Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. Top 8 Common Tenant Maintenance Issues

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    As a landlord, you will be the recipient of no doubt many tenant maintenance issues and repairs over the life of your investment. It is just part and parcel of the job. Homes have issues. Things break. Appliances wear out. Taps leak and fittings come loose. It’s just the name of the game. So for those new to the investment game, we have compiled a list of the top 8 most common tenant maintenance and repair issues so you can prepare yourself for what may be coming.

    Your property manager will be the first port of call for all maintenance and repair issues. Dependent upon the arrangements you have in place, they will either call you direct or arrange for the items to be tended to on your behalf. No matter who tends to your maintenance and repair issues, as the landlord, you should always be kept informed of any areas requiring attention on your property.

    When Your Tenant Comes A Calling…

    1. Leaking taps

      As simple as it seems, leaking taps are our #1 issue. Good news is it can be as simple as a new washer or replacing old tapware.

    2. Sliding Doors

      The replacement of sliding doors and runners are such a common issue that there are businesses out there who specialise in this one key area. Sliding doors coming off their hinges or requiring new runners are the next on the list. It is more common than you think!

    3. Cracked Tiles

      Cracked tiles is an issue you will want to tend to pretty quickly. As one cracked tile can lead to a whole lot of far worse water problems if neglected. Damp can quickly rise and before you know it, you could have a complete bathroom renovation on your hands. You may need an inspection to assess the water damage with the result being the replacement and waterproofing of only one or a few tiles – or a complete section replacement.

    4. Blocked drains and toilet

      This one is just a whole lot of fun and likely to be handed over to a license plumber to fix. Blocked drains can be as simple as clogged hair in bathroom drains or food in the kitchen drain. Blocked toilets are pretty self-explanatory.

    5. Broken Dishwasher

      If your property has a dishwasher, no doubt you will at some point, receive a maintenance call. You will need to call around to find a dishwasher repairman who specialises in your brand of dishwasher – as no two dishwashers are the same. Detail as much of the problem as possible, take pictures and ensure the repairman you choose, repairs and can get the parts you need.

    6. Pool Maintenance

      Those with pools will no doubt have a pool man on speed dial to call in when needed. Or at least the local pool shop. Green pools, blocked drains, overflow issues, chemical imbalances – take your pick. You can hope for a tenant that is confident to look after the pool and/or learn how. For those that are not into pool maintenance, it will be worth your while to arrange for regular pool maintenance visits to ensure your pool is kept in tip top shape.

    7. Broken Fans and Air Conditioning Units

      Especially pertinent in hot and humid areas when these items can be subject to overuse.

    8. Smoke Detectors

      A common and most important maintenance issue is the replacement of smoke detector units and batteries. Having operating smoke detectors is a required legislative requirement. So make sure you have working detectors in place and action as soon as you are notified of any issues.

    Speak with your Property Manager to ensure you are aware of the action plan when your property requires maintenance. Remember, any emergency repairs needed urgent attention may be actioned upon your behalf if the tenant is in danger or if outside of working hours.

  2. How to Report a Rental Repair and Maintenance Job

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    There is no doubt as you cruise through the weeks and months of your tenancy, the odd rental repair will crop up. Whether it be a leaking tap, broken front door latch, broken window, fan that stops working or an air con malfunction… the list goes on.

    Repairs and Maintenance Policy

    Your Property Manager will detail the maintenance and repairs policies and procedures when signing your initial lease. As the tenant, it is your responsibility to report and required maintenance and repair issues direct to your Property Manager. They will in turn advise your landlord of the repairs to tend to. From there, you Property Manager will arrange for the required tradesperson to liaise with you for a time that suits to access the property.

    The only time this scenario would not take place is in the case of an emergency repair. In this instance, if the emergency happens outside regular business hours, you as the tenant are able to contact a suitable tradesperson to carry out any emergency works (such as a burst pipe or drain or any other incident that puts you or the property in danger).

    How to Ensure A Quick Response to your Repairs and Maintenance Request

    When a repair comes up at your property, a quick response is the best response. The more detailed information you can give your Property Manager, the quicker the likely response. Details that will greatly assist your Property Manager to book the right trade to assist include:

    • Taking a picture or video of the issue
    • Detailing the make and model of the product
    • Detailing the noise or what is happening in error.

