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Responsive Maintenance Policy

Download Evolve Housing 'Responsive Maintenance' Policy (PDF)

Contents

1. Purpose
2. Scope
3. Policy statement
3.1 Duty of care
3.2 Budgeting
3.3 Timeframes for completion of maintenance
3.4 Security and locks
3.4.1 Minimum security standards
3.4.2 Changing of locks
3.4.3 Security girlls, grids and shutters
3.4.4 Window locks and fire safety
3.4.5 Monitoring security standards
3.4.6 Information for tenants
3.4.7 Failure to meet standards in leasehold properties
3.5 Electrical safety
3.5.1 Standards
3.5.2 Monitoring electrical safety standards
3.5.3 Information for tenants
3.5.4 Failure to meet standards in Leasehold Properties
3.6 Fire prevention and safety
3.6.1 Smoke alarms - Capital Properties
3.6.2 Smoke alarms - Non-Capital Properties
3.6.3 Security girlls, grids and window shutters
3.6.4 Window locks
3.6.5 Monitoring property standards
3.6.6 Information for tenants
3.7 Hazardous materials
3.7.1 General
3.7.2 Hazardous Material Asbestos Policy
3.7.3 Hazardous Material Lead Policy
3.8 Maintenance responsibilities
3.8.1 Summary of responsibilities
3.8.2 Pest control
3.8.3 Protected species
3.8.4 Telephone connections
3.8.5 Swimming pools
3.8.6 Maintenance at complexes - common area maintenance
3.8.7 Tenant charges
3.8.8 Tenants with disabilities
3.9 Tenant charges
3.10 Tenants with disabilities
3.11 Tenant upgrades
3.11.1 Introduction and exclusions
3.11.2 General guidelines for approval
3.11.3 Internal painting by tenants
3.11.4 Security bars, grills and shutters
3.11.5 Floor coverings
3.11.6 Pay TV services
3.12 Out-of-hours emergencies
3.13 Maintenance expenditure approvals
3.14 Leasehold properties
3.14.1 Reporting of maintenance
3.14.2 Non-completion of maintenance
3.14.3 Persistent failure to complete works
3.14.4 Failure to contact on urgent matters
3.15 Contracting agreements and contractors
3.15.1 Selection
3.15.2 General review
3.15.3 Protocols
3.15.4 Confirmation of details
3.15.5 Exceptions
3.15.6 Records
3.15.7 Procedure for selecting contractors
3.15.8 Orders
3.15.9 Variations to orders
3.15.10 Appointments with contractors not kept
3.15.11 Outstanding and overdue orders
3.15.12 Checking and payment for works
3.16 Quotations and competitive tendering
3.16.1 Quotations
3.16.2 Tendering
3.17 Property inspections
3.17.1 Commencement and end of tenancies
3.17.2 Initial property inspections
3.17.3 Regular property insepctions
3.17.4 Vacated properties
3.18 Documentation and record systems
3.18.1 Maintenance orders 
3.18.2 Property inspections
3.19 Fire at an Evolve Housing property
3.19.1 If a property is uninhabitable due to fire or other reasons
4. Responsibilities
5. Related resources

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline Evolve Housing's commitments to maintaining residential property conditions in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Community Housing Regulations 2009.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all Evolve Housing properties and tenants.

3. Policy statement

Evolve Housing is committed to fulfilling our responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (no 42) and the Community Housing Regulations 2009 to maintain residential properties.

In accordance with these, Evolve Housing will:

  • Provide all residential premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness so as to be fit for occupancy by the tenant.
  • Provide and maintain the residential premises in a reasonable state of repair, having regard to the age of the property and its prospective life cycle.

The policies adopted by Evolve Housing that provide additional benefits to the tenants over and above the provisions of the Act, or further clarify rights and responsibilities under the Act, are specified in this policy and listed in Section 5. Related resources.

3. 1 Duty of care

Evolve Housing has a responsibility to exercise proper professional care to its tenants in the way asset management decisions are formed and in the manner that duties and responsibilities are carried out. 

Evolve Housing will take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of its tenants in the carrying out of maintenance works.

Evolve Housing will undertake maintenance works that are consistent with relevant legislation and by-laws, including the Residential Tenancies Act, local Council regulations, Building Code of Australia, Australia Standards and other relevant industry standards, and all applicable relevant health and safety standards.

3. 2 Budgeting

Evolve Housing will ensure, in relation to responsive and planned maintenance work:

  • Sufficient budget is available to cover costs over all maintenance programs.
  • Where those future liabilities are identified, sufficient provisions will be made for future expenditures.

This includes the requirement that there is fair and equitable expenditure across the property portfolio.

