Cheapskate Landlords

We pay close to $600 a week rent and have been here close to two years. We are probably perfect tenants…older couple, exemplary rental record etc. Previous tenants have not stayed long or been far from perfect. Now, you would think the owners/property managers would be inclined to treat good tenants well, and I suppose my complaint is petty, but I am seriously annoyed by a recent repair job. The kitchen tap failed…one of the adjustable sprayer ones with a flexible sprayer etc. The real estate has replaced it with what is probably the cheapest tap available. In my opinion if something is replaced in a rental property it should be of a similar standard to the original. Seeing as we have forked out roughly 50k in rent since we’ve been here I would have thought they could have sprung for a decent tap!


Don’t necessarily criticize the landlord. They can just as easily be affected by managing agents (aka The Despicables) who manage things like repairs. And often using a list of preferred tradesmen who may be neither good nor cheap.
And those costs come out of the owner’s income.

You as a renter now have a cheap tap replacement you have use, and the landlord now has a property they own with a cheap tap that will quite possibly cost them more to fix in the future.


Yes, real estate property managers all use their own preferred repairers, and I do agree that it isn’t always owners responsible for decisions regarding repairs etc, but I think as previously everything to do with repairs and up keep of this property, no matter how trivial, has been referred to owners for approval first it may have been their choice.

Consider as an owner with an agent manager, all most want to know is

  • a repair is needed
  • the repair can be done for $99
  • the expenditure needs approval, yes/no

Unless one knows the relationship to the owner one cannot make a judgement. Regardless of what is being rented the owner’s goal is to maximise their own income and keep it as easy as they can for themselves. In that mode why would they want to know about or fund a $200 tap when a $99 tap or even a $19 tap will suffice?

As a builder once discussed with me, ‘you can pay $20 or $2,000 per tap. They both turn water on and off. Which way do you want to go?’ As a ‘proud new home owner’ my priorities were not congruent to those if I were building to rent to a tenant.

Western Australia has the:

which consumers can approach for free advice in relation to tenancy matters. If you are concerned about what has happened, it might be worth contacting the Consumer Protection contact centre for some free advice.

With a failing tap, this might be seen as a emergency/urgent repair. This could impact on the outcome in relation to what style of tap was used to fix the problem.

Notwithstanding this and as you don’t like the new tap, an option may be to discuss with the landlord the ability for you to install a tap of your preference which is removed at the end of your tenancy. This means that you get what you are after and the landlord has a newish tap (which you temporarily removed) installed when you depart. If you take this approach, make sure you get it in writing and that it is clear that the recently installed replacement tap will be reinstalled on departure.

Supplying one’s own tap will legally require it be changed out by a licensed plumber. Any property manager/landlord would also mandate a Certificate of Compliance. When leaving the tenancy the owner would require a licensed plumber to reinstall ‘theirs’ as well as another Certificate of Compliance.

The cost of the plumbers could easily be more than the cost of your favourite tap.

It might not be a show stopper but be prepared to discuss with the management in case it gets put on the table. It is a matter of their liability.

Managing agents provide the option when signing the owners to the Agent’s T&Cs for the owner to

  • organise independently,
  • direct/approve the agents actions,
  • an option for the agent to arrange repairs and proceed within pre-approved authority to spend without referring at all to the owner. The cost including an admin fee is simply deducted from the monthly rental income.

For urgent and or lesser work including electrical and plumbing - agency preferences may favour the last.

The worst of the 3 speaking as an ex tenant of many properties and some time landlord can be the first if the owner insists on micro managing and analysing every decision to the last cent. Often from afar. Remedy can be a long and drawn out process.

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That isn’t correct. Certificate of Compliance relates to major plumbing work. Replacing a tap isn’t major plumbing work and as such is an irrelevant requirement.

It is agreed that a plumber is needed to replace a tap, but this is a standard requirement irrespective of a property being tenanted or owner occupied.

I thought a Certificate of Compliance was essentially a guarantee of sorts (eg met standards, etc) so thanks for that.

What Type of Plumbing Work is Subject to a Certificate of Compliance?

  • any plumbing work that has a total value of $750 or more, including labour, materials, appliances, and/or fixtures, regardless of who they were purchased by*
  • all work carried out on below ground sanitary drains*
  • all work involving the installation, relocation, replacement or conversion of any gas-using appliance*
  • all work involving the installation, modification or relocation of consumer gas piping*
  • all work involving the construction, installation, relocation, alteration or replacement of cooling towers.*

I was one of those nasty landlords a couple of times. And a renter a few times too.

As a landlord, I met with the tennents and gave them my phone numbers with instructions they called me about problems first. Before calling the agent. Quite often, as the property was familiar to me, and nearby, issues could be fixed without calling out some tradesman with their expensive callout charges. And it was always same day service with me.

As a renter, I knew the landlord and always called them first to discuss issues.

