Reader Question: 

“Our oven has stopped working. We keep being told the agent is waiting on the landlord to get back to us. How long should we have to wait?”

oven repairs

“Our oven has stopped working. We’ve sent a couple of emails and filled out a form online, but keep being told that the agent is waiting on the landlord to get back to us. How long should we have to wait? Our agent informed us that this isn’t an ‘emergency,’ as the stove top is still working. Is that correct?” – Vanessa

Vanessa, we asked Managing Director for PPM Group, Debbie Palmer for her insight into your question:

“Hi Vanessa, this is a common scenario that we hear from many tenants, so you are not alone,” Debbie said.

“As a tenant you have the right to a well-maintained and safe home. It can sometimes be challenging for property managers to quickly respond to tenant requests as they are simply acting on behalf of the landlord and need to take instructions.  I am concerned that the property manager has stated that “It is not an emergency repair” as in many states of Australia, legislation clearly outlines an example of an emergency is ‘a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the premises for hot water, cooking or heating.’

Debbie said tenancy legislation is always open to interpretation, and is never black and white.

“Even if this matter was taken to the Tribunal Courts there could be several outcomes. An oven may not be considered essential as you can cook on the stove, but you could argue that it is essential if you cook a lamb roast each night or are having a special dinner party coming up where you need the essential service of your oven,” she said.

Debbie offers the following advice to anyone experiencing this situation: 

1. First and foremost, don’t get defensive and annoyed with your property manager.  Write a well thought out email expressing how it is affecting you and request that it is rectified within a set time frame and include some compassion for the role the property manager has to do – they will appreciate that most. The property manager can then escalate this to the landlord. Yes, there are some property managers who don’t give tenant requests the priority they need, but the majority of property managers are often as frustrated as the tenant in the landlord not responding.

2. I would highlight that legislation states that this is an emergency repair.  Some States have breach notices to request important things to be actioned or have mediation services.

3. You could also request a reduction in rent for the period of time ‘in waiting’… It is often how the property manager communicates the importance of a request to the landlord that determines the outcome.

Good luck Vanessa… and I am sure you are going to enjoy your lamb roast once the oven is working again.”

For information specific to your state or territory, visit Rent.com.au’s Important Numbers page.

We’ll be posting answers to reader questions every week. If you have a question you think would be interesting to see answered here, please send it to marketing@rent.com.au

debbie palmer
Debbie Palmer
Managing Director at | debbie@ppmgroup.com.au | + posts

Debbie celebrates more than 30 years experience in her property management career. She is dedicated, passionate, focused and offers a youthful approach to property management.

1 COMMENT

  1. This question interested me from the point of view of expecting to rent a reasonably well presented and maintained house and the length of time that should be taken to repair faults that are not seen as “emergency repairs”. We rent a house in a regional centre in NSW at Top market rent and have lived here for 18 months, on first inspection and lease signing and return of the condition report at that time we noted issues i.e. no working kitchen light, two external sliding doors that are heavy and very hard to lock & slide, gutters full of leaves and silt etc-etc. and after numerous property inspections and emails and promises to fix, we are still no closer to repairs of any of these things. If this was an issue because we were bad tenants, I would understand, but this is not the case and the agent values us as tenants and has suggested “it is a renters market at present” which I presume means we should move if we find this an issue, but that is more expense and does not solve the basic problems for someone else.
    I do believe that landlords need to be required to set aside a percentage of their income for ongoing maintenance and upkeep, just to protect their own investment, if nothing else. This is a requirement of body corporates in units and flats, why not rented accommodation?

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