Category Archive: Maintenance

  1. How to Compete in a Changing Rental Market

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    In a changing rental market clearly favouring tenants, how do you ensure your investment property remains desirable to potential tenants? Or if a landlord, how to ensure your tenants are happy and stay put within the property? There is one thing for certain, in this changing property market, tenants tend to have more of an upper hand. With more rental properties on the market, they have the flexibility to take their time and be more choosey in their needs vs wants. In turn, this gives tenants a little more bargaining power.

    So what can you do to ensure your investment property remains attractive to tenants? Both potential and existing? Sometimes it just takes that little bit of extra care….

    Top Tips to Make Your Rental Property Stand Out

    1. Ensure all maintenance jobs are up-to-date

      Is your property in the best shape it can be? Or do you have leaking taps, ripped screens or paint needing tending to? New tenants looking at their potential new home will take note of these things. This will be their new home. They want to know it is well-cared for and has a landlord that keeps up-to-date with any maintenance and repair issues.

    2. Street appeal

      How does your property look from the street? Are the garden and lawns well kept? Is the yard free of garbage and weeds? Are the window screens all in good shape? Is the exterior paint in good condition and all exterior lights working? Think of how your property looks to those driving by. Enhance street appeal with some potted plants or addition of a garden bed.

    3. A fresh coat of paint and carpet

      Oh how far a fresh coat of paint can go! A fresh coat of paint can instantly take your property from drab to fabulous overnight. It lifts the light, mood and tone of your home and gives it a fresh and welcoming feel for new tenants. If the carpet in your property has seen better days, consider new carpets throughout. At the least, ensure you conduct a thorough carpet clean.

    4. Make the kitchen and bathrooms shine

      There are some rooms in a home that instantly attract tenants – the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is such a central area of a home where families cook and share meals with loved ones. Make this room the centrepiece of your property. Ensure it is clean and presentable. Make sure all cupboards are on their hinges, sinks and cupboards are clean. It is amazing how much simply adding new handles to cupboards can lift a kitchen. Throw in some luxurious hand soaps and moisturisers on the kitchen and bathroom sinks with some flowers for that added touch.

    5. Be reasonable

      Above all, in a competitive rental market, it is important to be reasonable with your asking rent. Therefore it is essential that you do your homework. Know what the market around you is doing. What is the going rental rate for a comparable property? How long are they sitting on the market? Remember a few less dollars every week is better than a rental property sitting vacant for weeks or months because your asking price is too high. Check with your Property Manager about conducting a rental appraisal on your property. If your property is currently rented and you are happy with your existing tenants, consider leaving a rent raise on the backburner until a shift in the market.

    Chat to your Property Manager to ensure your property is in the best condition possible, with a fair asking rent and you’ll be on your way to finding, and keeping, your ideal tenant.

  2. Cleaning Dishwasher and Air Conditioning Filters

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    The Lowdown on Cleaning your Filters

    Well if that headline didn’t grab your attention then we don’t know what will! Yet as much as we all don’t get very excited about the prospect of cleaning your dishwasher filter, it is a fact of life we must all face. Yes it’s gross. Yes, it can cause us to gag. But unless you want dirty, smudgy dishes, then cleaning your dishwasher filter is important. So let’s start there.

    How to Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

    Your dishwasher filter can be a resting place for lots of stuff. Old bits of food, grime and dirt. It is generally not a nice place. So to keep your dishwasher filter in tip-top shape, we recommend a clean at least once per month.

    1. Start with an empty dishwasher.
    2. Remove the bottom rack – there you will find your filter in all its glory – just stuck in the floor of the dishwasher.
    3. Using a damp cloth, clean around the filter and discard any large bits of food and grime you find.
    4. Unscrew the filter and lift out.
    5. Clean the filter of all food scraps inside.
    6. Sanitise the filter with a mix of 1/2 cup baking soda/ 1/2 cup salt and 1 cup of bleach to really clean it out. Pour the mixture into where the filter sat and leave overnight or for a good few hours.
    7. Run an empty cycle and ta dahhh! Clean dishwasher.

