Every landlord wants their investment property to maintain its value, but not everyone has the budget for big upgrades.
A cost-effective way to protect your investment is to ensure it is regularly maintained. This can include seasonal tasks, simple things like staying up-to-date with legal requirements, and addressing predictable wear and tear as it happens.
With a little planning, you can prevent more costly issues from occurring down the road.
Here are some of the most important maintenance tasks Perth landlords should consider and how to time them for maximum impact.
Prevention is better than the cure
Preventing minor issues from becoming serious problems can save landlords time, money, and headaches.
The Western Australian Government’s ‘Investment property ownership factsheet’ illustrates this clearly with some great examples:
- Keeping gutters clean can prevent internal flooding and ceiling damage.
- Treating rotten window sills quickly can save your window from needing replacement, your carpet from being damaged and your walls being stained.
- Cleaning air-conditioning filters will help the system last longer and help prevent the spread of mould spores.
- If you have a large tree in your backyard, regular pruning can stop fallen branches from potentially damaging your roof or other property (and falling leaves from blocking gutters).
- Repairs to your leaking plumbing like a toilet cistern can stop damp walls, an issue that might need to be rectified by retiling your whole bathroom.
- Similarly, any roof damage should be attended to promptly to reduce the risk of ceiling, wall and floor damage and subsequent carpet replacement.
- And even very small things like resealing the silicon around a kitchen, bathroom or laundry sink can prevent leaks and flooding and keep the cabinets and floors underneath intact.
It can help to schedule regular maintenance tasks strategically, by the seasons:
- Service the air-conditioning unit. Aside from reducing the risk of mould and bacteria, it’s a courtesy to tenants to ensure that the system is working when they need it most.
- Get bushfire ready. If your property is near or in a bushfire risk area, do the following before the start of bushfire season: cut grass to below 10cm, prune shrubs growing close to the home, clean gutters, ensure the gas release valve faces away from the property and clear tree branches which are closer than 20 metres to the residence. Western Australia’s Bushfire Preparation Toolkit suggests additional layers of protection, which may be useful for your property.
- Be pool safe. Aside from making sure your pool is fenced, and the gate safely locks, now is a good time to check if the pool pump is working properly and to confirm that your tenants have the equipment and the instructions to look after the pool water.
- Building integrity. Clean gutters in autumn to prevent overflow from any rainfall during the winter months. Check roof tiles and gutters for damage, which might allow rain to penetrate the building. Similarly, Fix any leaks on windows, doors, and other vulnerable areas to prevent mould growth after heavy rainfall.
- Fire safety. Replace fire alarm batteries and test smoke detectors, because as the weather changes so does the nature of the fire risk.
- EOFY. End of Financial Year falls at the end of autumn so read our checklist here.
- Pest inspection. Pests are a year-long problem in Perth because of the warm climate, however if your property is susceptible to termites then winter, when they tend to stay close to their nests, is the best time to schedule an inspection. Rodents also thrive in winter, so sealing cracks and crevices will prevent them from breeding in walls and roof spaces.
- Ask the tenants. Use winter, or any quiet period in your schedule, to ask your tenant if there are any outstanding property issues that require your attention, they may notice small things on a day-to-day basis that aren’t visible in a regular rental inspection.
- Get the garden under control. Ahead of spring growth, this is a good time to prune overgrown shrubs and take care of any other major garden work (if required) so that your tenant can enjoy any of the outdoor areas in your property.
- Outdoor maintenance. Don’t forget to maintain any wooden decking, permanent outdoor furniture, power hose slippery paths, fix leaking taps, letterboxes, screen doors, watering systems or broken clotheslines.
This is an ideal time to check if your property is meeting the current regulatory standards (like these safety and security and compliance issues) and make any bigger improvements or freshen up your property with paint, carpet and any other upgrades before the next tenants move in.
Always complete a thorough Property Condition Report when a tenancy begins, and keep on top of maintenance issues by ensuring your property manager conducts regular inspections of your rental property.
Or contact our experienced property management team today for more advice.