Living in Queensland, we have a number of tenants lucky enough to have a pool on their property. With the storm season in full swing, there can be a range of issues that can occur to the cleanliness, chlorine and PH levels.
As a tenant, you are responsible for looking after the property and keeping it, and any inclusions such as a pool, an oven or lawn, clean. These requirements are set out in Form 17a.
Your requirements are outlined further in Form 18a – your General Tenancy Agreement. Section 46(2)(c) holds that at the end of occupancy, a tenant is responsible for ensuring the swimming pool, filter and spa equipment are returned to a clean condition with correct chemical levels.
Pool maintenance can be a drag, but there’s no point having a great pool out the back if it’s full of sludge. Cleaning and maintenance are crucial to keeping the water safe for you and your family, and to make sure you actually get to use it!
From collecting leaves and debris to keeping the chlorine levels stable, there’s a huge range of tricks, tools and products to keep your pool in tip top shape.
Cleaning your pool
All pools require cleaning to remove the leaves, dirt and other grotty things that they collect. Most pools have a Kreepy Krauly which are one of the cheapest and most popular automatic cleaners.
Without regular sanitisation, all pools develop bacteria – which can pose serious health risks. Water top-ups, leaves, grass, dust, and even people all cause bacteria to grow; these factors, along with the size of your pool, will determine the level of sanitisation you need.
Most pool owners use chlorine. There are other options to keep pool water clean and in balance – such as using ozone gas, UV sterilisation, bromine or ionization – but these methods make up a very small part of the Australian market. Health departments around Australia generally recommend all domestic pool owners have a chlorine residual in their pool.
There are three main ways domestic users can keep their pool chlorinated:
By hand, which involves adding chlorine manually.
By installing a salt chlorinator, which produces chlorine and is the most common form of domestic pool chlorination in Australia.
By installing a liquid chemical feeder, which automatically adds chlorine.
As well as sanitisation, you also need to chemically balance your pool water. The chemical balance of your pool is made up of:
pH (acidity/alkalinity level): 68%
total alkalinity (TA): 16%
calcium hardness: 16%
You should monitor your chlorine and pH levels at least once a week, or every day if your pool is in high use. Total alkalinity and calcium hardness levels can be monitored less frequently.
The most labour-intensive way of keeping your pool sanitised is to manually add chlorine. This involves testing your pool’s water to figure out how much chlorine to use, and will need to be done every second day for the average backyard pool. This might be the best option if you’re renting a property with a pool and aren’t looking for a long-term solution.
Saltwater pools are popular in Australian backyards – but they don’t do away with the need for chlorine. Saltwater pools use salt chlorinators to convert common salt crystals into chlorine gas which is soluble in water.
You can install a salt chlorinator in the existing pipe work of any pool. The only exception is above-ground pools with metal structures as they’ll rust.
Some salt chlorinators are self-cleaning. If you don’t buy a self-cleaning model, you will need to manually clean the salt from the cell as often as every fortnight. Self-cleaning models don’t need such intensive maintenance, but they are more expensive.
When a salt chlorinator is initially installed, you will need to manually add salt to your pool. The recommended initial dose is 4kg of salt per 1000 litres – about 20–30% will be lost every year due to backwashing, splashing and overflow, so regular salt top-ups will be needed.
Salt chlorinators operate automatically, so you can go on holiday knowing your pool water will remain clean. They are also cost-effective to run and will generally last about five years.
The capacity of a chlorinator is usually expressed in grams per hour. Some pool suppliers will express a unit’s capacity in terms of its liquid, granular or tablet chlorine equivalent. As a guide, liquid chlorine is about 12–15% chlorine, granular chlorine is about 65% chlorine and tablets can be up to 100% chlorine.
As a Landlord, it is vital to remain well-informed of the changes in smoke alarm legislation. Regular alarm maintenance can save a tenant’s life, and your own investment at the same time.
Smoke alarm maintenance is governed by both State and Federal legislation and any person who does not comply with the relevant legislation is guilty of an offence. Landlords who fail to take every practical step to ensure the safety of their tenants can face a multitude of unpleasant and unwanted consequences that, with the right guidance, can be easily avoided. As a Property Manager, you as Landlords have entrusted us with an investment, which is a sizeable responsibility to shoulder.
We aim to ease the burden in ensuring that your properties are compliant.
The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 mandates all owners / landlords to regularly check the smoke alarms in their properties commencing 1 July 2007. Under the legislation, landlords or their agents must test and clean each smoke alarm, test and replace low batteries, and ensure the smoke alarm has not expired. The legislation prohibits this requirement being transferred to the tenant and applies to all residential rental properties, even brand-new builds.