    This way, your Property Manager can put the repair into the pipeline quicker with all the information on hand. Being flexible with entry times also helps as trades can be available at varying times.

    Follow these guidelines to a quick and hasty repair!

  3. Top 3 Final Inspection Cleaning Hacks

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    The dreaded final inspection. When your cleaning prowess really needs to be at the top of its game. Well, we are here to help. We have chosen the top 3 dreaded final inspection cleaning jobs and some simple hacks to make cleaning them a breeze (well, easier anyway).

    So before your stress levels fly right out of control with the thought of tackling these babies, read up and save yourself a lot of time and worry.

    The best part of it is, stock yourself with baking soda and vinegar and your job is half done!

    The Oven Clean

    The chemical-free bake

    Cleaning your oven literally has to top the list of ‘dreaded cleaning jobs’ hands down. The grime and who knows what else that accumulates makes this one of the grittiest jobs to do. For those who also dislike the harsh chemicals that come with commercial oven cleaners, these two hacks work wonders:

    Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius.

    Combine in an oven-safe bowl:

    • 1 cup of baking soda
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons of vinegar

    Mix into a paste. For those really crusted up and grimy sections, take some paste and dab over completely.

    Place the bowl on the top shelf and bake for 45 minutes. Let the oven cool and wipe away the remaining grime which should now be easier to budge.

    Dishwashing in the Oven

    Those dishwasher tablets come in mighty handy for more than one reason! Pop some gloves on, unwrap a dishwashing tablet, dip it into water to moisten it and rub over the grime. Leave for 5-10 minutes then wipe the residue away.

    The Retractable Rangehood Clean

    Like ovens, rangehoods aren’t meant to be pretty. They are pretty downright disgusting! But that is their job. So to get your sparkling like new, you just need a few key items and get to it.

    • Disposable gloves
    • A sink of hot water (add boiling water to a temperature you can tolerate)
    • Degreasing dishwashing detergent
    • 1/4 cup baking soda
    • Scrubbing brush
    • Paper towels

    Pop on the gloves and fill your sink with hot water (as hot as you can tolerate).

    Pop out the retractable rangehood filter.

    Fill the sink with baking soda and a good squirt of dishwashing liquid.

    Pop the rangehood filter into the sink and soak for 10 minutes.

    After a good soak, scrub the filters with a non-abrasive brush and lay to dry on paper towel.

    Then pop back in your sparkling new rangehood filters!

    The Dishwasher Clean

    Dishwashers have a tendency to store unwanted food particles for a hefty amount of time, until you realise you have a blockage that is hindering sparkling clean dishes.

    First of all, pull out the bottom dish rack and clean out the the dishwasher drain. Untwist the filter and clean out any unwanted gunk that lies within. Most of the time, this fixes most problems.

    For a more thorough clean, ensure your dishwasher is empty, and place one cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container on the top rack. Run a hot cycle wash and see the sparkling, clean results. Once this is done, you can sparkle up your dishwasher even more by sprinkling baking soda along the bottom of the machine. Run another hot water cycle and all lingering odours and stains be gone!

    With a the big ticket items of a clean oven, dishwasher and rangehood, your final inspection clean will be given the big tick of approval.

  4. TOP 5 INDOOR PLANTS FOR LIMITED SPACE

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    One of the challenges of unit living is incorporating greenery into your living spaces. For those with limited space and the absence of large backyards to work with, bringing in selected indoor plants can have a dramatic uplifting effect. They can bring both a vivid splash of colour and life to key living areas.

    The key to choosing the right indoor plants is to ensure you select those that take up minimal space and need minimal sun for survival.

    We’ve compiled our favourite top 5 indoor plants to brighten up your indoor spaces.

    1. String of Pearls

      Light: Bright, indirect light
      Watering: Soak completely and allow the topsoil to completely dry before the next water
      We just love the whimsical effect these lovely plants bring. Proper care and watering of these plants will result in lengthy pearl strands in no time.

    2. Peace Lily

      Light: Medium to low
      Watering: When top soil is dry
      The Peace Lily is one of the best flowering indoor plants, growing up to approx. 30cm in height. The delicate white flower complements the striking dark foliage.

