contact to arrange another visit.
For safety and security reasons, do not leave keys outside the property, for example, under mats or pot plants, for maintenance staff to gain entry. Also, for safety reasons, dogs must be secured when staff visit your property.
Maintenance staff in your property
Maintenance staff are responsible for carrying out their work in a safe, tidy and efficient manner. However, they may need to use your electricity and you may be inconvenienced by noise from machinery or tools.
Children and pets should not be allowed to hinder maintenance staff or endanger themselves by being too close to the work being carried out. Any personal items or belongings should be removed so they are not damaged.
What if I want to make some improvements to my property?
See Home improvements.