Maintenance Policy

Purpose

The purpose of the Maintenance Policy is to detail Housing ACT's requirements for maintaining public rental properties. This Policy aims to ensure that public rental properties are safe and secure, meet acceptable community standards, protect the value of public rental housing assets, and provide a consistent and equitable level of service within the available resources.

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Legal Framework

This Policy is consistent with the provisions of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 External site (RTA) relating to the responsibilities of the landlord (Housing ACT) and the tenant regarding the amenity and condition of the premises.
The Housing ACT Property Standards Property Condition and Responsibility Guide contain detailed information on:

  • the quality and range of fixtures provided in and around Housing ACT properties;
  • the acceptable condition for the various features of an Housing ACT property;
  • what constitutes fair wear and tear - the responsibility of Housing ACT;
  • what constitutes tenant responsible maintenance (TRM);
  • Housing ACT's process and requirements for the resolution of TRM.

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Background

As a landlord covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 External Link, Housing ACT is responsible for maintaining its properties in reasonable repair so that they are safe, secure and healthy. Maintenance is a major point of contact between Housing ACT and its tenants. We use this contact as an opportunity to improve relationships with tenants and to improve their overall satisfaction with their housing and the services we provide.
We are pro-active in the maintenance of our properties. Repairs are carefully planned and prioritised to ensure critical and essential work is completed first.
In maintaining our properties we recognise that they are a highly valuable public asset. We plan and undertake maintenance work to maintain their value not only as an asset but as a home.

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How we Identify Maintenance

Housing ACT identifies maintenance through:

  • Tenant contacting the maintenance call centre;
  • Tenant contacting their Housing Manager;
  • Staff undertaking regular client service visits;
  • Inspection of vacated properties;
  • Property Condition Audits

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How we Prioritise Maintenance

Maintenance that affects the health, safety or essential security of the tenant is undertaken first. We call this urgent, and it falls under the responsive maintenance category.

Housing ACT may alter maintenance response times to match the circumstances of individual tenants. Issues such as the age of the tenant or other household members, degrees of disability and location are taken into consideration in determining the level of response necessary to rectify a problem.

Housing ACT has a record of maintenance required on many properties that is not urgent or priority. When this maintenance is identified it is programmed to occur as funds are available. It is important that the priority of work is clear so that we can deliver the maintenance where it is most needed. Properties that are in poor condition are generally repaired first.

The Housing ACT Asset Standards and Property Condition and Responsibility Guide is used to assist in making a decision about which work should be undertaken first, within available resources. Housing ACT is working to a plan that will ensure all properties meet these asset standards and future maintenance can be either responsive or on a planned cycle of work.

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Housing ACT's Responsibilities

Housing ACT is responsible for:

  • Undertaking repairs to ensure properties are safe, clean and fit to live in;
  • Maintaining properties in reasonable repair; and
  • Maintaining and cleaning common areas in its multi-unit sites.

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Tenant's Responsibilities

The tenant is responsible for:

  • Keeping the premises clean;
  • Maintaining front and rear yards to an acceptable community standard;
  • Any damage caused by the tenant, members of the tenant household or visitors the tenant allows on the premises;
  • Notifying the landlord of any damage as soon as possible and where possible, taking action to avoid any further damage;
  • Leaving the premises in the same condition (as recorded in the Property Condition Report completed at sign-up) at the end of the tenancy. Reasonable wear and tear excluded.

When a property is damaged, such as in a natural event like a storm or fire, or an unsafe situation arises, such as a large overhanging tree limb that may pose a danger, the tenant should ensure their personal safety. The tenant should take precautions to avoid further damage and contact Housing ACT to organise repairs.

Repairs – Most Common Charges for Tenanted Properties
Repairs – Most Common Charges for Vacated Properties

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Small Repairs

Tenant may fix minor repairs if they are able. For example:

  • Nailing loose fence palings;
  • Re-screwing loose cupboard handles;
  • Gluing a lifted tile.

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Housing ACT's Responsiveness to Repairs

As of 1 July 2010 Housing ACT has added another category which fits between a Normal and a Priority work order to improve the level of service provided to Housing ACT tenants. In addition to the new priority category Housing ACT has also re-determined the response times of the three existing categories.
The response time categories for repairs are as follows:

  • Urgent 4 (U4) – to be attended within 4 hours
  • Priority Next Day (PND) – to be completed by 6:00pm the following business day
  • Priority 96 (P96) – to be completed within 96 hours (4 days)
  • Normal 20 (N20) – to be completed within 20 days

The above categories allow Housing ACT to categorise maintenance appropriately depending on the nature of the issue and enable contractors to schedule their work more efficiently.

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Urgent (U4) Repairs

An urgent repair will be carried out where there is an immediate health, safety or security risk or where the property will immediately be further damaged if work is not carried out. A contractor will be notified and required to attend within 4 hours of the issue being reported.

