After surviving the hassles of a tree falling on the roof of our rental property last year, and the drawn out saga of getting the repairs quoted, approved and completed by our insurance company and builder, I thought we were finally getting back to normal. The tenant had started paying the full amount of rent again once the repairs were finished, and we'd even negotiated a rent rise in two stages over the next twelve months. The builder had sent me the Scope of Work document to sign-off that all the required repairs had been completed, and I was about to visit the property to give it the once-over and sign-off.
Then I got an email today from the tenant. They had been sitting on the balcony at the back of the house on Sunday night when there was a loud noise and the balcony dropped several centimeters. The rear of the house sits on tall steel piers, and the balcony is therefore about four storeys above the back garden, so I wasn't surprised to read that the tenants ran inside in a panic and worried about the safety of the house. They report that one of the metal cross-braces under the house appears to be broken, so I started making arrangements for an inspection by a structural engineer this morning.
I think the damage may be related to the tree falling on the house last year, so I rang our insurer to find out what procedure to follow in regards to this latest damage. They advised that the approved builder (that had done to previous roof repairs) would need to inspect the house and decide if a structural engineer's report is needed, and if the damage appears related to the existing claim, or is a new claim.
I'll give the builder another call tomorrow to check that the insurance company has been in contact -- if not I'll call the insurer's complaints department. Last time it took many weeks to get the builder's quote approved by the insurance company and repairs commence. I don't think the tenants will be happy to stay in the house unless the inspection happens very soon, and repairs get underway in short order.
I'm hoping that the damage is due to the tree falling on the house. The house is more than forty years old, and if the damage is due to old age and normal rusting then I don't think our insurance policy covers it. In that case the repairs could end up costing us a lot.
Did I mention that I hate being a landlord? Then again, being a stock market investor isn't too much fun at the moment either ;)
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