Managing Door & Window Maintenance Chores


Managing Door & Window Maintenance Chores

(1) Should tenant be held responsible to rectify a cut on the main wooden door?

An owner was quite upset to see an 8-10 inches long cut/slice at the outer panel of the main wooden door of his tenanted unit during the Handover Session (Tenant-to-Owner).

Although the cut is quite shallow, it is long enough to see it on the main wooden door from a far distance. It can be quite unsightly, especially if the surface of the main wooden door is glossy. Such wooden main doors are usually fire-rated and some come with matte finishing while others are glossy. When doors are being installed, a coat of oil-based paint has already been painted over it.Once there is a cut or even a thin slice over such wooden doors, it is very difficult for door specialists to rectify. To try to salvage, door specialists need to sand the whole door first to smoothen the surface before applying an oil-based coat over it.
Door & Window maintenance

However, many a times the damage cannot be salvaged. Even if door specialists were to sand the door over and over again before applying the oi-based lacquer, the cut or slice cannot be rectified. This would mean that the damage is permanent. For such a cut on the wooden door especially if is on the outer panel of the door (instead of inner panel), it is going to be hard to point fingers at the tenant. This is for obvious reasons that anyone walking pass the unit may be the “culprit” and not necessary is the tenant or the tenant’s family members who did it. Even if there is a gate at the entrance, it is also tough to prove that tenant is responsible for the cut. For such situation, owners are advised not to penalize the tenant as such cuts or slice are commonly treated as wear and tear. We have also been shared by our associate Registered ResidentAgent®s that in some occasions when owners chose to penalize the tenant, the tenant used the Minor Repair clause in the Tenancy Agreement as a defence. Here’s a typical example of a Minor Repair clause in a Tenancy Agreement: “To provide and replace electric bulbs and tubes at its own expense. The Tenant shall be responsible for all minor repairs and routine maintenance of the premises and to replace electric bulbs, tubes, aircon remote control, aircon wall-mount remote control, and other expendable items at his own expense up to Singapore Dollar One Hundred and Fifty (S$150/=) per item (excluding GST). Such expenditure inEXCESS of S$150/= (excluding lGST) shall be borne by the owner.” Based on this Minor Repair clause, if the cost of rectifying is $200 (for example), tenant will pay the first $150 and the owners will pay the excess above $150, which is $50. In this way, the tenant’s maximum penalty is limited to the Minor Repair amount of $150. However, some tenants would totally disagree to pay anything. It is always a grey area when things are damaged in the unit in the eyes of the owners while tenants see it as “wear and tear”. There is no perfect solution to this. Only solution is for owners and tenants to trash it out amicably on a goodwill basis.

If you need further clarification of the above issue, please contact the Registered ResidentAgent® of your estate to find out more.

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