    3. Rubber Tree

      Light: Bright, indirect light
      Watering: Only when soil is dry
      The Rubber Tree is another statement plant with the capacity to grow up to 2.5m. Not only visually appealing but also another natural air cleaner, so a winner on all counts.

    4. Jade Plant

      Light: Medium
      Watering: Every few days
      Jade plants are super easy to care for indoor plants that will keep you company for years. Its thick and lush leaves work well with other succulents.

    5. Fiddle Leaf Fig

      Light: Bright, indirect light
      Watering: When top inch of soil is dry
      The Fiddle Leaf Fig is a great statement plant for a corner near a window. The dark green leaves mirror the shape of a violin or fiddle – hence its name.

    If in doubt, head into your local Bunnings or nursery for some indoor plant hints and tips. Then sit back and let nature shine.

  5. Recycling tips for Homes Big and Small

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    Keeping Australia Clean… or Not?

    If you stop to think about it, would you think Australians are mass-waste producers? For a seemingly clean and beautiful country, would it surprise you that our waste production is up there with the biggest in the world?

    ABCs program The War on Waste deems that Aussies are in fact the 5th highest for generating the most municipal waste in the world. We generate a whopping 52 mega tonnes of waste per year. Even more frightening is that our waste is growing at double the rate of our population. For a country who claims to fight to ‘Keep Australia clean’ where does this frightening statistic leave us?

    These stats urged us to focus on recycling tips this Christmas season. Because the reality is, it doesn’t matter how big or little space you have. Every effort you make in recycling counts.

    1. Get Organised

      There are enough nifty recycling bin solutions out there to fit the smallest of kitchen spaces. Getting your recycling bins organised to make the process easy is the best step to begin with.

    2. Minimise Single Use Plastics

      The main grocery players across Australia are taking steps to reduce one-use plastic bags. try and do the same at home with single-use plastics such as Gladwrap. Wrap your kids’ lunches in reusable plastic containers or tupperware. Sure it may add to your washing up pile but the reduction in throwaway plastics is huge. If you do use one-use bags from the supermarket, reuse them as your bin liners or nappy bags. Reuse reuse reuse!

    3. Save the Trees

      Channel the Lorax and save the trees. Think before you print. Reuse paper as much as you can. Double side print. Proof on screen only and print only when needed. Put a No Junk Mail sticker on your mailbox.

    4. Be Water Smart

      Always fill the dishwasher and washing machine to full before use. Buy a reusable water bottle as opposed to single-use throwaway water bottles. They are one of the biggest waste perpetrators avoidable and one of the most avoidable.

    So this Christmas, give a present back to the environment. Make an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle and help get Australia out of the Waste Top 10.

  6. WASTE REDUCTION TIPS FOR UNIT LIVING

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    Worms Farms or Portable Compost Units – the Choice is Yours…

    The absence of a backyard does not need to mean the end for effective waste reduction strategies in your home. Sure, the abundance of exterior turf, soil and garden space sure does make the job easier. The proximity of your neighbours in unit living is another factor to consider, as is the space you have for your plants and the volume of waste to usage ratio.

    But with a little imagination and the help from some innovative waste reduction products on the market, unit living need not be a hindrance to your environmental efforts. The implementation of your chosen waste reduction and composting option will mean effective use of your waste, happier plants and a happier and healthier environment.

    So we have chosen two simple and effective options for unit dwelling waste reduction.

    1. PORTABLE COMPOST SYSTEMS

      Thanks to some clever companies, composting when living in an apartment is very much achievable. The Bokashi One is a compact, eco-friendly composting system designed for use within your kitchen. The combination of the 410mm high, 310mm wide and 300mm deep bucket with the Bokashi One mix, can hold approximately 19 litres of food waste. The airtight lid and small size means you can store the Bokashi One conveniently in your kitchen with minimal odour issues.

      Once broken down, the nutrient-rich compost and juice can be extracted for use on your balcony garden and plants. For those with excess compost and liquid, the small and portable nature of the Bokashi means you can travel with the system to a nearby friend of family garden and share the love. Their garden will thank you for it!

    2. WORM FARMS

      The beauty about worms is that they will thrive anywhere! It doesn’t matter if you live in a house, duplex, high-rise or country farm. With the right environment and conditions, you can keep any worm happy. There is an abundance of information available on how to start a worm farm. As well as many stores (aka – Bunnings) where you can buy a starter worm farm kit. Check out the Australian Government Energy Savings page on building your first worm farm and things to consider.

