Reader Question: 

“I am renting a house through an agent and have done so for the last four years.  I am happy with the agent and they appear to be happy with me. There is just one problem.

“The owner, although Australian lives in China. If we need some serious repair work done as we do now, the agent must get in touch with the owner by email and we wait weeks if not months to have the fault seen to. What can we do about this dilemma? We don’t mind a week to two but months is just not on – Anne”

lives overseas
Photo: Pexels/

When the owner lives overseas…

We asked Director at RentChoice, Caroline Nurse for an answer to this question:

“Hi Anne, I understand your frustration at the time delay with getting maintenance items attended to,” Caroline said.

“Urgent items should be actioned within 24 hours and non-urgent items within 48 hours.”

Caroline said you should not be waiting 2 months for serious repair work to take place.

“Given you have a good relationship with the property manager, you can ask if they have an authorised expenditure limit. Most agents will request that owners give them authority to spend a certain amount on maintenance without prior consent, so that urgent items can be addressed in a timely manner,” she said.

“If they do not have this authority in place, then I would suggest they arrange this.”

If you find yourself in this situation during your tenancy, the other alternative is to issue a breach notice to the agent/landlord for not attending to serious repair work in a timely manner.

We’ll be posting answers to reader questions every week. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please send it to

Related stories

caroline nurse
Caroline Nurse
Director at | | + posts

Caroline started Rent Choice to address the issues that affected her most as a property investor. The company specialises in property management and focuses on building strong relationships with tenants.