3. 3 Timeframes for completion of maintenance

The following table provides guidelines for the completion times and/or to make safe varying categories of maintenance works consistent with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Housing NSW guidelines as defined in the following categories:

Category

Description

Timeframe

Urgent

The type of repairs that are urgent repairs are defined in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, Section 63, part 3,  and are defined as follows:

  • Sewerage blockage
  • A serious roof leak
  • A gas leak
  • A dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious storm or fire damage
  • A failure of breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
  • A failure or breakdown of any essential service on the residential premises for hot water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundering
  • Any fault or damage that causes the premises to be unsafe or insecure
  • Any other damage prescribed by the regulations, but does not include work needed to repair premises not owned by the landlord or a person having superior title (such as a head landlord) to the landlord

Attended to and made safe within 24 hours

 

Routine and all other maintenance

All other repairs that are not a threat to the security or safety of the tenants are regarded as being routine maintenance. In some instances, if the extent of the work required is not clear. A technical assessment may be required prior to issuing work order.

 

Annual Maintenance Program (AMP)

 

3. 4 Security and locks

3.4.1 Minimum security standards

The Act requires the landlord provide “reasonable” security for tenants. The guideline used by Evolve Housing, as to reasonable security, is:

  • External doors to be of solid core construction and fitted with operational safety release feature automatically unlocks inside knob on entry, automatic double cylinder dead latch where appropriate.
  • Front and rear lockable screen doors to be provided to all single detached dwellings and all medium density accommodation where appropriate.
  • All dwellings and ground floor unit windows will be fitted with operational key-in-lock devices.
  • Further measures may be taken to improve the security of dwellings, for example, the installation of sensor lighting or temporary security monitoring or patrolling.
  • Generally further measures will only be employed where the property is unusually exposed or is considered higher risk.
  • Extraordinary measures can be adopted and can only be authorised by the Asset Manager or Management above.   
  • The expenditure is within agreed delegated authority.

3.4.2 Changing of locks

  • Evolve Housing will charge tenants for 100% of the cost of gaining access, changing lock barrels, replacing keys, etc., in matters where it is not the result of fair wear and tear.

For example, Evolve Housing will charge tenants, for the above costs, where keys are either lost or stolen (see Section 3.1.8 Tenant Charges).  If the keys are reported stolen, it will be necessary for the tenant to provide an Event Number from the NSW Police. The discretion to waiver charges may be made by the Maintenance Manager and above.

3.4.3 Security grills, grids and shutters

See Section 3.6 Fire Prevention & Safety and Section 3.11 Tenant Upgrades for information on security grills and grids.

3.4.4 Window locks and fire safety

Evolve Housing will key all window locks alike, where possible and practical to do so.

3.4.5 Monitoring security standards

Evolve Housing will regularly assess and monitor the security standards of its properties through periodic property inspections and Complete Building Inspections.

3.4.6 Information for tenants

Tenants will have access to information on the current security standards and policies of Evolve Housing online. 

3.4.7 Failure to meet standards in leasehold properties

Where Evolve Housing does not have full management responsibility:

3.5 Electrical safety

3.5.1 Standards

Evolve Housing properties are required to meet electrical standards that were current at time of construction, such as:

  • The consumer mains and residential switchboard complies with statutory standards for the year in which the dwelling was built, unless upgraded.
  • Where appropriate circuit breakers are fitted and in working order.
  • Safety switches or earth leakage devices are fitted and in working order.
  • All wiring is safe and in sound condition.
  • The earthing are adequate.
  • Electric appliances e.g. stoves, hot water systems, exhaust fans etc, are in good condition and in working order.
  • All switches, light fittings, fixtures, power outlets, etc. are working and are in good condition.

3.5.2 Monitoring electrical safety standards

Evolve Housing will regularly assess and monitor the electrical safety standards of its properties through periodic property inspections and Complete Building Inspections.

3.5.3 Information for tenants

Tenants will have access to information on Evolve Housing policies and factsheets (relating to maintenance) online. 

3.5.4 Failure to meet standards in leasehold properties

Where a property, offered to Evolve Housing, does not meet the electrical safety standards detailed in Section 3.5.1 Standards, the property will not be acquired by Evolve Housing.

3.6 Fire prevention and safety

3.6.1 Smoke alarms  - Capital Properties

All properties where Evolve Housing retains full management control, e.g. Capital Properties, will be fitted with hard-wired smoke detection systems.

Smoke alarms are intended to detect smoke before it reaches the sleeping occupants of a building.  Smoke alarms will be installed in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

The operation of all smoke alarms installed in Evolve Housing will be tested as part of the annual Smoke Alarm Programme and will comply with Australian Standard AS3786.

All nuisance alarms should be reported to Evolve Housing immediately for actioning and rectification.

If tenants disconnect, tamper or interfere with any smoke alarm without written approval from Evolve Housing, they will be charged the cost of repair/replacement.  Such action is a breach of their agreement with Evolve Housing (Section 39, Residential Tenancy Agreement) and action against the tenant may be taken at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

3.6.2 Smoke alarms  - non-capital properties

The Building (Interim) Regulations 2005 Act requires smoke alarms to be installed in all residential buildings.  It is the owner/landlords’ responsibility to install smoke alarms in rented premises.

