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Winter Proof Your Rental Property

By Sarah Barton, Terri Scheer Insurance Distribution Channel Manager

Weather events such as storms, hail and water or flood damage can cause headaches for landlords and property managers on poorly maintained investment properties.

The recent floods and wild weather in New South Wales caused widespread damage to properties with landlords and property managers now dealing with the aftermath.

With winter fast approaching, now is a good time of year for landlords and property managers to assess any potential or existing issues at their properties.

Winter’s seasonal conditions could escalate maintenance issues, cause damage and put a tenant’s safety at risk, creating potential for the landlord to be legally liable.

Before winter starts, landlords and property managers should consider undertaking a winter-related property maintenance review as part of their regular property inspections.

They should consider the following:

Gutters

One of the most common winter household maintenance issues is clogged gutters. This can cause leaking and water damage after a heavy downpour. Landlords should ensure that gutters are free from leaves, twigs and other debris to avoid water-related damage to the property.

Roofing and eaves

Check for cracked or loose roof panels and tiles before the weather turns. This can cause leaking and water damage which can quickly spread to other areas of the property following a winter storm. Also look for rotting or water damaged eaves, as they can lead to salt damp or mould issues on interior and exterior walls.

Trees and shrubs

Prune loose or dead branches or trees that could potentially injure a tenant if they were to fall during strong winds. Landlords should check with neighbouring property owners of shared or boundary fences in case of overhanging branches, as they may be a joint responsibility.

Likewise, check if there are any branches that overhang the building and consider pruning. This maintenance can be dangerous, and while it may incur a nominal cost, it could be worthwhile bringing in a professional to ensure both your safety and that of your tenants.

Heating and hot water

A tenant’s comfort in a property can often determine if they have a positive rental experience. In the current COVID environment, tenants are tending to be at home more often and they want to feel comfortable in their rental properties.

Landlords should ensure their property’s heating is functioning correctly to help keep their tenants warm during winter.

Checking the hot water system is running efficiently could save tenants money in energy bills and help keep them happy. Landlords should consider servicing their investment property’s heating and hot water systems before winter.

Condensation and mould

Mould is not only unsightly, but can pose a health risk to tenants if not addressed appropriately. If ignored it can be very difficult to remove. Landlords and property managers should pay close attention to wet areas during property inspections and act quickly if mould appears to be forming.

During winter, damp and mould can worsen due to condensation caused by heated roofs with poor ventilation and wet clothes drying inside.

Landlords could also give their tenants tips on how to reduce damp and condensation in the home over winter, including airing out the home regularly and wiping condensation from windows.

Landlord insurance

Landlords and property managers who winter-proof their properties can help prevent potential damage but sometimes the unforeseen occurs.

Landlords and property managers should protect themselves against these potential risks. Landlord insurance can provide reassurance that they won’t be left out of pocket if their property is damaged.

In the event of a claim – if a property isn’t well maintained, it may not be covered. Always read the PDS in your policy to ensure you are adequately insured.

For further information call 1800 804 016.


Editor’s note

About Terri Scheer Insurance

Terri Scheer Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 76 070 874 798 (Terri Scheer) provides insurance cover for landlords, helping to protect them against the risks associated with owning a rental property. These include malicious damage by tenants, accidental damage, landlord’s legal liability and loss of rental income. Terri Scheer acts on behalf of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as ‘Vero Insurance’, the insurer which issues the insurance cover. Terri Scheer has not taken into account the reader’s objectives, financial situation or needs. If you are interested in any of Terri Scheer’s insurance products, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement should be considered first. It can be viewed online at www.terrischeer.com.au or obtained by calling 1800 804 016. Based in Adelaide, Terri Scheer services all states, territories and capital cities.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. Terri Scheer does not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it.

Insurance issued by Vero Insurance. 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.

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