Post storm consumer and tenant tips

With Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping

After recent cyclones and storms there will be many Western Australians who have been cleaning-up and are now looking to fix property damage, such as roof or fence repairs.

Although we haven’t had any reports of travelling conmen or unlicensed traders, we know the calm after the storm is often when they go door-to-door, offering cheap deals.

You should say NO to unsolicited approaches and be wary of tradies who go by a first name and mobile phone number only. Instead ask relatives, friends or social media connections for recommendations, get several quotes and sight previous work plus proof of any credential claims, such as evidence of an industry association membership.

Search for online warnings, for example those Consumer Protection issues at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/undertakings. For professions such as electricians or plumbers, check they are licensed.

Don’t pay large amounts of money up front for nothing in return. If a deposit is absolutely necessary, we recommend no more than 10% of the total before work has started or any materials are supplied. For home building contracts above $7,500, it is illegal for more than 6.5% deposit to be taken.

Extra tips:

  • Consider paying by credit card due to the possibility of getting a chargeback (transaction reversal) if work is not carried out.
  • Ask for a timeframe for completion of work in writing.
  • Get a record of any payment made and ensure the receipt or invoice has business details on it.

If there’s damage to a rental home in WA, landlords and property managers are legally responsible for necessary repairs and maintenance to bring the property back to a liveable condition. Urgent repairs required to essential services should be initiated within 24 hours, or within 48 hours for issues that could cause someone harm or undue hardship, or cause further damage. If damage to the property has reduced the facilities available, tenants can attempt to negotiate a rent reduction.

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