Where smoke alarms are installed in properties for which Evolve Housing does not have full management responsibility, e.g. leasehold properties, Evolve Housing will contact the property owner/agent and require the installation of alarm(s) that meets the Regulation and the standards detailed in Section 3.6.1 Smoke Alarms - Capital Properties.

The installation of such a system is a pre-requisite for the acquisition of all Evolve Housing leasehold properties.  Evolve Housing will not acquire a property where the absence of a smoke alarm contravenes the relevant provisions of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulations and relevant Australian Standard.

If a Non-Capital Property is found not to have an approved smoke detector installed and the owner/agent refuses to install a smoke alarm, Evolve Housing will relocate our tenant and return the property to the agent/landlord.

3.6.3 Security grills, grids and window shutters

Where tenant requests, in writing, for security grills or grids to be installed at the property at their own expense, approval can be given provided:

  • The grill/grids and window shutters must comply with current Australian Standard codes.
  • The tenant must receive approval from Evolve Housing in writing prior to the installation.  
    (see Section 3.11 Tenant Upgrades).

3.6.4 Window locks

To assist in the evacuation of residents in the event of fire, Evolve Housing will install all window locks keyed-alike where possible.

All windows in ground floor dwellings will be fitted with operational key-in-lock devices.

3.6.5 Monitoring property standards

Evolve Housing regularly assess and monitor the fire equipment within complexes with common areas under the Emergency Exit, Light, and Fires Program. Complete Building Inspections (CBIs) are conducted to assess properties against Evolve Housing standards.

3.6.6 Information for tenants

Tenants will have access to information on Evolve Housing policies and factsheets (relating to maintenance) online.

3.7 Hazardous materials

3.7.1 General

When identified as being an immediate danger, hazardous materials will be removed from Evolve Housing properties. Such materials, other than asbestos & lead, include toxic gases, flammable liquids and any other hazardous chemicals.  Asbestos will be managed in accordance with Evolve Housing Hazards Material Asbestos Policy. Lead will be managed in accordance with Evolve Housing Hazards Material Lead Policy.

3.7.2 Hazardous Material Asbestos Policy

Where asbestos is present in dwellings, Evolve Housing Hazards Material Asbestos Policy will apply.

3.7.3 Hazardous Material Lead Policy

Where lead is present in dwellings, Evolve Housing Hazards Material Lead Policy will apply.

3.8 Maintenance responsibilities

3.8.1 Summary of responsibilities

The standard maintenance responsibilities of Evolve Housing properties are detailed in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.

Evolve Housing will arrange for the replacement of light globes and fluorescent tubes, where Evolve Housing consider there is a threat to the safety of tenants in replacing, these items.

For example;  for older people; people with disabilities or medical problems; or where the location of the services represent a clear safety risk, e.g. light fittings in high ceilings or above stairs.

Evolve Housing is not responsible for:

  • Supply and installation of air conditioning or other cooling devices.
  • The cleaning of range hood filters or kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
  • Erection of garden sheds and garages.
  • Supply and installation of window awnings or treatments.
  • Supply of furnishings.
  • Supply and/or installation of intruder alarm systems.
  • Supply and installation of heating devices.
  • Dishwashers, dryers, refrigerators washing machines and other whitegoods.
  • Installation of swimming pools (see Section 3.8.5 Swimming pools).
  • Patios, pergolas and shade structures.
  • Ordinary telephone supply or connection (See Section 3.8.4 Telephone connections).
  • Installation of cable, satellite or other Pay TV services.
  • Supply and installation of grills, grids or shutters to windows.
  • Maintenance and repair of authorised or unauthorised additions.
  • Maintenance or improvements to grounds and gardens including cleaning or clearing of gutters (this relates to single dwellings and dual occupancies only, see Section 3.8.6 Maintenance at complexes - common area maintenance for information on property complexes subject to common area maintenance contracts).

Evolve Housing will not provide the items listed above and will not consider or approve requests for part-payment or subsidisation, e.g. a tenant requests Evolve Housing to pay installation costs only.

3.8.2 Pest control

Evolve Housing will be responsible within the duration of tenancy as follows:

  • Termites (white ants)
  • Beehives, wasp nests, etc.
  • Bird nests within dwelling structures

Within the first 6 weeks of tenancy and including the above, Evolve Housing will be responsible for the following:

  • Cockroaches
  • Vermin, including rats, mice and spiders
  • Fleas

Tenants will be responsible after 6 weeks of tenancy, for the treatment and/or removal of:

  • Ants
  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches
  • Vermin (including rats and mice)
  • Fleas

3.8.3 Protected species

Where an animal is a protected species, then removal requires a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) license.  Protected species in NSW include:

  • Reptiles, such as snakes and frogs
  • Mammals such as bandicoots, possums, wallabies & echidnas
  • Birds including kookaburras, magpies and parrots

Where removal is considered necessary, contact will be made by Evolve Housing with the NPWS for referral to a licensed contractor.

