Landlords who skimp on maintenance with quick-fix solutions may find it ends up costing them…
It also surprises some landlords to learn that they themselves, not their agents, are ultimately responsible for these repairs – and, by extension, for the safety of tenants.
This legal responsibility is one reason why landlords should proactively inspect their properties and make regular contact with their agents, rather than simply assuming everything is OK.
Beyond satisfying the law, the benefits of staying on top of maintenance and repairs can include keeping tenants happy and house-proud, filling vacancies quickly and growing the value of your investment over the long term.
It’s also a prerequisite for those investors who wish to take advantage of landlord’s insurance and protect their investment income month-to-month.
If your property is not safe, initial cover will be denied; and, if you don’t maintain the property, you may lose your policy.
Here’s what you need to do to maintain landlord’s insurance with Terri Scheer.
1. Take steps to prevent theft, loss, damage or legal liability
In order to keep your building safe and secure, you must be proactive, rather than simply responding to requests from tenants. For example, you should ensure that there are working smoke detectors in your building to comply with local law, install and maintain an alarm system if the building is prone to break-ins, and make sure door and window locks remain in good working condition.
2. Keep your building structurally sound
Looking after your property goes beyond complying with the law and keeping your tenants safe in the here-and-now. Minor structural issues such as holes in floors and walls or loose steps can escalate rapidly if not dealt with early on, so it’s safer and more financially sensible to tackle them immediately. Water-related issues such as mould and insufficient guttering can also lead to more significant health and safety problems down the track. To keep it simple, Terri Scheer asks the following of policy holders:
You must fix any inherent defect, faulty design, structural fault or poor workmanship at your building as soon as possible after you identify it or are told about it.
3. Comply with laws and regulations when maintaining, repairing or altering your building
Whether you are responding to a maintenance request from a tenant, proactively performing repair work or making an enhancement to your building, it is crucial that you comply with local council requirements and building laws and regulations. This includes obtaining all required permits and permissions prior to work commencing and ensuring that any alterations meet legal requirements. If you don’t abide by the rules, you may inadvertently create a dangerous situation for your tenants or increase the likelihood of damage or a mishap in the future.
4. Keep your building in good general condition
Rats in the attic, termite damage and stained carpets may not be illegal or very unsafe, but they can make a home less pleasant to live in – and, in the case of rental properties, they can give tenants the impression that damage and disrepair are tolerated. Setting a high standard of repair and cleanliness encourages your tenants to do the same and reduces the likelihood of future safety problems. If you are compensated for these sorts of cosmetic issues – or for anything else relating to maintenance and repairs – through your Terri Scheer policy, it is your responsibility to ensure they are resolved without delay.
Taking a proactive stance on maintenance and repairs can not only help you secure landlord’s insurance but also encourages your tenants to remain in place. There’s no better way to optimise your property investment.
Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as Terri Scheer. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance and consider whether it is right for you. Contact Terri Scheer on 1800 804 016 or visit our website at www.terrischeer.com.au for a copy. The Target Market Determination is also available.
The information is intended to be of a general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries. This article has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.