    How to Clean Your Air Conditioner Filter

    Again, it is important to clean your air conditioning filters to ensure both the efficiency of your air conditioner as well as ensuring the health of the air you breathe. If your air conditioner has a dirty filter, it will not filter the air as efficiently and the result will be lower air quality. Therefore, we advise you clean your air conditioner filter at least once a month (time it with your dishwasher!) but twice a month is optimal, especially if used frequently.

    1. Turn of all power to your air conditioner.
    2. Remove the filter. When doing so, look for any signs of wear and tear that may require more than a clean but a replacement.
    3. get rid of excess dirt and grime by vacuuming the filter.
    4. Sanitise the filter with a solution of half water and vinegar and submerge the filter completely. You may need a laundry basin or bathtub to do so.
    5. Soak in the solution for a few hours.
    6. Drain the filter and dry completely before fitting back on the unit.
    7. Fit the filters back on to the unit.

    Take these steps to clean both your dishwasher and air conditioner filters on a regular basis, and not only will your home be healthier, there’ll be less maintenance issues for you!

     

  3. Rental Property Wear and Tear vs Damage

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    Where Do You Draw The Line?

    When renting out a property, the discussion around general  rental property wear and tear and damage may crop up. From this discussion may come the financial delegation of who is responsible for paying for what.

    So let’s set the record straight.

    Rental Property Wear and Tear

    General wear and tear is expected on any property as the property ages. Wear and tear accounts for general deterioration to a property that is expected throughout its lifetime. Things such as:

    • Paint scuffs
    • Carpet stains (minor)
    • Scratches or dings in wooden floors
    • Dirty grout
    • Rust or discolouration
    • Fading of wood (from sunlight and lack of upkeep)
    • Broken handles or curtain cords
    • Deterioration of fly screens or door screens over time

    Rental Property Damage

    Damage on the other hand are any unexpected or major incidents that occur within the property. They are generally unforeseen events that you would not expect from general living. Damage can include:

    • Broken or smashed windows
    • Major carpet stains and smells due to smoking or pets
    • Broken toilets or sinks
    • Broken door handles or locks
    • Torn screens due to pets

    Who Pays for Damage?

    As a general rule of thumb, general wear and tear is at the expense of the landlord. The tenant is within their rights to request these items be fixed. However, any costs associated with damage to the property at the hands of their tenant, falls into their responsibility to fix. If as a landlord, you feel that the tenant has not agreed to the terms of their lease due to damage to the property, you can take a deduction from their bond to fix the damage to the property.

    How to Avoid Further Damage to Your Property

    It is now that you can see the importance of conducting regular inspections to assess the condition of your property. If any major damage has occurred it will be noted on your inspection report. If continual damage occurs, you will have just concerns to assess their ongoing tenancy or reason to cease the tenancy.

    Having a good relationship with your property manager will ensure you are kept up-to-date with the condition of your property, and in the long run, the absence of any unwanted damage bills.

     

  4. Keeping Condensation and Mould in your Unit at Bay

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    Stop Mould From Taking Over Your Unit

    It is a common sight to wake up in winter and see a thick layer of condensation on your windows. Same as getting an icy cold bottle out of the fridge and leaving it on your tabletop for a good half hour. Condensation occurs when water vapour in the air is changed into a liquid. It occurs when water forms as droplets on a cold area when humid air is in contact with it. So, it forms on our windows when the cool air outside, connects with your windows where warm air is trapped within.

    A buid up of condensation can quickly cause serious mould problems which can start from some simple black spots to taking over entire walls in your home, most commonly in wet areas like your bathroom.

    So, thats our science lesson on condensation! But how do we avoid it?

    Avoiding Condensation Build Up in Units

    1. Keep Your Unit Ventilated.

      Even on those cold days, be sure to have some periods where windows are open to fresh air can ventilate through.

    2. Turn on fans in bathroom and open windows when showering.

      This will allow the excess moisture in the air to be taken away. It is also handy to close the bathroom door when showering as it will keep the moisture contained to your bathroom alone.

    3. Turn on exhaust fans when cooking.

      Your exhaust fan will take away any excess moisture.  It is also recommended to keep lids on pots and pans to stop moisture escaping.

    4. Dry your clothes outside as opposed to inside.

      Keeping wet clothes inside is an open invitation to invite mould into your home.

    5. Check for any suspicious leaks.

      If you have a leak in your ceiling it could be the cause of excess moisture.