3.8.4 Telephone connections

a) New dwellings

Connection fee charges for tenants of newly constructed dwellings will vary according to the work required by Telstra to organise the connection.

Evolve Housing will endeavour to lower these costs by ensuring that the builder of the dwelling has made arrangements for the connection of the telephone service. The builder will be responsible for all trenching, cabling and internal telephone wiring installation.

It is recognised that higher connection fees apply to new dwellings and these additional relocation costs can be difficult for Evolve Housing tenants.  Evolve Housing will reimburse tenants 100% of the total connection fee, in recognition of the additional costs involved.

b) Existing dwellings

The connection of telephone services for existing dwellings is considered a matter between the tenant and the telephone service provider. Evolve Housing cannot offer any reimbursement of connection fees.

3.8.5 Swimming pools

Evolve Housing will not acquire any property which has a swimming pool; unless agreement is reached for the structure to be removed prior to acquisition by Evolve Housing. This policy applies to all properties, including leasehold and capital property acquisitions.

Where a tenant has installed a swimming pool without the consent of Evolve Housing, the pool is to be immediately removed.

Note:  A “swimming pool” is defined as any structure (an excavation, structure or vessel) that is capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300 millimetres or more; and, principally used, or designed, for the purpose of swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity that under council requirements needs to be fenced.

3.8.6 Maintenance at complexes - common area maintenance

Evolve Housing will undertake the regular maintenance of apartment, townhouse and villa complexes, where the complexes have common grounds and/or gardens (this does not include dual occupancies or single dwellings).

a) Regular works

Regular works to be completed are:

  • General maintenance and cleaning of lawns and gardens, including lawn mowing, weeding and watering.
  • Clearing of gutters on high-rise walk up apartment blocks and two storey dwellings.
  • Replacement of globes to common area lighting.
  • Cleaning and rubbish removal from internal areas such as foyers and stairwells.
  • Cleaning of waste disposal areas.

b) Other works

Other works to be monitored and completed as necessary include:

  • Maintenance of intercom systems and other security devices.
  • Ensuring that the complex fencing, including access gates, are in working order.
  • Maintenance of existing signage and installing additional signage where necessary.

c) Maintenance area contracts

A qualified contractor will carry out regular works, as outlined in (a) above, under a written agreement with Evolve Housing.

For each complex, the agreement will:

  • Itemise all works to be completed.
  • Include a schedule of regular property visits to be conducted by the contractor in completing the required works.
  • Include all costs associated with the agreement, including details of any progress payments to be made.

3.8.7 Tenant charges

Where Evolve Housing has organised maintenance that is not considered urgent and is the result of fair wear and tear or where the property has been damaged accidentally or maliciously by the tenant, the costs of the damage will be borne by the tenant. 

Refer to Evolve Housing Tenant Repair Charge Policy

3.8.8 Tenants with disabilities

Where a tenant (or household member) has a disability which restricts their everyday activities, every consideration will be given to any additional maintenance needs or amenities at the property. Every effort will be made to ensure the property remains appropriate for their needs.

With regard to requests for modification, please refer to the Evolve Housing Modifications Policy

3.11 Tenant upgrades

3.11.1 Introduction and exclusions

This section covers requests from tenants to complete maintenance works at their properties, where:

  • The tenant will be carrying out the work themselves or organising for the works to be undertaken by others, and
  • The tenant has offered to pay for the works.

The following works are considered minor upgrades, can be completed without written approval from Evolve Housing and are excluded from the provisions listed in Section 3.11.7 below:

  • Installation of telephones
  • Planting of gardens and lawns
  • Reasonable supply of picture hooks and hanging devices

Any proposed works or upgrades not defined above require written approval from Evolve Housing.

3.11.2 General guidelines for approval

Prior to any approval to proceed:

  • The request from the tenant is made in writing.
  • The standard of works will be consistent with Evolve Housing standards for completed works and all works will be completed in trades like manner.
  • Where tenants are replacing existing services, the quality of materials used must be at least consistent with the existing materials.
  • The tenant must prove that they are able to meet all legal requirements in relation to the works, e.g. the use of licensed trades people where required or gaining local Council approval. 
  • An Evolve Housing approval letter must be obtained by the tenant prior to any approval from Evolve Housing to proceed with the works.
  • The tenant will remain liable for making good any defects in relation to the works.
  • Any approvals to proceed will be in writing to the tenant; this will include any additional conditions required by Evolve Housing.

The work must not interference with the safety, peace or enjoyment of neighbours.

Evolve Housing is under no obligation to offer compensation for the works completed by tenants.  The tenants will be responsible for all costs associated with the works including any application fees (e.g. Council) and any additional works required and any on-going maintenance or repairs.

