Break in damage, who pays?

Hi all,
Over a year ago I had my PM tell me there's some damage to the laundry door and wall due to an apparent break-in (methinks wifey locked hubby out and he used alternate means to get back in, if you know what I mean).
Since the damage was relatively small I just agreed to fix it (this was before I knew there was no police report done). Due to various PM incompetence issues, they only got around to fixing the last of the damage the other day and advised me the bill is nearly $600!! They didn't get a quote first, and never mentioned it was that kind of damage ("minor" was the term they used). I could have replaced every wall in the laundry for that kind of money! So naturally I have some serious issues with paying for this, obviously insurance won't cover this, and I'm fed up with paying for all the things that the tenant requests that the agent never questions, just sends me the bill! I even had to pay to get the drain cleared of rocks and twigs because "I can't prove it was the tenant's kids" that did it. Can we name and shame bad PM agencies here?? I feel like I need to warn people to stay away from them. So how do I make the tenant pay for this? The agent will just say again that I can't prove it wasn't a break in!
 
Hi Kam,

It's one of those suck it up moments. Even if there was a Police report would you really claim $600 from insurance when you have to pay excess and a claim regardless of the amount will impact on future premiums?

We had a PM who carried out repairs and then sent us the bill however we changed this behaviour by putting a limit on the cost of repairs which could be undertaken without authority unless an urgent repair and we were uncontactable (still expect a voicemail). You can include these terms within your agreement with the REA.

At the end of the day you pay the PM for a service. If you are not happy with their performance then find another one. Ditto for the tenants.

We don't name and shame however if anyone is interested they can send you a private message. If you let people know were your investment is they may be able to make a recommendation.

Regards

Andrew
 
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Since the damage was relatively small I just agreed to fix it (this was before I knew there was no police report done).
First mistake :( I would have been asking more Qs as to whose responsibility it was and whether or not a police report had been filed and even then, asked for 2 - 3 quotes for the job.

Due to various PM incompetence issues, they only got around to fixing the last of the damage the other day
This was over 1 year ago since the damage!! Don't you check your monthly statements for bills? Did no bells ring after no bill in the first 3 months or so after this?

and advised me the bill is nearly $600!!
As others have said, the PM agreement spells out in black & white what level of money a PM can spend without your approval. I set mine to $100. But it would seem by giving your initial approval to go ahead and fix it (albeit 1 year go) that your PM may have complied with the agreement in any event.

So how do I make the tenant pay for this?
At this stage of the game, 12 months after the fact? I've got news for you, and it's all bad :rolleyes:

In future, now that you have had the benefit of this experience you will check your PM agreements that you sign, will not just approve anything over the phone without a quote, and will check your monthly statements, I'm sure.

You can raise the issue with your PM now and see if you can get them to underwrite some of the bill (since 12 months is a very long time and it seems they have been tardy) and if you get no joy, then change PMs and also maybe tenants.
 
Did you get a break down of that bill, and was the work done all about the 'break-in'???

Your first lesson in what not to do,....cost $600.

Without a copy of the police report, I wouldn't have done a thing, and tenants would have had to fix or a 'please explain'. If they had left the damage on vacancy, it would have probably cost you less to fix personally.

Hopefully you only need to be bitten once, to be twice shy about this next time.

OTT. I have just had to sign a new agreement with the real estate (changes to the business name and tenancy laws). I did notice there was only a place for emergency spending and it was set (in bold print already), at 1k. I have put in writing to the PM through email that I expect a call before anything is done, and this doesn't give them permission to act without our authority on any tenants whim.
I have had many issues with our current RE, as we have had multiple PMs in the past year we have been with them. Once tenants are out, we are doing a total change around. So I hope I have covered my bases and now just waiting on the tenants to vacate. Fingers crossed from now on this property will be handled and looked after better, it wont cause as many nightmares.
 
First mistake I would have been asking more Qs
Yes, guilty as charged, was busy with other things at the time and assumed the PM would do their job. Won't be doing that again :eek: !

Don't you check your monthly statements for bills?
Yes I do check my statements - it's been a year because our property manager responsible has changed four times in the last year (2nd mistake! High staff turnover is not a good sign) and each one promised to "fix it straight away".

the PM agreement spells out in black & white what level of money a PM can spend without your approval
I did agree for the agent to go ahead and get someone to fix it but did not agree to spend this much! Our limit is set at $300, and quotes for anything over this. I'll be reducing this to $100 from today.

I'll be giving this agent the boot, this is way overdue, I know. I still feel like they're getting off scot free!
 
Did you get a break down of that bill, and was the work done all about the 'break-in'???
...
Hopefully you only need to be bitten once, to be twice shy about this next time.

The work already done was about the "break-in" and I have requested a break down and that they investigate the reason for the high cost.

And yes, one bite (and a few prior nibbles) will be quite enough thanks. Out with both PM and tenant.
 
Could you perhaps try to claim some bond at the end of their tenancy. Put it all down in a time line, short concise notes and see whether you get anywhere that way. Make sure you note that there was no police report, basically what you have told us.

You may get nothing, but it is worth trying.
 
If you're not prepared to wear this as a repair write-off, you could insist on the tenants obtaining a police report. The time lapse is irrelevant. You could tell them that you need the report for your insurance to cover the repair costs and without the report, you'll be holding the tenants responsible for the repairs because it's reasonable to assume that their reluctance to obtain a report suggests deception about the real cause of the damage.

If they're prepared to get the police report, there's probably nothing you can do but pay. If they refuse to get the report, you could use this as reasonable evidence to support your contention that there was no break in and they are liable for the damage. If they refuse to pay, you can claim the cost from the bond at the conclusion of the tenancy.

