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Sharon Fox-Slater

Injury, damage and rectification bills – Why you shouldn’t DIY

renovation
1 minute read

Injury, damage and rectification bills – Why you shouldn’t DIY

May 24, 2018

Aussies love a bit of DIY, but when it comes to investment properties it’s wise to leave it to the professionals — especially if you are fond of your extremities and keen to keep your insurance cover!

And that goes for “handy” tenants who are keen to power up the tools. You might need to explain the complexities of property maintenance and insurance at a rental home. Basically, when it comes to DIY, the advice is don’t do it.

DIY is a risky proposition, particularly at investment properties, both in terms of costs (physical and financial) and because it can jeopardise your insurance coverage.

Ouch!

Emergency departments across the nation fill with unlucky DIYers every weekend. Figures from the National Injury Surveillance Unit reveal around 25,000 people each year seek treatment related to ladder falls, nail gun injuries and accidents with lawnmowers and power tools. And, annually, more than 3,000 Australians are hospitalised for injuries resulting from a DIY job, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The most common cause of injuries is ladder-related falls (38 per cent), followed by powered hand tools and household machinery (29 per cent) and falls from buildings or structures (13 per cent). Almost two-thirds of all falls from ladders resulted in a bone fracture, while more than 10 per cent of all power saw-related mishaps resulted in complete or partial amputations.

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Oops!

Let’s be honest, enthusiasm often trumps skill when it comes to repairs, maintenance and renovations. The result is that, more often than not, an experienced tradie needs to be called in to fix, finish or re-do a DIY job. A survey by Hire a Hubby found nearly one-third of all respondents had tried to fix something themselves only to make it worse, and close to 60 per cent had to call in an expert to fix the problem.

And the DIY fails don’t come cheap. Research commissioned by hipages, in partnership with News Corp, found DIYers were spending an average of $1,500 fixing damage caused by projects going awry. It was also found more than 2.3 million homeowners admitted having had a DIY job go pear-shaped (a cost of $3.53 billion annually).

Uh oh!

Injury and damage are key considerations when it comes to DIY and insurance — and maintaining insurance cover.

Landlords and tenants usually need, and are covered by, different insurance products. That means if damage or injury occurs while your tenant is undertaking repairs at your property, neither of you are potentially covered.

Any savings and convenience extracted from your tenant’s DIY help can quickly be absorbed by costly repair work or, worse, medical costs.

It’s also important to know that damage or injury caused or suffered by you undertaking works may not be covered either.

Any repairs at your investment property should be carried out by experienced, insured and (where applicable) licensed tradies.

The law requires some works to be undertaken by licensed contractors, such as electrical and plumbing jobs. If they aren’t, it can result in hefty fines, and have serious ramifications for your insurance and potentially void your landlord policy.

Right-o!

Inspections provide the ideal time to keep an eye on tenants with a penchant for DIY — get your property manager to keep an eye out for signs your tenants might be getting seduced by the slew of home reno shows on the telly at the moment.

It’s also a prime opportunity get your agent to identify work that needs to be done and arrange for them to engage a trusted tradie to take care of any repairs or maintenance that needs to be carried out.

Need more reasons to forgo attempting DIY yourself? Here are five:

  1. Tradies carry their own insurance in case of damage or injury (get your agent to make sure that any tradie they engage is licensed/qualified and insured).
  2. The workmanship of many tradies, especially those who are licensed or members of professional organisations, is often guaranteed. You also have recourse for poor work through consumer laws.
  3. Tradies know what they are doing, which can save time and money.
  4. Inadequate repairs could result in tenants complaining to authorities or even prosecution.
  5. Most repairs and maintenance carried out by a tradie are tax deductible.

Ultimately, leaving it to the pros can help safeguard your insurance cover — and no-one wants to risk an investment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to save a few bucks by going DIY.

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