When the tenants leave the premises, the tenant will be required to restore the property to its original state, unless Evolve Housing agree to leave the improvements for the benefit of the next tenant.

Requests from tenants living in properties for which Evolve Housing does not have full management control, e.g. leasehold properties, will be subject to approval from the property owner/agent.  Evolve Housing will generally attempt to dissuade tenants from completing the works due to the relative lack of tenure security with such properties.

Requests from tenants are to be managed and approved by the Evolve Housing Asset Team.

3.11.3 Internal painting by tenants

If a tenant makes a request to internally paint the premises, approval can be given subject to:

  • The finished works must be of a trades-like quality and must meet the Evolve Housing standards for internal painting (including paint types and quality).
  • The paint colours chosen by the tenant must be acceptable to Evolve Housing.

Evolve Housing can agree to compensate the tenant for the cost of the paint.  Evolve Housing will reach agreement on maximum costs prior to approval.  The tenant must produce receipts and Evolve Housing will inspect the work prior to payment approval.

Requests from tenants are to be managed and approved by Evolve Housing Asset team.

3.11.4 Security bars, grills and shutters

Evolve Housing will take additional precautions concerning requests for the installation by tenants of security bars and grills or similar, as their installation can undermine the safety of the residents if they need to evacuate the dwelling in an emergency.  Evolve Housing will provide information to the tenant of the risk often posed by grills during an emergency evacuation.

All such devices must be easily operable from the inside. That is, they are either a collapsible or hinged type. In such situations, Evolve Housing will advise the tenant of an acceptable device model and a recommended local dealer. Evolve Housing will make arrangements to inspect all devices immediately after installation.

Models that are not operable from the inside will not be approved for installation under any circumstances. Where a tenant has installed such a model without Evolve Housing consent, Evolve Housing will advise the tenant in writing that the device must be immediately removed.

Note: all security bars, grills and shutters must comply with current Australian Standards.

3.11.5 Floor coverings

Tenants are able to change the type of floor coverings, i.e. from carpet to tiles, at their own cost where it is considered that the changes will not detract from the Evolve Housing property.  Prior written approval is required from Evolve Housing Asset Team.

3.11.6 Pay TV services

Refer to the Evolve Housing Pay Television Satellite Dishes and Antennas Policy for the installation of pay TV services.

3.12 Out-of-hours emergencies

Evolve Housing has a dedicated out-of-hours repairs emergency line, where tenants can contact for emergency maintenance request. These emergencies are listed below:

  • A burst water service.
  • A blocked or broken toilet system preventing use (if another toilet is available within the property, this is not deemed urgent).
  • A gas leak.
  • A dangerous electrical fault.
  • Flooding or serious damage.
  • Serious storm or fire damage.
  • A failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply.

A failure or breakdown of any essential service such as hot water system or cooking facilities or any fault that causes the property to be unsafe or not secured.

THE EMERGENCY AFTER HOURS LINE is only for maintenance issues that threaten the health and safety of Evolve Housing tenant(s) and the property.

Evolve Housing will ensure these calls are attended to by our contractor dealing with out-of-hours emergencies calls.

For a summary, please refer to the Repairs & Maintenance Factsheet.

3.13 Maintenance expenditure approvals

All maintenance work orders issued by Evolve Housing will be authorised in accordance with the approved Schedule of Delegations.

3.14 Leasehold properties

3.14.1 Reporting of maintenance

Maintenance reports for leasehold properties will be recorded in Evolve Housing’s Community Housing, Asset and Record Management System (CHARMS) and will include all details of action taken by Evolve Housing to have the maintenance completed.

All maintenance reports concerning emergency or urgent items will be made immediately. All other maintenance reports will be made within 24 hours.

3.14.2 Non-completion of maintenance

The timeframes for the completion of maintenance shown in the Table in Section 3.3 Timeframes for Completion of Maintenance also relate to leasehold properties.

Evolve Housing will use the timeframes to guide any further action it may take against owner/agents for their failure to meet such targets.

Urgent works

Where Evolve Housing has requested urgent repairs and a landlord has failed to complete the urgent works within 14 days of receiving written notice,  Evolve Housing will take action as per the tenancy agreement and the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010.

Any remedial action will involve:

  • Evolve Housing taking responsibility for initiating the immediate follow-up action and not the Evolve Housing tenant.
  • Urgently request the landlord, in writing, noting a breach under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010  and proposing a timeframe for completion.
  • Informing Evolve Housing's tenant of the action being taken.

If the landlord fails to act Evolve Housing will undertake the work at its expense and claim reimbursement from the landlord.

3.14.3 Persistent failure to complete works

Evolve Housing will seek to resolve matters where a landlord has, over a period of time, persistently failed to have general maintenance and repairs (urgent or otherwise) completed.

