Clarification on a quote being accepted for damage or repairs by QCAT

Drew Lauchland

29 Jun, 2017

Property Managers have often been faced with the dilemma when attending a Tribunal or Court as to whether a quote will be accepted for damage or repairs or whether a receipt for the work having been undertaken is necessary.

It would appear that the conundrum has been finally resolved by Justice Carmody in Fankhauser v Mission Beach Property Management [2017] QCATA 65 (26 May 2017).

This was an appeal from a decision of the Tribunal. One of the grounds of appeal was that the tenant challenged the use by the landlord of a quote for the replacement of carpet. Specifically, the tenant challenged ‘the correctness of using a quote for work that may never actually be done to calculate the amount of compensation instead of insisting on production of a receipt for the completed job’.

In addressing this ground of appeal, His Honour stated:

‘Moreover, there is no rule or principle of law requiring proof of actual expenditure for awarding compensation, nor is the intention of the claimant to use the money for reinstatement a precondition to recovery, unless it is clear that it will not be used for that purpose or the work has already been done for less.’

A quote is perfectly acceptable in Tribunal/Court proceedings when seeking compensation

Therefore, a quote is perfectly acceptable in Tribunal/Court proceedings when seeking compensation.

Many Property Managers would also have heard tenants complaining in proceedings taken against the landlord that the landlord has not or does not intend to use any compensation awarded to effect any repairs.

Justice Carmody addresses that issue when he states, ‘nor is the intention of the claimant to use the money for reinstatement a precondition to recovery’.

When confronted with this argument it is often useful to use as an analogy damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. As most would be aware, quotes are invariably used to assess the loss that the owner of the vehicle may have suffered as a result of a collision. The insurer or the at fault driver will then pay the owner of the vehicle a sum of money based on those quotes for the damage to the motor vehicle.

Whether that owner then decides to proceed to effect repairs to the vehicle with the money received is a matter entirely for that owner. The owner is not required at law to effect the repairs.

The purpose in the payment of money is to compensate the owner for the loss that has been suffered.

The same situation applies to a landlord. As an example, if the tenant has damaged the walls to the property requiring them to be repainted, the landlord is entitled to apply for an order for compensation for the painting work, usually based on a quote. Once the compensation order is made, that landlord is not required to expend that money on effecting the painting work. It is entirely a decision for the landlord as to what he/she does with any compensation money received.

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