The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 was passed on 1 September 2016 and increases these requirements. The new legislation will be rolled out over a 10 year timeframe:
By 1 January 2017: All new residential properties or those renovated that require a development approval.
By 1 January 2022: All residential properties that are sold or leased.
By 1 January 2027: All other residential dwellings.
We will have a wealth of information for you in the coming year with regards to these changes. It is our aim to facilitate this transition as smoothly, cost-effectively and professionally as possible. We have already begun the contracting of a company we feel are ‘above the rest of the pack’, so to speak, and look forward to working with each Landlord over the next two years to ensure every property is compliant and fit to save lives!
If you are doing the big move in the coming new year, you might already be feeling the anxiety that comes with change. Not only is moving home physically draining, but the emotions associated with change can intensify the process.
To help reduce tension and ensure your move is as smooth as possible, we have put together some vital tips to get you started…
Begin recruiting well in advance
Nothing screams ‘friendship’ like watching your best friend shuffling along your front yard in 30-degree heat with your bedframe in balancing on his shoulders.
If you aren’t using professional removalists, gather your friends and family. If you are using removalists, make a booking ta least a month in advance and always check reviews first!
Moving house is the perfect time to clear out the unwanted or unneeded items – which for hoarders can be the ultimate challenge – so stay disciplined.
For each room, divide belongings into three piles – keep, maybe and lose – then concentrate your decision-making on your maybe pile. Be ruthless and stick to the rules for the entire home. (As a general guide, if you haven’t used it in the last six months it’s time to let it go.)
For items of value in the dump pile, perhaps a weekend garage sale or Gumtree advertising can turn your trash into cash. Alternatively, donate these items to charity.
Load up on all the moving essentials
We’re talking bubble wrap, boxes, tape, markers and packing blankets.
Label each box with room it’s from and a subtitle of the items (e.g. ‘Bedroom – toys.) Be sure to also mark boxes containing fragile items.
Newspaper is perfect for safely protecting wine glasses or candles, so start collecting papers a few weeks before the move.
You should also consider a logical order for packing your belongings – leaving your cleaning products until last, for instance, as cleaning your empty house will be towards the end of your list.
Disconnect & connect services
Notify all your utility providers of the dates you’ll be moving out to have services disconnected from your old home and connected at your new place. Don’t forget to connect electricity, internet, gas and water, and to redirect mail.
Update your details
Inform relevant institutions of your change of address. These can include: AEC, ATO, Medicare, Centrelink, car registration departments, pet registration, insurance provider, GP, Optometrist, Dentist, Vet, Bank, Mortgage provider, Super fund, employers, membership and loyalty programs and schools.
The right cover
Organise appropriate home and contents insurance to cover your belongings during and after the move. It can be useful to take photos of items before moving as a record of their condition.
Prepare a ‘first night box’
Pack everything you’ll need to be comfortable in your new home in a first night box. A change of clothes, bed linen, towels, toiletries, sleepwear, medications, some cookware and crockery are all must-haves. Maybe even add a bottle of bubbly to toast your successful move!
In recent months, we have had a number of tenants report disturbances in their home as a result of possums inhabiting their rooves. Living in Queensland, interaction with possums is largely unavoidable and is part of our day-to-day lives. The Common Brushtail, Common Ringtail and Mountain Brushtail possums are native to Australia and are a protected species.
It is important to appreciate the nature of our co-habitation with possums, whose natural habitat has been increasingly encroached upon with the rise in urbanization. As suburbia exponentially grows, these marsupials have no choice but to adapt to find new places to live and sources of food such as tree bark, leaves, shrubs, fruits and vegetables, flowers, fungi, and lichen.
We do understand, however, that living with possums in your ceiling or roof cavity, or your vegetable patch becoming a possums delectable dinner can be frustrating. Possums are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 which holds that possums must not be harmed in any way or kept without approval from DELWP. It is illegal to harass or interfere with possums. However, Common Brushtail possums living within buildings, municipal parks and municipal gardens may be controlled but not relocated more than 25 meters from where they are captured.
Below we have compiled a list of home remedies you can use to deter possums from residing in your roof cavity.
1. Clean the location
Removing unnecessarily litter including dead and dropped leaves and ensuring rubbish bins are kept away from the house can deter possums being attracted to your house.
2. Use mothballs
The smell of mothballs are unbearable to possums and are a cost-effective method of deterrence.