    See which waste reduction option is best for you. Before you know it, your balcony will be the talk of the town.

  7. Timing Investment Property Renovations

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    When is the best time to renovate your investment property?

    The reality of owning on investment property is that there will be maintenance requirements at some stage. The question arises, when is the best time to schedule investment property renovations? What is the best way to carry out works without putting out your tenants and losing out financially? It really comes down to the level of work, ease of access, tenant relationships and income requirements.

    There are a couple of scenarios on offer and questions to ask and we look at the pros and cons of each. 

    Scenario #1 – Renovate whilst Tenanted

     Carrying out maintenance whilst tenanted can be a seamless exercise if managed correctly. Ensuring you give adequate notice to your tenants to allow for access and rearrangement of any belongings or household items. Most small maintenance repairs you can arrange without too much inconvenience to tenants. You may require more extensive planning for larger renovations.

    Consider:

    • How much access will you require?
    • What is the scope of works?
    • Will the property be liveable throughout the renovations?
    • Is there a need to vacate for reasons such as asbestos removal?
    • Will there be access to kitchen and bathroom facilities throughout the renovation?

    If there are major works to be done whilst tenanted with considerable effects on your tenants, you may need to consider a drop in rent or paying for alternate accommodation whilst works are being carried out.

    Scenario #2 – Renovate Between Tenants

    The alternate option is to carry out major renovation works between tenancy agreements. This will firstly allow for easy access at times that suit you and your tradespeople. It also means less inconvenience for prospective tenants. Secondly, it is also beneficial when advertising for new tenants as they can benefit from a new and improved property.

    The main downfall of renovations between tenants is the rent shortfall. This shortfall therefore needs to be taken into account in your budget allocations.

    Investment property renovations really depend on your current situation and current tenancy arrangements. So discuss them with your financial advisor and property manager before carrying out any major works.

  8. THE 10 TOP SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR YOUR HOME

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    Spring is upon us and with it comes the need to dust off those winter blues and breathe some live back into your home. Now if spring cleaning isn’t your thing, then we narrowed it down to the 10 top spring cleaning tasks you can do that will most benefit your home and banish those winter blues away.

    Our Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips

    1. Ditch the woolens

      The cooler nights are a thing of the past to ditch the woolen doonas and blankets and replace with your lighter, summer options.

    2. Replace pillows

      Pillows can harvest a large amount of bacteria and be bad for our health. It is recommended to replace your pillows every 6-12 months for health and hygiene purposes. Plus it will reduce any mustiness around your bed.

    3. Declutter

      If you feel material things are starting to overtake your space, take the opportunity to declutter. Grab a big garbage bag and fill it with items you haven’t used or touched within the last 3 months.

    4. Lighten your tones

      Spring means bright and fresh tones and soft colour palettes. Reach for the soft peach and light blue or green tones to instantly brighten any area. Move away from those darker winter tones that have accentuated the last 3 months.

    5. Take one room at a time

      Clean one room well before you move on to the next. One sparkling, gleaming room will give you the satisfaction and motivation to move on to the next.

    6. Dust first, vacuum second

      There are many times where we have been halfway through a vacuum only to realise we skipped the dusting. Dust first, vacuum and mop second to avoid creating more work.

    7. Brighten rooms with plants

      Bring the outside in! Spring sees the flowers start to bloom and plants prosper. Bring living things inside to instantly brighten and freshen any space.

    8. Reduce the mustiness

      Take out your throws and cushions outside and give them a good dusting. Hang throws over the line to air for a day or two. Give them some fresh air and a chance to rid the mustiness of winter.

    9. Wash curtains or clean venetians

      Breathe some life back into your curtains and drapes for the new season. Ensure to follow washing directions carefully as not to damage curtain fabrics. If you have venetians, dust and wipe off the winter residue for a fresh and clean look for your windows.

    10. Fill your home with Spring scents

      Nothing says Spring more than some sweet floral scents. Whether it is from fresh flowers, candles or essential oils, a beautiful Spring scent will lift the feel of your home.

    So that’s our top 10 tips to have your home looking, feeling and smelling like Spring this season.