In this case the remedy may include:

  • Notifying the landlord, in writing, of all outstanding works.
  • Conducting a joint inspection with the landlord.
  • Make an application to Residential Tenancies Tribunal for a remedy order.

Landlord’s general obligation (Leasehold Properties)

The landlord’s general obligation in this instance, Leasehold properties, may be found in Section 63, Clause (1), (2), (3) and (4) of The Residential Tenancy Act 2010 No 42.

Urgent repairs to residential premises (Leasehold Properties).

The landlord’s general obligation (Leasehold Properties) may be found in Section 64, Clause (1), (2) Sub-section a-f, inclusive of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, No 42.

Tenants remedies for repairs (Leasehold Properties)

The tenant's remedies for repairs (Leasehold Properties) may be found in Section 65, Clause (1) sub-section a-b.  Orders for repairs, Clause (2), (3), a-b, (4) and (5). The Residential Tenancies Act 2010, No 42, is available on the internet at The Consumer, Trader and Tenancy, website. The Residential Tenancy Act 2010 No 42. 

Where matters cannot be resolved Evolve Housing will, at the tenant's request, organise for the relocation of the tenant and return the property.

The action taken by Evolve Housing to resolve matters will include full consultation with the tenant at all times.

3.14.4 Failure to contact on urgent matters

Where the agent or owner cannot be contacted for emergency or urgent matters, Evolve Housing will use its right under section 6, 63, 64 and 65, of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, No 42, to have the maintenance completed and to seek reimbursement from the agent/owner for any costs incurred.

3.15 Contracting agreements and contractors

All maintenance work issued by Evolve Housing will be completed by qualified and licensed contractor companies. A contractor is more likely to:

  • Carry on an independent business in his or her name or under a business name.
  • Be subject to Prescribed Payments System (PPS) tax arrangements.
  • Supply his or her own tools and materials.
  • Be engaged to carry out a task using his or her own expertise and  judgement.
  • Employ others, delegate and sub-let work to others.
  • Have other sources of work and income separate from any contract with Evolve Housing.
  • Not be paid on a time basis.

3.15.1 Selection

Other selection issues

When selecting contractors for works, Evolve Housing will also consider other criteria (other than that noted in Deemed Employees above). Contractors should:

  • Be based in the local community (or close to).
  • Be equipped and resourced to complete required works.
  • Be able to meet completion dates as set by Evolve Housing.
  • Be reliable (references will be checked wherever possible prior to using tradespeople).
  • Be specialised, where appropriate in their selected fields.
  • Be accessible (i.e. should have fax, mobile phone and after-hours access and a sound IT system).
  • Be competitively priced.
  • Treat tenants with respect.
  • Be professional and honour appointments and access arrangements.
  • Produce quality work and leave site tidy – good tradesperson like manner.
  • Be required to wear identification showing their company name, when attending to maintenance on behalf of Evolve Housing.

Selection process

The accepted process used for the selection of suitable maintenance contractors when ever it occurs will ensure that:

  • Successful contractors will be procured through a transparent process.
  • All registration vacancies will be advertised through a competitive  tendering process.
  • All contractors interested in registering for work with Evolve Housing have a fair opportunity to do so.
  • Contractors who best meet the selection criteria, as outlined in the above policy, are considered as the preferred supplier.
  • Each recruitment process, including the basis of selection of any contractors, is fully documented.

Refer to Section 3.15.2 Procedure for Selecting Contractors for further information.

Vacancies

Where vacancies occur in any category, Evolve Housing will generally advertise the vacancy using the agreed recruitment and selection process.

3.15.2 General review

The contractor’s work will be reviewed monthly for non-performance and Evolve Housing will negotiate a continuation or termination of their services.

Evolve Housing will review and renegotiate with performing contractors in line with proposed 2+2+2 procurement system.

Where non-performing contractors have been identified and where performance does not improve, termination of contracts will proceed; these works will be tendered out as per the above Evolve Housing process.

3.15.3 Protocols

Contractors will agree to the prescribed protocols for the completion of works, as developed and amended from time to time by Evolve Housing

3.15.4 Confirmation of details

Prior to the issuing of a contract, Evolve Housing will obtain current details of:

  • The company name and registered address.
  • The companies Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • The license number, expiry date and category of work shown on license.
  • Confirmation of details of any insurance held, including workers compensation and public liability insurance.

These details will be provided by the completion of the prescribed registration form by each contractor.

3.15.5 Exceptions

It is recognised that there may be occasions where works are issued to contractors prior to receipt of adequate documentation. This may include the checking of the currency of any licenses or insurances held.

For example, Evolve Housing may need to resolve a potentially dangerous situation at a property and a registered contractor may not be available to complete the works.

In such cases, every endeavour will be made to gain verbal assurances, as a minimum, that the contractor would meet the criteria specified requirements for the use of contractors.

