It might feel too early to be planning for the summer holidays, but Christmas and the summer break are fast approaching.
Tick these items off your list now so you can enjoy the holidays with peace of mind.
If you are a landlord:
As we all know, Christmas time and the long summer holidays are peak swimming season. Pool and spa regulations exist to ensure everyone’s safety, but particularly children. If your investment property has a pool, it’s wise to ensure that it meets all the safety regulations before summer holidays roll around.
While the occupier of the property has a role to play, it is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that any pool or spa provided with a rental property is adequately fenced, maintained and operating effectively.
Now is the ideal time to make sure that the pool fencing, latches, gate and posts are in good working order. Keep a copy of the latest pool inspection report from your local council and respond to your tenant’s requests for maintenance promptly. Repairs to a pool barrier are considered urgent. This means that tenants have the right to authorise repairs if they are unable to contact you within 48 hours of the issue arising, or if the repairs are not organised as soon as practicable after notification.
It’s a good idea to make sure that the smoke alarms in your property are in good working order before the holidays, with Christmas lights, barbecues and events in full swing. The responsibility for ensuring that the smoke alarms are working falls to the landlord.
Smoke alarms need to be no more than ten years old, in working order and permanently connected to consumer mains power (hard-wired). There are some circumstances where a battery-operated smoke alarm is permitted, such as when the property is not connected to consumer mains power. In those cases, local government approval is required.
A good property manager will be aware of your obligations and your property’s schedule of regular smoke alarm checks, so take the time to check in with them before the holiday shutdown.
Repairs and maintenance
Take the chance to check in with your tenants now about any potential issues or minor areas of repair that need attending to, so that anything that needs to be dealt with can be sorted out before Christmas and problems don’t escalate over the holidays. Remember that if an issue is urgent, you must arrange repair within 24 – 48 hours (depending on the nature of the problem). This could prove difficult and expensive over the holiday period, so avoid this where possible by addressing repairs now.
Update on the Government’s residential tenancies COVID-19 response
While COVID cases are currently low across the country, particularly in WA, the WA State Government has extended the emergency period for COVID-19 rent laws, including the moratorium on rent increases and some terminations of tenancies, until 28 March 2021. Consumer Protection has set up a new Landlord Hotline to connect landlords to experts who can answer questions and provide personalised guidance in relation to managing tenancies during the emergency period. The hotline number is 1300 304 054 and it is open Monday to Wednesday and Friday between 8.30am – 5pm and Thursday 9am – 5pm.
What if my tenant moves out over Christmas?
Should your tenants choose to move out over the Christmas period, don’t panic. The Perth rental vacancy rate is currently at a record low, which could work in your favour. The good news is that if you are leasing to a new renter you can increase the rent you’ve been charging. In other words, you’re not bound by the moratorium on rent increases to keep the rent at the same rate as the last tenant was paying. Of course, your Rentwest Solutions property manager will be more than happy to work with you to find your next tenant.
If you are a renter:
Swimming pools (including inflatable and portable pools)
If your rental property has a pool or a spa, no doubt you’re planning on making the most of it over the summer holidays. Ensuring that a pool is safely fenced is the responsibility of both the property owner and the occupier, so now is the perfect time to make sure pool fencing, gates, latches and posts are secure and working properly. Make sure that climbable objects such as garden furniture or pot plants are kept away from fences and gates, and that gates are never left propped open. Sticking to the rules could save a life.
If you plan on erecting an inflatable or portable pool in your backyard this summer, remember that you must obtain permission from the landlord before erecting any pool over 300mm in depth. If approval is given, you are then responsible for providing compliant fencing for that pool.
Repairs and Maintenance
Is your rental property in need of repairs? Report non-urgent maintenance now, before the holiday season is in full swing. If you need an urgent repair over the Christmas period, contact us on our out-of-hours emergency number on 0410 473 083.
Update on the residential tenancies COVID-19 response
The WA State Government has extended the emergency period for COVID-19 rent laws, including the moratorium on rent increases and some terminations of tenancies, until 28 March 2021. The Residential Rent Relief Grant Scheme, for tenants facing financial hardship, has also been extended for a second phase.
Although there are restrictions on evictions during the emergency period, you may still choose to vacate your rental property during this period in accordance with your lease. If you’re planning on giving notice, get in touch with us as soon as possible to ensure the smoothest possible transition. We’d be happy to help you find another rental property too.
Thank you to all our landlords and tenants
There’s no doubt 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges. We hope you all get to enjoy your holiday break! From everyone at Rentwest Solutions, we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.