Is Your Investment Property Ready for Winter? – May 2016

by Tracey Sparrow

By simply taking care of a few things now, you’ll find that maintenance activities will save you time, money and stress in the long term whilst keeping your tenants warm, safe and happy.

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With the cooler weather fast approaching, now is the time that we recommend Property Owners undertake maintenance on their investment property in preparation for the wintry conditions ahead. By simply taking care of a few things now, you’ll find that these maintenance activities will save you time, money and stress in the long term whilst keeping your tenants warm, safe and happy.

Working with a Property Management company means all you need to do is let your Property Manager know what you would like actioned and they will take care of the rest. Autumn is the perfect opportunity to consider the following:

Maintain your Home Heating

It is safe to say if you have a wood burner or heat pump in your rental property; it will get a little more use over the next few months.  Call in the professionals to inspect and clean your heating solutions.

  • Wood burner – Under your House Insurance policy there may be a requirement for your wood burner to be checked and cleaned annually. Even if not, this is a recommended seasonal check for a chimney sweep to inspect and clean the flue and vents. They will also ensure the safety and efficiency of your chimney.
  • Heat pump – Annual maintenance checks on your heat pump are important. A professional contractor will clean dirty air filters and vents in both your indoor and outdoor units to ensure your heat pump is delivering continuous comfort to your tenants.  Remember it is a difficult time to re-tenant a property in the winter months so ensure your tenants have every reason to stay.

Review Your Current Heating Options

Some older properties do not have adequate heating or are not fully insulated to enable tenants to keep warm and happy during winter. Ask your Property Manager about potential discounts relating to insulation if your current tenant holds a Community Services card. Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (1986), introduced by the Government, mean Landlords will have to meet a minimum standard of insulation in all tenanted properties in the future – both floor and ceiling insulation will be required to meet this new standard by the 1st July 2019.  Discuss the implications for your property with your Property Manager.

If you haven’t already, consider investing in a heat pump which can add value to your property especially when looking to attract tenants in the future.  Another item to review within the property is heat retention. By simply investing in heavier, thicker curtains, a tenant is able to retain heat within the home more easily.

Clean your Gutters and Downpipes

Clearing out guttering is a necessary chore with the cooler months of the year and will prevent debris clogging your gutters that can result in water drainage issues around your property. Remember safety is paramount especially with the introduction of the new rules and regulations under the Health & Safety (H&S) Act.  We recommend leaving it up to the professionals to ensure all H&S requirements are met.

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Install or replace your Smoke Detectors

From July 2016, all Landlords will be required, under the Residential Tenancies Act (1986) to have working smoke alarms installed and operating in their rental properties. Irelands’ have always encouraged their Property Owners to install smoke detectors as a safety precaution for their investment and for the lives of the tenants.

Irelands’ are currently managing a Smoke Alarm Compliance initiative for their Owners.  This will encompass an audit of their rental property to ensure it is meeting the new legislation requirements. Working with a reputable company, Irelands have negotiated a fixed fee of $80 plus GST per property. This fee covers the cost of an on-site visit, compliance certificate and installation of new long life photoelectric smoke alarms in the areas deemed necessary under the legislation. (This includes replacing older models of alarms to ensure owners know they will be covered for an extended 10 year period).  As part of this initiative, all new smoke alarm/s are provided free of charge.  Talk with Irelands today on 03-377 2090, if you are interested in taking advantage of this extremely competitive fee and being part of their Smoke Alarm Compliance Project.

Take Control of the Vegetation and Surrounding Trees

A Property Manager will note when completing their quarterly inspections of any vegetation issues and problematic trees, especially those with cables above. These may have the potential to become hazards or damage your property. Regular trimming and pruning of trees is advisable.

Irelands’ encourages their Property Owners to come and visit their property at any time. We find that potential issues can be addressed much quicker and easier when both the Property Owner and Property Manager are involved.

The Irelands’ Property Managers are happy to co-ordinate any of the above activities for you, utilising our experienced and preferred contractors. It’s all part of our service.

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Do you have another tip on how to prepare a property for the wet and cold weather? Let us know in a comment below.

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Is Your Investment Property Ready for Winter? – May 2016