3. Cover the vents
Possums can enter your house through loose ventilators, gaps in roofing and chimneys. Blocking entry holes with rocks can be an effective method in blocking a possum’s entry.
4. Cut down long branches from trees
Make your home unfavorable for them by cutting all the branches and bushes that impede upon your house.
5. Use ammonia as a deterrent
Place ammonia strategically throughout your garden and outdoor areas as it smells horrible to possums.
6. Install a sprinkler in your yard
Install sprinklers in the places where you suspect that insects and possums will make their shelter.
7. Sprinkle spice around your house
Sprinkle some chili powder around your property as they cannot resist the strong odors. You can also make a paste of it and spread it. Quassia spray is also used for this purpose, mix 100 g chips to 2-liter water and heat it for one hour, also add one tablespoon of detergent and spray it. You can get Quassia chips from nurseries.
8. Use cat or dog hair
The hair of cats and dogs helps a lot in removing possums. Collect your pets hair after brushing them, put them in small bags and hang them around the suspected areas. The smell of their hairs is the best trick to fool possums into thinking that there could be a killer animal near the house.
Airbnb Australia has been quick to rebut a new report on how the short-term rental industry is unhinging the Australian housing market, the latest in a long list of them, calling it “deeply” flawed.
Airbnb Australia has been quick to rebut a new report on how the short-term rental industry is unhinging the Australian housing market, the latest in a long list of them, calling it “deeply” flawed.
As detailed in the Technological Disruption in Private Housing Markets: The Case of Airbnb by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), inner-city areas that rely on tourism are seeing a decline in rental properties.
In Sydney, these include the suburbs of Darlinghurst and Manly, with Airbnb-listed properties making up between 11.2 per cent and 14.8 per cent of the suburbs’ rental stock.
This is also being felt in Melbourne, including central Melbourne, Docklands, Southbank, Fitzroy and St Kilda, which account from between 8.6 per cent and 15.3 per cent of the suburbs’ rental stock.
In these suburbs, the trends of decreasing bond lodgement rates and increasing property vacancy indicate to AHURI that there is a likelihood of short-term letting properties removing long-term rental properties away from the market.
“The findings suggest that STL is contributing to the challenges already confronted by long-term renters in these local markets,” the report noted.
“While the city-wide affordability impact may be limited, those seeking long-term housing will face a market that is at best more complex and uncertain, and may also be moderately less affordable in some local areas.”
Besides the direct influence, the report stated that there is also an indirect influence on the property market being noticed, shaping “how we think about and deal with property” — the nature of fluid property and financial attitudes.
With properties bouncing between short-term lets and long-term rentals, the report noted that property owners using their houses for short-term letting can allow for these investors to find an alternative income opportunity, with some investors specifically changing their properties to accommodate short-term letting.
However, the report showed that there were others likely to return back to renting out the property in the long term due to the instability of letting out short-term as a long-term plan. But as the report noted, “this reinforces the conclusion that [short-term letting] is contributing to greater fluidity of property use, where the competing benefits of different monetisation strategies are regularly weighed up”.
This then, in turn, is changing how housing is culturally thought about, with the holidaying aspect of short-term let properties seriously being considered.
“While many hosts may not be earning significant incomes, hosting is nonetheless reshaping their perceptions of the value of their housing,” the report stated.
However, Airbnb has come out and denied the findings in the report, claiming that it was “deeply flawed” [and] “relies on unreliable data and an unrepresentative survey to make inaccurate claims”.
“As the researchers themselves identified but chose to ignore, Airbnb is simply not a primary factor in the housing market,” a spokesperson for Airbnb said in a statement provided to REB sister publication Smart Property Investment.
“The Airbnb community represents less than 1 per cent of the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets.
“Holding less than 1 per cent of the market responsible just isn’t credible, and more seriously distracts from the big causes, like the planning system, population growth and taxation.”
The statement continued, claiming that it was wrong and unfair “to malign the working and middle-class families who rely on home-sharing”.
“At a time when the cost of living is high, the report even casts aspersions on families wanting to [earn] extra income.
“The typical Airbnb host in Australia earns a modest $107 a week or $5,600 a year, which we know helps them make ends meet and pay the bills.”
Peter Koulizos, chairman of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia, did not disagree with the report’s initial findings, but he did disagree with the report on the basis that it does not pose any issue Australia-wide.
“In the city suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne and the beachside suburbs of Sydney, there obviously is an issue, but in 95 per cent of Australian suburbs and country towns and regional areas, there isn’t an issue,” Mr Koulizos told Smart Property Investment.