By the way, I'd sack your PM - they clearly aren't concerned with acting in your best interests.
 
I'd love to know who your PM is, I'd like to make sure I never use them. I'd be switching PM ASAP, and asking their advice on what to do about this.
 
If they refuse to get the report, you could use this as reasonable evidence to support your contention that there was no break in and they are liable for the damage.

Wha ??

Not being able to force an adult to do something they don't wish to do constitutes evidence nowadays ??

Your contention is nothing more than that, and the Tenants are certainly not liable for the damage.

As usual, in the absence of a full confession from the Tenant, if there is not irrefutable undenying proof that the Tenant is guilty of the act, then the hapless Landlord once again carries the can.


What is it with all of these threads all the time asking a myriad of things, then ending with - who pays ?? Isn't it clear by now....

No it's not logical, no it's not fair, and no it's not reasonable, but there you have it.
 
Dazz, irrefutable evidence is not required. The Tribunal (if it came to that) decides evidentiary questions on the balance on probabilities.

If the tenant refuses to spend an hour filing a police report and cannot provide a reasonable explanation why, it is open for the Tribunal member to infer that the tenant may be lying when they claim there was a break-in.

In any event, given we're only talking about $600, it wouldn't be worth going to the Tribunal for that. If the tenants refuse to obtain a Police report, I'd just let it go as a write-off.
 
I agree Kate, a mere trifling.

Kam, just pay the $ 600.00 and maybe give your Tenants a box of choccies and a few movie tickets to say sorry.

As they say, just keep looking at the big picture. :D
 
I have dug up a property inspection report done a year ago, and there the PM's written description of the damage: 'slight', which was the basis for my agreement to get it fixed. Since $600 is far from slight and the handyman they sent out there should have checked before replacing (as it turns out) the entire wall, I expect the agent will have to fork out for the amount over the sum I was prepared to pay (~$100), as I didn't authorise a major repair.

Yes, I realise I will have a fight on my hands, but I'm prepared! I have also contacted another PM who will take over as soon as I get this sorted. The tenants can also expect another rent rise instead of a box of chocolates. They know how to play the game and the current PM has simply been letting them do it. Thank you to all who replied.
 
I am just wondering what people consider is slight damage? My experience agents have no idea what is involved in fixing anything and majority sees all damage as slight. I just love the term ........ "a little TLC" usually means a major overhaul :rolleyes:

Well I'm guessing if it was a breakin and the person gaining entry has kicked the door in, I will assume the door maybe damaged along with door jamb lock side and possibly the internal architrave, will assume the lock and striker plate is fine. By the time a person has a look at the job, track the gear down, do the job including painting $600 would be fair as far as I'm concerned.

What do you feel is slight damage? everyone will have thier own idea of what is considerd "slight damage" and I agree the PM has not carried out thier role very well at all.

I'm sure you will ask in future what the damage entails and get some photo's for proof, it in fact did happened, and quotes for peace of mind.

I can say one thing my eyes are getting opened to a host of issues on this site as I'm about to manage my 1st IP and am starting to wonder if its worth the effort and stress people seem to go through.

Good luck with next PM

Brian
 
At the last place we rented before buying our current PPOR, we had a Saturday night where the local bored teenagers had a huge party and then went on a drunken vandalising spree through the whole town, damaging letter boxes, ripping them apart, pulling them out of the ground, mangling them. You could see which streets they had taken on their "walk" from all the damaged letter boxes. As it is a small town/satellite suburb of Newcastle, everyone was talking about it, including the PM who managed the house we lived in.

We filed a police report, took photos and hubbie tried to repair the letter box. Unfortunately it was unable to be fixed so we bought a new comparable one and gave the reciept to the PM who reimbursed us for the letterbox. Apart from Hubbies labour, we wernt out of pocket at all, and the LL got a nice new letter box to replace the old crappy one.

Hardly a fair dollar comparison to your situation I know. The PM did ask for the police report number when we told her, I dont know if she actually checked with the police though.
 
What do you feel is slight damage? everyone will have thier own idea of what is considerd "slight damage" and I agree the PM has not carried out thier role very well at all.
Well, the door lock and smashed window have already been fixed, so the $600 is not the total cost - it's just for the walls. "Slight" to me is maybe a hole made by the doorknob if the door was kicked in or something to that effect. Patchable in any case. "Slight" is NOT the replacement of the whole wall (3 panels from memory).
 
Update

Hi all, just a quick update on what is happening.
I got the breakdown of the bill from the agent. Several things: the hole that was fixed was one that I knew nothing about, in every inspection report they mention a hole behind the door (hence my impression that it was small, ie from a doorknob). They went ahead and fixed a hole in the opposite wall which I wasn't aware of, as well as replacing fibro and quads of the door frame (also not made aware of). The door is not even in the wall with the hole.

Plus I got charged for moving the tenant's belongings (whitegoods) out of the way. The agent has already gone ahead and taken the money out before they deposited the remainder in my account, despite my very clear instructions to the contrary.

I have requested they reimburse me for the amount over what I was prepared to pay based on the information they provided, as well as immediate release from the contract, which they breached. I've given them two days, then off to the solicitor. At this stage if I'm going to have to pay, I'd rather give my money to my (very good) solicitor than these... well it would be rude of me to say it.
 
if I'm going to have to pay, I'd rather give my money to my (very good) solicitor


Absolutely. If they are as good as you say they are, it'll be $ 100 per unit (6 mins or part thereof). I reckon your problem is worth spending a few good days chasing it up....just to show 'em who's boss....you know, the principle of the matter an' all. :D
 
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