New Year Annual Property Maintenance Checklist For our Owners
There are many hidden dangers in and around our homes or rental properties. Some may be natural, man-made, or due to wear and tear. Detailed property maintenance keeps the area clean and removes potential health hazards.
Keep reading to get a checklist for your property maintenance.
CLEAN THE YARD AND SURROUNDING AREAS
The first thing is to clear the yard of any debris or fallen objects, especially after storm season. Prune any tree in the area and cut overgrown or leaning branches. Such branches may fall and injure someone. Other tips for caring for the trees include watering, fertilizing, and mulching.
INSPECT THE ROOF AREA AND FIX ANY ISSUES
One of the most neglected areas in different homes is the roof. Some people wait until there’s a problem before checking the roof area. Inspect the area to ensure there won’t be leaks soon. Unblock the rainwater gutters. If there is a water heater on the roof, inspect it for damage. Clear debris from solar heaters to keep them effective.
LOOK FOR FAULTS OR CRACKS IN THE HOME
Faults or cracks in the home can cause further damage to property if not regularly checked. As such, look for faults or cracks in the home. Check for damp spots on floors and walls and mold appearing on walls, ceilings and inside cupboards. Mold is considered a health hazard and must be removed effectively and promptly.
FIX THE LIGHT FIXTURES
Go around the home and find any light fixtures with problems. They could be flickering, dimmer than other areas, or not working. Get a technician to check the wiring. Having working lights will prevent injuries. If someone suffers and injury because of poor lighting, it can open you up to a lawsuit.
BE WARY OF LEAD AND ASBESTOS
Ensure there are no signs of lead or asbestos in the area. If painted walls have lead falling on the ground, make sure to clean the area. Lead poisoning can affect mental development.
On the other hand, asbestos causes lung disease and cancer. Inspect the area for asbestos. Get professionals to remove it if the insulation is peeling.
Inspect, and possibly change out home vacuum filters. Many experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that’s not always necessary. For smaller families without pets or allergies, you’ll likely be okay changing the filters every 2-3 months. If the filter is dirty, change it out, otherwise inspect it again next month.
Clean kitchen sink disposal. There are a number of ways to do this, but the handiest and best all-around solution seems to be vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. It freshens it, but as a bonus, ice sharpens the blades. You’re welcome.
Clean range hood filters. If you’ve never thought of doing this, you’re in for a real “treat” when you get that filter off the hood to clean it for the first time. Simply use hot soapy water, let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to go.
Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). We’ll assume you have and know how to use an extinguisher. This inspection doesn’t require much: ensure it has easy access (not being blocked by a garbage can or anything else), that the gauge shows adequate pressure, and that it has no visible signs of wear and tear.
Pool cleaning and maintenance. Pools can be costly if not cared for properly. Please ensure cleaning is done regularly and water tests are conducted to ensure the PH levels are correct. Stay on top of your pool checks to enjoy your pool year round!
Test smoke detectors. Another simple task; your detectors should have a “test” button. If the alarm sounds, you’re good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still doesn’t sound, it’s possible there’s simply corrosion on the battery terminal, and it won’t detect new batteries. Please contact our office immediately.
Test garage door auto-reverse feature. Test every month by placing a 2×4 on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse after a second or so when the door hits the wood. Also test the photo-electric sensors if you have them by placing something in front of them (not your body). If the door doesn’t immediately go back up, you have a problem.
Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces. This mostly applies to guest bathrooms, or any other sinks/water sources you don’t use on a regular basis. The idea is to prevent grime or any other kind of build up. Regularly running a little bit of water through will prevent this.
Give your house a deep clean. Take one Saturday every six months with your whole family, and give the whole house a proper deep clean. Appliances, windows, dusting every nook and cranny etc. Keeping things clean and not letting dirt/grime/dust build up over years and years will help keep your home in tip-top shape.
Vacuum your refrigerator coils. The fridge can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power, so you want it running as efficiently as possible. Over time, the coils get dirty and your fridge requires more juice. You can save up to $100 a year by doing this, and it’s not at all a difficult task.
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.