Evolve Housing will consider engaging larger, higher-profile companies to complete major works wherever possible and appropriate.  Furthermore, in such cases:

  • The Asset Manager will clearly authorise the works.
  • The prescribed registration and review form for contractors will be immediately sent to the contractor.

3.15.6 Records

Evolve Housing will maintain records, for each contractor, in a legible form of:

  • A complete and signed copy of the prescribed registration and review form (including details as required under Section 3.15.4 Confirmation of details).
  • Signed agreement and acceptance of the prescribed protocols.
  • All payments made to contractors and the details of the works involved.
  • Copies of all relevant documentation in relation to insurances.
  • Any reviews conducted of the contractor’s work.

Evolve Housing will maintain an accessible database of the licensing and insurance details of tradespeople, particularly in relation to expiry dates.

An easily accessible schedule of current tradespeople will be available to all staff.

3.15.7 Procedure for selecting contractors

The continued use of contractors will be based on regular and ongoing review of contractor performance, which will consist of an assessment of their capacity to continue to meet the criteria outlined in sections 'Deemed employees' and 'Other selection issues' above.

Contractors will complete the prescribed registration and review form every three months.

Evolve Housing will seek feedback from tenants during any process of reviewing the performance of tradespeople.

3.15.8 Orders

Information concerning all maintenance work orders will be entered into Evolve Housing’s Community Housing Asset & Records Management (CHARM) Database. Evolve Housing will issue all maintenance work orders in writing in the standard format. Information on the work order will include:

  • Specific nature of required works
  • Access arrangements for the premises, e.g. tenant’s contact number
  • Date for completion of works
  • Name of staff member who issued the order

3.15.9 Variations to orders

Tradespeople are permitted to vary work orders, up to $300.00, provided the work relates to the work requested. Any such approval will be noted and authorised on Evolve Housing’s copy of the relevant work order, upon completion.

3.15.10 Appointments with contractors not kept

Evolve Housing will charge tenants the service fee for contractors where the tenants make an appointment time with contractors but twice fail to adhere to the time.

3.15.11 Outstanding and overdue orders

Evolve Housing will regularly review all maintenance work that has not been completed by the due date.

Where non-completion is confirmed, Evolve Housing will contact the company principle and ascertain the reasons and, where necessary, will negotiate an extension of time with the contractor.

Where works are not completed by any agreed time, Evolve Housing retain the right to cancel any agreement with the contractor and shall notify the company of such in writing immediately.

3.15.12 Checking and payment for works

Work orders in the following range will be checked by an authorised Evolve Housing staff member prior to payment:

  • Twenty precent (20%) of orders between $1,500 and $2999.00
  • Fifty precent (50%) of orders from $3,000 to 4,999.00
  • One hundred precent (100%) of all orders over $5,000.00

A daily phone audit will be conducted by Evolve Housing, on all work orders, to ensure the contractors work has been completed satisfactorily.

Major works will be checked by a suitably qualified building consultant.

All work to vacant properties, regardless of the value of the work, will be checked by an authorised Evolve Housing staff member prior to payment.

Where smaller maintenance works are not being regularly checked and where payment has been made, Evolve Housing may undertake random inspections of 10% of all such paid works each quarter.

Such checks will reflect the varied works and tradespeople used during that period.

Payment of approved works will occur within 30 days of the receipt of invoice.

If the work is not satisfactory the contractor will not be paid until the work is rectified.

3.16 Quotations and competitive tendering

3.16.1 Quotations

Where works are estimated to be of greater value than $1,500, Evolve Housing will seek a written quotation from a contractor prior to issuing any work orders.

3.16.2 Tendering

Tendering for particular works, when required

Where works are not covered by schedule of rate and/or estimated to be of greater value than $10,000.00, Evolve Housing may seek two (2) written quotations from prequalified suppliers.

Evolve Housing will observe confidentiality and privacy principles during the quotation, tendering and selection processes.

Evolve Housing will ensure that:

  • No disclosure is made to any tender of the identity of any other party involved in the tender process.

No information is provided to the tenders of the nature of any other tenders received for the work, particularly the amount tendered.

The Property Services Manager will manage all tender processes and make a final recommendation to the Asset Manager or General Manager Asset & Infrastructure in accordance with the Schedule of Delegations.

Common area tendering

Evolve Housing may conduct tenders for common area maintenance contracts every two years.

The tasks for common area maintenance contracts are included at Section 3.8.6 Maintenance at Complexes - Common Area Maintenance.

The process for the selection of the successful tender will be subject to principles outlined in Section 3.15 Contracting agreements and contractors (Section 3.15.1 Selection).

3.17 Property inspections

3.17.1 Commencement and end of tenancies

A full and comprehensive property condition report is to be completed prior to the commencement and at the end of each tenancy. 

The tenant is to be provided with a copy of the report at the time of signing their Residential Tenancy Agreement. 

The property condition report is to be completed an Evolve Housing officer.

