Four Types of Property Maintenance
“Repairs and maintenance” is often used as an umbrella term for anything that needs doing to a property, but there are actually 4 quite different categories involved, all of which should be regularly considered.
Repair – These are a reactive response to something going wrong. Examples include a blocked pipe, a broken oven or a leaking roof. Repairs are the bare minimum required to maintain the property in an adequate condition.
Seasonal maintenance – Ideally, these are items that should be regularly addressed to ensure the number of repairs to the property are kept to a minimum. Examples include gutter clearing, garden pruning, painting to prevent cracking and deterioration, checking the roof tiles, and regular pest control.
Investment maintenance – This is the planned replacement of any item in the property that depreciates in value, including carpets, blinds, ovens, hot water systems, and insect screens. These enable a good level of control over the standard of the property and the cost of maintenance.
Capital works – This is any new element that is introduced into the property. Examples include adding a dishwater, a sprinkler system, or installing an air-conditioning system. This type of expense is likely to actually increase the value of the property as well as the rental return.
With consideration of all four categories, the value of the property is likely to increase.
Landlord Insurance – Why and Who?
All landlord insurances aren’t built the same. The banks offer their own policy, but while there are some good inclusions, it’s the exclusions that can really hurt you. The specialist landlord policies usually offer better inclusions. So what should you watch out for?
The excess: Most claims for rent arrears equate to less than 1 month’s rent. Many specialist policies offer either free or $100 excess amounts, while banks have much higher excesses.
Damage from pets: While allowing pets gives you more opportunity for tenants, you want to make sure you’re adequately covered as it doesn’t take much for pet damage to ‘chew’ through the bond.
Sudden and unexpected impact: Whether it’s a falling tree, or a car colliding with the property, it’s best to be covered.
Accidental breakage: There are many instances where it’s difficult to prove who did what to a property, so accidental damage can save you hundreds.
Legal liability: It’s imperative that you have the most possible – we suggest $20 million. There’s many cases of accidents at properties where the tenant has successfully sued the owner.
It’s more important than ever to ensure that you’re as protected as possible.
End of tenancy cleanliness
We have all seen and heard the stories of the ‘tenants from hell’ – usually when a tenant vacates, but not every tenancy ends on a bad note.
We find that most tenants do their best to do the right thing during and at the end of the tenancy but as with anything – things can go wrong.
In order to minimise the potential for damage or the need for cleaning at the end of the tenancy, we issue your tenant with a pre vacate checklist.
Our pre-vacate checklist not only outlines the date that the keys are to be returned and rent is to be paid to but also includes a cleaning guide. Our cleaning guide incorporates the areas that require additional attention room by room and appliance by appliance.
In our experience, we find that most bond disputes centre around the cleanliness of the kitchen and bathroom areas and cleanliness of carpet. There are often differing interpretations of fair wear and tear and our cleaning guide is designed to eliminate such confusion by clearly setting out our expectations before the tenant vacates. The aim is to avoid the tenant being able to come to us and state: “we weren’t aware of what we had to do or I didn’t have to do this where I rented before”.
Our pre-vacate checklist is designed to ensure that all steps are taken by the tenant to leave the property in good order and that the tenancy ends well for all concerned. The ideal is that the property is vacated in good and clean condition and the tenant receives a full bond refund.
By pre-framing the vacating requirements we are setting clear expectations and minimising the possibility of confusion and upset for all.