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Landlord urged not to skimp on maintenance

Landlords who skimp on maintenance with quick-fix solutions may find it ends up costing them more in the long run, according to leading landlord insurance specialist, Terri Scheer Insurance.

Terri Scheer Insurance Executive Manager, Carolyn Parrella, said many landlords undertook renovations or modifications to their rental property to generate more profitable rental income and potentially increase the market value of their home.

“Landlords need to ensure they keep their properties safe and well maintained for tenants,” she said.

“With the rise in popularity of home renovation television shows, many landlords may be inspired to repair or modify their properties themselves.

“This may give the false impression that improvements to properties are achievable within tight timeframes and with limited building experience.

“While it may seem cost effective to do the work yourself, an insufficient DIY job could mean you end up spending more money to fix repairs in the long run. For example; a quick DIY fix could result in sub-standard workmanship or a legal liability claim if there is injury or loss resulting from a safety hazard that has not been attended to.”

Ms Parella offers the following tips to help landlords improve and maintain their properties:

Seek professional advice

“When considering renovating a property, it’s always best to seek professional advice,” Ms Parrella said.

“Seeking advice from a building inspector prior to a renovation can help ensure the house is safe and accessible during and after any construction works.

“They will be able to advise on building regulations and ensure the work being completed meets the highest standards.

“The cost of appointing a building inspector when undertaking significant upgrades to the home is well worth it.

“If you have limited building experience, hiring a qualified builder to carry out the work for you may ensure the upgrades are completed in a timely and cost effective way.

“It may also save you money in the long term if the project is completed to a quality standard.”

Property maintenance

“Ensuring the condition of a property is maintained for the duration of each tenancy is critical for landlords,” Ms Parrella said.

“Attending to maintenance issues promptly will also keep tenants happy.

“Putting off maintenance or insufficient repairs can damage your relationship with your tenants.

“This may signal to the tenant that you don’t care about the property or value their concern for its condition.

“Your tenant may begin to question their own commitment to the property and become more careless about it, or consider vacating when the lease expires.

“This could result in damage to the property or loss of good tenants and possibly result in an empty property that isn’t generating an income.”

Legal liability

“Injury or loss resulting from a safety hazard that has not been attended to may give rise to a costly legal liability claim for the landlord,” Ms Parrella said.

“By taking pride in your investment, showing concern for your tenants and responding promptly to maintenance issues, you can avoid this.

“Appropriate insurance can also protect you in the event of a legal liability claim.

“Every landlord should have a tailored landlord insurance policy that covers them for both malicious and accidental damage, their legal liability and loss of rental income.

“A standard building and contents insurance policy generally won’t cover landlords for these risks.”

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