“There is no need for any sort of regulation.
“Where there is high demand for short-term lets, there may need to be some sort of restriction, but it’s all supply and demand. If lots of people want to holiday in Manly and then they’re going to look for Airbnb in Manly, they’re not going to look for Airbnb in Rooty Hills, are they?”
Using Technology to Find the Perfect Australian Home
House prices may be falling or flatlining in most Australian cities but analysts don’t predict this to be a long-term downturn. For buyers, it could be perfect time to find an investment. Whether you’re an Australian citizen looking for your first home, a landlord looking to extend your existing portfolio or a foreign national relocating, advances in technology within the housing sector can significantly aid the process of finding the perfect property.
Building a Shortlist
With thousands of properties available to view online, technology is allowing house buyers to cast the net wider than ever to find their ideal home. Not only can potential buyers search the latest properties on sale from the comfort of their home. They can research the local area and view photos of the street and property taken via satellite. It means buyers can be fully prepared and able to rule out properties without the need to physically visit them all.
For instance, if a house is located next to a busy road or a cemetery this information is immediately available via Google Maps or Google Earth. These apps will also give a real time idea of traffic levels and local amenities. These online tools are particularly useful for those looking to purchase an Australian property from oversees. It’s easier than ever to research and shortlist potential residential areas, including the all-important school catchments, without having to trawl to streets and make endless and expensive recce visits.
Viewing Properties Remotely
When it comes to viewing properties, online tools are making it even easier, again sometimes negating the need for buyers to physically attend the property. In fact, a growing percentage of properties are being purchased ‘sight unseen’ – a growing trend within the market driven by technological advances and especially relevant in the investment sector of the market. Virtual reality tours and sophisticated 360° photography can showcase a property like never before – with reports of significant increases in sales when utilizing this tech. Some agents are also offering live streaming of open houses to reach wider audiences.
Augmented reality apps could further allow potential buyers to plan where they would put their own furniture.
Making Life Easier for Agents Too
Technology is speeding up every part of the buying process. Not only can agents now use laser scanning to get instant and accurate dimensions to automatically create floorplans. Mortgage comparisons and online services are streamlining the mortgage application process. Something that previously could take weeks or months can often go through in a matter of days. Some agents are also using technology to provide 24-hour assistance to potential buyers. It’s predicted that interactive chat bots will be the next big trend in selling houses online.
Technology is permeating every area of modern life, often enhancing things for the better. None more so in the housing sector where it’s both simplifying processes and empowering people with the knowledge and tools to find their perfect property. It’s making life easier for buyers, sellers and agents to link up, communicate and ultimately speeding up the home buying procedure.
With the wet summer months approaching, it is highly likely that ants will find refuge somewhere in your home. We have compiled some tips to get rid of ants naturally.
House ants leave a chemical pheromone trail wherever they move. If you kill them, other ants will follow the trail and arrive in the same places. For this reason, it is necessary to kill the entire colony.
Homemade bait for house ants
Borax will kill house ants, and powdered sugar can be used to attract them. To make a homemade bait:
Thoroughly mix one part borax with 3 parts powdered sugar.
Fill tiny containers (such as bottle caps) with this mixture and place them where you suspect ants are entering your house.
If you see trails of ants, place small containers of the mixture directly in their path. This prevents most of them from traveling all around your house if they have easy access to this sugary concoction.
If you have pets or kids who might get into this powdery mixture, try this instead:
Mix one cup warm water with ½ cup sugar and 3 tablespoons borax.
Soak it up with cotton balls and place them in shallow dishes near ant trails.
It is important to resist the urge to kill all the ants you see. They will carry the bait back to the nest, unable to differentiate between the borax and sugar, and the borax particles will eventually kill the entire colony. The more bait carried back to the colony, the less ants you will have.
Other ways to get rid of ants naturally
Spray vinegar near baseboards, in any cracks, and on countertops where they may be walking. You can allow vinegar to dry on surfaces or wipe with a clean cloth – this eliminates their chemical trail and will deter some of the stragglers. Repeat several times a day.
Some ants like protein and grease. Mix a spoonful of peanut butter with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of borax. Using a plastic straw, tap the end into the mixture repeatedly until the straw is full of the mixture. Cut the straw into 3cm pieces and place them next to ant trails.
Put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place in areas ants are crawling around.
Sprinkle cinnamon (being careful not to get it on items that will stain) near entry points.
Some ants dislike baby powder. Sprinkle around perimeter of house or indoors where ants are entering your house.
Rub a little Vaseline near the areas they are entering the house.