Brand EditorialEPMEPM: Best Practice & Legislation

Spring open that little black book of tradies: Sharon Fox-Slater

As the weather heats up, a little seasonal TLC at investment properties may be on the cards. Sharon Fox-Slater says now is a great time to get out your little black book of tradies and arrange some springtime maintenance.

Spring is traditionally when property owners give their homes a good clean and refresh. The arrival of warmer weather also heralds the need for a little TLC at investment properties, so get out that little black book of trades and services and help landlords prepare their rental for summer.

On the speed dial…

Specialist contractors

  • Get the air-conditioning and HVAC systems serviced
  • Have the pool cleaned, the pump and accessories serviced, and the water tested
  • Ensure pool and spa fences/gates/latches are up to code
  • Inspect the roof and exterior for damage
  • Check the foundations, driveways, pathways and concrete slabs
  • Arrange a pest inspection
  • Have alarms and security systems tested
  • Have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers safety checked

Handyman

  • Clean out the gutters, downpipes and drains
  • Inspect wet areas for mould and caulking deterioration
  • Check exhaust and extractor fans are working properly
  • Ensure all appliances are working properly
  • Replace worn/damaged tapware, cupboard handles and fixed fittings and furnishings (e.g. curtains, blinds, lighting)
  • Install and repair flyscreens

Chippie

  • Fix loose hinges and screws
  • Make sure handrails, decks and stairs are safe
  • Ensure exterior doors and windows move freely, are weatherproof/draught-proof and in good repair (including the hardware and locks)

Cleaner

  • Have carpets, curtains and blinds professionally cleaned
  • Steam clean tiles and hard surfaces such as countertops
  • Clean windows and flyscreens
  • Clean overhead fans (dust inhibits effectiveness)
  • High-pressure clean outdoor areas
  • Clean up debris on the property

Painter

  • Repaint or touch-up interior chips and scratches
  • Repaint or touch-up siding and trims
  • Refresh paint – inside and out

Plumber

  • Fix leaking taps
  • Check for leaks in general
  • Check gas and water systems are operating correctly

Sparkie

  • Give the electrics a once-over
  • Test electrical circuit shut-off switches
  • Make sure all outdoor lights are working

Gardener/landscaper

  • Check the reticulation is working and correctly set for warmer weather watering (taking into account local requirements and restrictions of course!)
  • Prune trees and shrubs that overhang or are close to the home or powerlines
  • Trim overgrowth (as it can cause safety and security issues)
  • Mow lawns
  • Weed garden beds, patio areas and driveways
  • Check safety of pavers etc. (eliminate trip hazards)
  • Clear the gardens of any loose foliage, rubbish and dead plants
  • Check if any growth is impacting the building (such as ivy in masonry, creepers in drains and pipes, tree roots lifting foundations etc.)
  • Check drainage around the property
  • Tidy up, fertilise lawns and flower beds, mulch and add a splash of colour with annuals or plant out using low-maintenance natives

Maintaining a property is a requirement for insurance cover. Neglecting maintenance could create problems if a landlord does need to make a claim, so make sure urgent repairs are carried out within legal timeframes, statutory safety requirements are adhered to (e.g. pool fences, railings, stairs, balconies) and that other repairs and regular maintenance are addressed promptly. A bit of a ‘spring clean’ now could prove wise when the full heat of summer descends.

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Sharon Fox-Slater

Sharon Fox-Slater is the Executive General Manager of EBM’s RentCover, which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia and creates covers specifically for the property industry. Sharon was also the first woman to become a Fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association. For more information, visit rentcover.com.au.

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