    Follow these quick and simple tips to help keep the mould from settling in at your unit this winter.

  5. Get Your Home Winter-Ready

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    A Winter Checklist for Your Home

    Winter is knocking on our doors. As the cooler months approach, there are a number of things you can do to prepare your home for the cooler temperatures that lay in waiting. To keep things interesting and not all about cleaning and maintenance (yay!), we’ve mixed up a combination of both aesthetic and safety issues to consider in your winter checklist.

    1. Clean your air conditioning system

      Keeping your air conditioner in it’s peak condition is important both for the efficiency of the system and air quality. Dirty filters that have a build-up of residue and are clogged, can drastically reduce air quality and decrease the effectiveness of the system. As a result, the unfiltered air bypasses the filter and caries the dirt to the evaporator coil that will then impair its heat-absorbing capacity (Energy.gov). Replacing your clogged filter with a new one can lower your unit’s energy consumption by up to 15%. And that’s a lot on your power bills!

    2. Stock up on firewood

      For those lucky enough to have a fireplace to cuddle by with an open book on those cold winter nights… you are the lucky ones! If this is you, now is the time to check those firewood supplies and top them up! Don’t leave it til a cool winter night when collecting firewood is the last thing you want to do!

    3. Replace your summer doona with a winter one

      Time to delve deep into the linen cupboard and reach for that warm, fluffy winter doona. Opt for goose or duck down for the warmest doona that is still light and fluffy. Which leads us to our next point…

    4. Switch summer palettes for warm winter tones

      If you have opted for bright, summery tones during the warm months, not it’s time to switch it up for some deeper, earthy colours that exude winter charms. Dark blues, warm greys or deep purples and reds all help a room feel warm and cosy during the chilly nights.

    5. Bring out the rugs and throws

      It’s time to decorate couches, chairs and beds with those extra layers. Add a throw rug over your couch to add warmth as well as a bright hue to brighten a cold day. If you have hardwood or concrete floors that make your toes feel the chill, consider laying down a rug to get you through the next few months. Your toes will thank you!

    6. Run a maintenance check on your heaters

      Last but not least is to run a maintenance check on all your heaters. If in doubt, have an electrician to come in and check them for you. Remove all dust and wipe over with a damp cloth to ensure any build up is gone. Double check the connection to the power outlet and that everything is in good working order.

    Now you are winter ready! Just need to go and buy the Uggs…

     

  6. Is it Time to Replace Your Smoke Alarm Battery?

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    There are certain jobs we procrastinate on. Taking out the rubbish, cleaning our ovens or those pesky wardrobe runners. However, there are some jobs that have far worse consequences than a little built-up dust. And that is to replace your smoke alarm battery.

    Regular checks of your smoke alarm battery doesn’t just stop that constant beeping from keeping you up at night. It saves lives. It is the one device in your home that you should always have spare batteries on hand for.

    As a landlord, you have certain responsibilities when it comes to ensure the effective installation and maintenance of smoke alarms in your rented properties. For tenants, it is also in your best interest to keep up with checking and acting upon smoke alarm batteries that have run their course. Get in touch with your property manager to let them know it needs attention.

    Let’s revisit the NSW regulations on smoke alarms.

    NSW Residential Tenancies Act Guidelines

    • Landlords are responsible for installing smoke alarms in rented premises.
    • Landlords have the right of access to rented premises to fit or maintain smoke alarms. They must give tenants at least 2 days notice.
    • Neither the landlord nor the tenant is permitted to remove or interfere with the operation of a smoke alarm fitted in the rented premises.
    • Where a smoke alarm is of the type that has a replaceable battery, it is recommended that the landlord put a new battery in at the commencement of a tenancy.
    • After the tenancy begins, the tenant is responsible for replacing the battery if needed. Fire and Rescue NSW can assist elderly tenants or those physically unable to change a smoke detector battery.
    • The condition report includes a specific reference to smoke alarms. It specifies that tenants and landlords are able to note and comment on the presence of smoke alarms at the beginning and end of the tenancy.
    • Lastly, residential owners who rent out their premises as holiday accommodation are responsible for installing smoke alarms and replacing batteries.

    Source: (NSW Department of Fair Trading)

    So make sure that replacing your smoke alarm battery is not on your to-do list. Make sure it is a priority as lives can depend on it.