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A checklist to surviving the springtime maintenance season

management
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A checklist to surviving the springtime maintenance season

October 17, 2018

While spring is traditionally when property owners treat their homes to a bit of ‘spit and polish’, it’s also an ideal time to give investment properties a once over. Here’s a list of what you need to watch out for this spring.

Get your property manager to dive into their little black book of trades and services and arrange a bit of springtime maintenance in the lead-up to what is set to be another scorching summer:

Indoors

  • Get the air-conditioning system serviced;
  • Make sure overhead fans and exhaust/extractor fans are dust-free and working well;
  • Clean and repair flyscreens (or fit them);
  • Inspect wet areas for mould and caulking deterioration, and remedy;
  • Refresh paint – re-paint or touch-up chips and scratches;
  • Replace worn/damaged tapware, cupboard handles and fixed fittings and furnishings (e.g. curtains, blinds, lighting);
  • Fix leaking taps, loose hinges and screws;
  • Have alarms and security systems tested;
  • Get a sparkie to test electrical circuit shut off switches and give the electrics a once-over (cranking up fridges/freezers, air-cons and fans could overload the system); and
  • Call in a plumber to check for leaks (those that go unnoticed for long periods can lead to damaged tiling or pavers etc.), and to check gas and water systems (including testing the water heating pressure relief valve to reduce the risk of water leaks or explosions caused by the build-up of corrosion).

Outdoors

  • Have the pool cleaned, service the pump and accessories, ensure the water is fit for swimming and ensure pool and spa fences/gates/latches are up to code;
  • Clean out the gutters, downpipes and drains (debris can not only lead to flooding but poses a fire hazard);
  • Inspect the roof and exterior for damage, and make repairs as needed;
  • Repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces in walkways and driveways, concrete slabs and the patio (to limit the risk of drainage issues and also trip hazards for tenants and visitors);
  • Check drainage around the property and fix any issues (good drainage limits the risk of flooding, mould, mildew, rising damp and termites);
  • Check the foundation ventilation vents are in good repair to ensure air flow and keep vermin out;
  • Make sure handrails, decks and stairs are safe;
  • Check door seals and trimmings (as they may have hardened over the cooler weather and from being exposed to the elements);
  • Ensure exterior doors and windows move freely, are weatherproof and in good repair (including the hardware and locks);
  • Make sure all outdoor lights are working;
  • Repair paintwork – repaint or touch-up siding and trims (exposed wood is prone to rotting);
  • Check the reticulation is working (replace broken sprinkler heads and solenoids, repair damaged pipes) and correctly set for warmer weather watering;
  • Prune trees and shrubs that overhang or are close to the home, fences, patios and sheds or powerlines;
  • Get gardening – mow the lawns, tidy up, fertilise lawns and flower beds, mulch and weed; and
  • Arrange a pest inspection and check the home is well sealed to keep bugs out.

Keeping rentals ship-shape is not only a great way to keep tenants, it’s also an easy way to safeguard your landlord insurance cover.

Neglecting maintenance can put the property at risk and potentially void the policy, so get on top of repairs now to avoid a meltdown later on.

About the author

Sharon Fox-Slater

Sharon Fox-Slater

Sharon Fox-Slater is the managing director of RentCover, a division of EBM, which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia.

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