    For any questions relating to your property, email us at Elizabeth@aspectestateagents.com.au or kim@aspectestateagents.com.au.

  9. THE 5 GOLDEN RULES TO STRESS FREE RENTING WITH PETS

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    When it comes to renting with pets, there are 5 golden rules to obey. Following these rules will ensure you and your pet have a long and harmonious tenancy agreement with your landlord. When it comes down to it, it is really just commonsense. The same rules apply to renting with pets as it would be for renting with humans. The rules are pretty consistent. It all comes down to respect. Respect for yourself, the property and  your landlord. If you keep that in mind, these rules are pretty straightforward.

    1. Always seek permission

      Before you think about applying for a property, or heading to your local pound or pet store, seek permission for your landlord. All tenancy agreements should clearly state whether pets are acceptable. If unclear, always seek permission first. It is a lot easier to seek permission and be granted a yes or no before you have moved in or have that cuddly new puppy in your arms.

    2. Follow the rules

      As with allowing pets, your tenancy agreement may state whether pets are allowed indoors or outdoors only. These requests are there for a reason. If your landlord requests outdoor pets only, ensure to oblige. Most pet-friendly properties will have secure backyards that are fully fenced so your pet can be safe and comfortable. If the property is not fully enclosed and there is a threat to the safety of your pet, it may not be the best property for you. So continue your search.

    3. Clean up after your pet

      This is another commonsense request really. Similar as your landlord would expect you to keep the premises clean and tidy. Same goes for your pet. Clean up after their messes in the backyard. If they are allowed indoors, ensure any pet hair is cleaned regularly. Where carpet stains occur, clean them straight away to prevent permanent stains. If they dig and tear up the yard, ensure to replace holes and grass where you can once this phase passes.

    4. Keep nuisance noise down

      For your neighbours, there is nothing more irritating than a nuisance barker. If you intend on leaving your dog for long periods, ensure they have been sufficiently excercised prior to your departure. This will mean they are happy to sleep in contentment until your return. Bordeom busters and chew toys do help, but they are not a long-term solution. Domestic pets love company. If left for long periods of time you could have a nuisance barker/howler/crier on your hands. And some grumpy neighbours.

    5. Contain your pets

      This gets particularly tricky when cats are involved. Where your landlord allows pets at your property, this doesn’t mean your neighbours want them too. If you have a dog, ensure the backyard is fully enclosed with no gaps for escape. If a cat is your pet of choice, ensure they aren’t nuisance roaming the streets and other neighbour’s homes throughout the day and evening on the hunt for food.

    For further information, contact the The Tenants Union of NSW or check out their handy ‘Tenants’ guide to renting with pets in NSW

  10. Renting with pets – putting your best paw forward

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    Renting with pets doesn’t need to be impossible!

    For pet owners, finding a rental property that accepts pets can be a nightmare. Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the whole bunch. All one landlord needs is a single irresponsible pet owner as a tenant to put them off for life. But it needn’t be the case.

    Put your best paw forward

    When it comes to renting with pets, it’s all about being smart and upfront. Honesty is the best policy. Show your prospective landlord that you are a responsible pet owner.  Be as upfront with your pet’s details as you would your own. The more information, the better. Your landlord will be comfortable in knowing everything about you and your pet as opposed to finding things out the hard way.

    Be Creative

    We recently received this highly adorable and highly commendable ‘Pet Resume’ for Doug the Pug. And can we say how well received it was by our office as well as by the prospective landlords. Not only have they presented Doug the Pug in the best way possible, they have outlined everything a landlord would want to know about an incoming pet.

    Answer all the Questions

    The owners of Doug the Pug were smart. They predicted and answered all the questions a landlord would want to know.

    • How old is Doug?
    • What breed is Doug?
    • How often is Doug alone during the day?
    • When he is alone, where does he reside?
    • Does he sleep inside or out?
    • Does he obey commands?
    • Is Doug toilet trained?
    • Does he shed?
    • Does he nuisance bark?
    • Any other additional notes from the owner.

    Submit your Pet Resume with your Application

    Submitting your Pet Resume with your rental application will improve your chances of securing your next rental property. The bottom line is, some landlords will not accept pets no matter how adorable they are. The other half will. So in summary, work on your chances of convincing the other half that your pooch or pet is the pick of the litter when it comes to pet tenants.