Urgent repairs may include:

  • Significant water loss/leak (e.g. roof, pipes);
  • Tap won’t turn off resulting in significant water loss (e.g. a large (9L) bucket filled within an hour);
  • A fault or damage that causes the residential premises to be unsafe or insecure – e.g. property cannot be secured, window glass broken, door cannot lock;
  • Major external sewer overflow or any sewer overflow internal to premises;
  • Only toilet at property completely blocked and inoperable;
  • Gas Leakages and electrical dangers;
  • Loss of power supply or water supply;
  • Serious storm or fire damage ; and
  • a fault or damage likely to cause injury to person or property
  • Temporary heating on complete failure of existing heating (during colder months)

If Housing ACT is unable to organise urgent repairs, the tenant may arrange to have the work carried out to a maximum value of up to 5% of the rent of the property over a year. Housing ACT will reimburse the tenant for reasonable costs.

Tenant will only be reimbursed when:

  • Housing ACT was advised of the problem but could not arrange for it to be fixed in a reasonable time;
  • Tenant did not cause the damage;
  • The repair is carried out in a “tradesman” like manner.

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Priority Next Day (PND) Repairs

A Priority Next Business Day (PND) repair will be carried out where there is a maintenance issue causing significant inconvenience or has potential to develop into a health, safety or security risk. This category can also be assigned if there is a significant reduction in amenity such as loss of heating, cooking or hot water facilities. This type of repair is to be completed by 6:00pm the next business day from the time the issue is reported.
For a Priority Next Business Day repair the contractor(s) will be required to contact you to and make an appointment.

Priority Next Day Repairs may include:

  • Minor water or external sewerage leaks;
  • Taps that cannot be turned off resulting in a slow leak (large (9L) bucket filled overnight);
  • Critical Taps that cannot be turned on;
  • Appliance failure e.g. total failure of stove and oven (and no alternative cooking options), hot water service, room heater;
  • Smoke detector/s failed/broken;
  • Minor/partial blockage of only toilet at property; and
  • Pest control – European wasps, bees and possums (where in house and wall/ceiling cavity)

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Priority (P96) Repairs

A priority repair is work that is required to fix a problem that is not urgent (or emergency), but that is causing significant inconvenience and could develop into a health, safety or security risk if not fixed promptly.
Priority repairs are completed within four days of the issue being reported. Examples of priority repairs include:

  • hot water is slow to heat or external hot water service is leaking;
  • heater is not heating effectively;
  • crack in glass of oven door;
  • part of stove is broken or not working;
  • toilet cistern has a leak; taps have a slow leak
  • toilet seat is loose or broken;
  • toilet pan is loose;
  • minor blockage of 2nd toilet

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Normal Works (Scheduled Repairs)

Normal works are works that do not fall into the urgent, priority next business day or priority 96 categories however still require attention. When normal works are identified they will either be repaired within twenty days or placed on a planned maintenance program depending on the situation and the extent of the work required.
Below are some examples of normal repairs that will usually be repaired within twenty days:

  • internal door handle is loose or fallen off;
  • renew silicone seal to kitchen splashback;
  • wall tile fallen off;
  • re-grout wall tiles;
  • sag in ceiling without any water leak;
  • cracked roof tile or floor tile;
  • difficult to operate window;
  • difficult to operate gate;
  • fly wire replacement due to fair wear and tear; and
  • security or other door binding but still functional

Some examples of normal works that will generally be referred to planned maintenance programs include:

  • new floor coverings, (where safety is an issue temporary repairs are carried out until new floor coverings are arranged on a planned maintenance program);
  • internal painting (where ceiling paint flaking in food preparation areas, peeling paint will be scraped back and will be repainted when the property has a full internal paint on a planned maintenance program;
  • external painting; and
  • replacing major components in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and/or toilet

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Planned Maintenance

Planned maintenance involves repairing, or replacing major parts of a property that are below standard. Planned maintenance is usually carried out based on the condition of various rooms and components in the property. Condition based maintenance depends on assessing whether the condition of a maintenance item is below standard. Examples of condition based maintenance items include floor coverings, kitchens, bathrooms, wet areas and fences.

Housing ACT’s Total Facilities Manager carries out condition audits on Housing ACT properties. Condition audits include taking note of the age and condition of major components of a property such as the kitchen and bathroom. The information gathered in the audit is used to determine if and when the various components are placed on a planned maintenance program.

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Vacant Dwellings

Vacant dwellings will receive any required urgent, or priority maintenance and necessary cleaning before they are re-tenanted. Major work that is not urgent or priority work will usually be included on a planned maintenance program.

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Appeals

A tenant's right to have their property appropriately maintained is covered by their tenancy agreement. A tenant who is not satisfied with the standard of maintenance or condition of their home can have their case heard by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) who can order the landlord to make repairs.

However, before going to the Tribunal, the tenant should first try to resolve the issue with Housing ACT.

If you have a complaint regarding maintenance services please contact the Maintenance Call Centre on 6207 1500 in the first instance. If you are unable to achieve a satisfactory outcome, please call Housing ACT Complaints Management Unit on 6207 1515 during business hours.

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