At the time of each inspection, Evolve Housing will complete an analysis of the safety of the property.

3.17.2 Initial property inspections

Evolve Housing will conduct an initial property inspection for leasehold and capital properties within six months following each tenant’s occupation of the property.

The visiting Housing Manager will make a decision at this time as to the frequency of future inspection visits, considering matters such as the property condition or an obvious lack of care by the tenant.

The frequency of further inspections will not breach the rights of the tenant under the Act.

3.17.3 Regular property inspections

Evolve Housing will inspect all leasehold properties at least once per annum, preferably with the owner or the real estate agent present.

Evolve Housing will inspect all capital properties in the Evolve Housing portfolio at least once per annum.

At the inspection any general and cyclical maintenance that requires attention will be viewed and any currently planned works will be reviewed.

Evolve Housing will complete a complete building technical report for each capital property, at least, once every 3 years.

Evolve Housing will undertake property inspections in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, at all times, and will complete a property condition report for all inspections which is retained in the property file.  After the first inspection, it is not necessary for a tenant to be provided with a copy of the report, but it can be provided upon request.

3.17.4 Vacated properties

The end-of-tenancy inspection will be completed prior to the tenant vacating wherever possible or otherwise within two working days of receipt of notification that the property has been vacated.

At the time of inspection, a property condition report is to be completed and compared to the incoming condition report held on file to assess whether any damage is either created by valid wear and tear or as a result of tenant damage.

If there are any repairs or cleaning items considered to be the ex-tenant’s responsibility, Evolve Housing will, in the first instance, attempt to negotiate with the ex-tenant for their completion or sufficient compensation to cover the costs involved. 

It is recognised Evolve Housing has an imperative to have the property re-let as soon as possible and there will not be any undue delays.

If Evolve Housing is unable to contact the tenant, and the tenant is not in a position to cover the costs of repairs, Evolve Housing will take steps to recover the funds from the tenant over a period of time.

Any repairs will be undertaken as a matter of urgency to return the property to Evolve Housing standards.  Wherever possible, repairs will be undertaken prior to the property being made available to a new tenant.

Any repair orders issued are to be noted as “property vacant” and all contractors should be aware of the imperative to complete the work at the earliest possible time.

3.18 Documentation and record systems

3.18.1 Maintenance orders

Evolve Housing will maintain details of maintenance orders showing payment information within CHARM.

A copy of each maintenance job order, with work order, contractor invoice and any accompanying quotations will be retained within the Evolve Housing accounts department.

Any additional work not included in the issued work order needs to be approved by the respective Manger, in the absence thereof, then by the Asset Manager or higher.

3.18.2 Property inspections

The original of the property condition report at the commencement of the tenancy will be attached to the property file.

The copy that is checked, signed and returned within 7 days by the tenant is to be attached to the property file.

It is the responsibility of the housing manager to ensure Evolve Housing receives the signed copy of the tenant’s property condition report no later than 14 days after commencement of the tenancy.

3.19 Fire at an Evolve Housing property

It is the tenant’s responsibility to take out contents insurance on the premises. Evolve Housing is only responsible for the building insurance.

In the event of a fire, tenants are responsible for removing from the premises, if it is safe to do so, any contents remaining in whatever state, to allow rectification work to commence.

If the fire has been caused by the tenant’s negligence, Evolve Housing holds the right to recoup the cost of the building insurance excess of up to $2,500.00.

3.19.1 If a property is uninhabitable due to fire or other reasons

If the tenant’s property becomes uninhabitable due to fire or other reasons such as burst sewerage, Evolve Housing will provide the following:

Capital and Social Housing

  • Relocate the tenant in the short term until they can return.
  • Meet costs to relocate the tenant.
  • Recover relocation costs from the insurance.

Leasehold Housing

  • Relocate the tenant in the short term until they can return.
  • Meet costs to relocate the tenant.
  • Evolve Housing will seek relocation costs from the property owner. If this is not forthcoming from the property owner, it will be at the General Manager’s discretion to meet these expenses.

This policy is subject to change from time to time at the discretion of Evolve Housing. Where an individual is observed to not be working within the scope of this policy, the breach will be addressed by a team leader.

4. Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the:

Chief Executive Officer to ensure this policy and associated procedures are applied and committed to by the Executive Leadership Team.

People & Culture Department to provide Team Leaders with timely policy-related support and guidance.

Leadership Team/Team Leaders to ensure familiarity with this policy and related procedures, to commit to following them accordingly and where relevant, promote the policy to their team.

Employees to ensure they comply with this policy, be responsible for their own behaviour and if required, attend relevant training as provided by the company from time to time.

5. Related resources

For any questions

Contact Evolve Housing on 1300 692 245 or 02 8862 1500 or info@evolvehousing.com.au

Document No:  PS001.2.0  |  Approved:  01/12/2013  |  Review Due:  01/12/2014