No, in Western Australia the Plumbers Licensing and Plumbing Standards Regulations 2000 defines major plumbing work. The definition is:

major plumbing work means —
(a) plumbing work that is not minor plumbing work; and
(b) minor plumbing work to the extent to which it is part of plumbing work that is major plumbing work;

and the above is read in conjunction with:

minor plumbing work means the following plumbing work —
(a) the maintenance, repair or replacement of existing water supply plumbing;
(b) the maintenance or repair of an existing water heater;
(c) the connection of a garden reticulation system to a water supply system;
(d) the maintenance, repair or replacement of existing sanitary plumbing fixtures;
(e) the maintenance or repair of existing drainage plumbing;
(f) the replacement or alteration of less than 5 m of existing drainage plumbing,
but does not include the installation or replacement of a backflow prevention device or a water heater;

In Western Australia, replacement of a tap is minor plumbing work (subsection (a) under Minor Plumbing Work) and doesn’t need a certificate of compliance.

A certificate of compliance isn’t any form of guarantee but has a specific purpose in relation to the recording of major plumbing works by the regulator.

Minor plumbing work was addressed in section 44 requiring a CC for minor work but it appears from 2020 a plumber only needs to log minor work in their records and keep them for 6 years.

The point for this topic is that there will be costs to supply one’s own tap and the owner/agent can add their own requirements atop the plumber’s fees.

Which for me means I want to keep a good tenant happy. It will cost me exponentially more for inspections, marketing, 2 week vacancy, relet fees etc etc than it will to happily agree to a quality repair job or improvement.


Good for you. As a landlord, do you deal with your tennents personally, or let some agent handle all the issues as they see fit?

Even before 2020, a plumber didn’t require a CC for individual work. The CC was more or less a statutory declaration stating any minor work completed in the preceding month was compliant with requirements.

As I have indicated, a CC won’t be issued for minor work in WA. A CC for major work is to meet a statutory process with the regulator.

A landlord/property can only request reasonable actions of a tenant. In the case of swapping taps, as a potential solution indicated above, a reasonable action would be provide proof a plumber undertook the works. Proof could be a plumber calling the landlord/property manager or providing the tax invoice issued for the work. This isn’t anything unique and confirms the tap replacement was done using a plumber, as required by law.

It needs to be reasonable. As indicated above, there is the option to call the Consumer Protection contact centre if it is believed the tap should have been replaced with a like for like. Hopefully they should be able to provide advice to you on the reasonableness of such a request.

I used to e a landlord and have been associated with property of the rental type for many years.
My observations are that mom and dads who invest in proerty treat it as a passive investment. They prefer to d the least amount of work on managing it, and are prepared to pay other (real estate agents) to deal day to day with the property.
The real estate agents who manage the properties generally young and starting in their real estate careers. They have too many properties on their account to manage effectively.
So what do you get? A quick flick and tick mentality where no one cares and everything is done expediently but at low quality.
I can’t see this changing in either the short or the long term.


The point isn’t really if a $19 tap ‘will do’ is it? Every single thing in a rental house is taken into account when the rental amount is decided, therefore a very small part of the rent takes into account things like the standard of accessories, for want of a better description. My argument is that when items are replaced or renewed they should be of equal or similar quality to the replaced item/s. The tap wasn’t an emergency and I would have been happy to wait for a better tap. You can bet your bottom dollar that when I move out eventually and it comes to bond refund I won’t be able to do anything on the cheap! I’ll have to leave this place exactly as I found it…obviously the tap issue isn’t worth kicking up a stink about with the agents. I’m already unpopular for refusing to use their stupid AILO app. (:


Well my story is similar . Rented for 61/2 years .Paid $184k in rent . Added 2 aircons to the property .$4500 out of my own pocket . Maintained the garden . My brother shared the place with me . He had courier contracts . He regularly picked up work for the property owner . Never charged him .

When I gave notice I was leaving the property , after my brother passed away , I did what was required to get my bond paid to me .

I received a letter that the bond would not be forthcoming . I think it is called the RGTBA or something similar that represents renters . They ruled against me based on the letter presented by the Agents for the property . I started getting SMS messages and emails every half hour to sign a form to release the Bond money to the agent . The owner was well aware of this …

I had hired a skip for the week $1100 .The bond I lost was $1517 . The Real Estate Agents were Sweeney Altona . Down the track will deal with the property owner .

What people do not realise is that most people that have multiple properties , like my rental provider , do not get them by expenditure of money on maintenance etc .

When I owned 2 rental properties any repair or fixture that was added to them had to be to a standard that would be added to my own home . Bonds were paid promptly to renters . This is not over yet .

To add insult to injury just received a Text Message from Greater Western Water claiming I owe them $43 . I have not lived at the billed property for 6 months and the agreement with the rental provider was that they paid the water rates . I never paid them during my time at the property .


As I indicated, (Pre 2020) It was called a certificate of compliance – regardless that it was not delivered to the customer.

44. Certificate of compliance for minor plumbing work

(1) For each month, a licensed plumbing contractor or permit holder must —
(a) complete a certificate of compliance that complies with this regulation for all minor plumbing work completed by or for the contractor or permit holder in that month; and
(b)give the certificate to the Board within 5 working days after the end of the month.
Penalty: $2 000.

There is no value added to further this side discussion so I’ll step back.

Depends - minor &/or time critical, the agent; otherwise agent gets me assess/quote & I decide & that doesn’t just mean cheapest. But the tenant can reach out to me direct if need be; the agent knows this & knows I’ve kicked an agent before for being a knucklehead.