MIQ hotel room repair bill nearly tripled in 2021, with taxpayers footing the bill

Guests destroyed microwaves, doors, fridges, dishwashers, beds and TVs.
Guests destroyed microwaves, doors, fridges, dishwashers, beds and TVs. Photo credit: Getty Images

The cost of repairs to damaged hotel rooms caused by guests in MIQ skyrocketed in the second half of 2021, jumping by almost triple or $66,000.

An official information act request to MBIE found the cost of repairs was $35,380.47 for the January - March period, but leapt to $101,217.45 for September - November.

The list of items repaired includes damage to headboards, televisions, coffee tables, curtains and couches. Items replaced include microwaves, doors, fridges, dishwashers, beds and televisions.

The list also includes Ozone treatment to remove cigarette smoke smell from rooms.

In a statement, MBIE said the majority of the 4500 rooms being used did not sustain any damage.

"The majority of users of Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities are responsible and respectful for the room that they have been allocated. In the period September - November 2021, we had 32 MIQ facilities - with an operational capacity of between 4000-4500 rooms at any given time. The majority of these did not sustain any damage beyond normal wear and tear for this period."

In most cases, MIQ guests have left their hotel rooms before damage was discovered, leaving the repair bill to the taxpayer. Current COVID-19 laws don't allow for authorities to charge guests for damage.

"In the majority of cases damage to rooms is only identified after room occupants have been released from MIQ, meaning that invoices for damage are not submitted at the same time as the damage occurs," the MBIE spokesperson said.

"MIQ has no ability to recover the cost of damages from room occupants as such, costs are borne by MIQ as the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Managed Isolation and Quarantine Charges) Regulations 2020 allow MIQ to only invoice MIQ users for their stay and it is a fixed price."

The full list of MIQ repairs and replacements for September - November 2021:

  • Repair damage to window frames 
  • Repair damage to range slider door lock 
  • Replacement of room toasters 
  • Replace damaged microwave ovens 
  • Replacement of room TV remote controls 
  • Replacement of in-room phone 
  • Replacement of hair dryers 
  • Replacement of air conditioning grill 
  • Repair damage to door 
  • Repair damage to ceiling 
  • Damage to in-room rubbish bins 
  • Replace fridges 
  • Replace dishwashers 
  • Repair to bathroom vanity 
  • Replacement rubbish bins 
  • Replacement of kettles 
  • Replacement of damaged carpet 
  • Bed shampooing 
  • Replacement of TV 
  • Carpet cleaning 
  • Replacement of beds 
  • Ozone treatment to remove cigarette smell 
  • Repair and repaint of damage to walls.