In our current climate, you will be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been touched, or doesn’t know someone who has, by mental illness. It affects people of all ages, demographics, genders, nationalities and cultures. It has no barriers and is a silent killer. We live in a world of amazing modern medicine that can cure us of some of the most fatal physical diseases, however, the true killer that has bared its fangs is the one that comes from within. In a world of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter (the list could go on…) it is becoming easier and easier to start feeling a bit buried under in the pressures of ‘self-promotion’.
Unfortunately, as a society we are still trying to overcome the stigma around mental illness. Some may find it hard to express the way they are feeling because it is sometimes seen as a sign of weakness or is discredited as not ‘a real illness’.
If you are one of the lucky ones who has avoided a mental illness, sometimes it can be hard to empathize with someone who is really struggling. It is vitally important to never discredit the way someone is feeling because it is a feeling you might not have felt yourself. RU OK Day, this Thursday 13th of September, is the perfect day to check in with your mates, your family, your son, your daughter, your dad or your mum, your neighbour, your colleague or the guy you sit next to on the bus to work.
If you have noticed someone around you becoming more irritable, more withdrawn or is less interested in the things they used to love, maybe it is time you had a conversation that could change a life and ask ‘are you okay?’.
At Arrive, we have been wondering about how we can help. Ruokay.org.au has some great resources if you are struggling or if you are planning on asking a friend if they are okay which we have listed below…
Getting Ready to Ask…
The first step is to ask yourself: Am I ready?
Am I in a good headspace?
Am I willing to genuinely listen?
Can I give as much time as needed?
The second step: Am I prepared?
Do I understand that if I ask how someone’s going, the answer could be: “No, I’m not”?
Do I understand that you can’t ‘fix’ someone’s problems?
Do I accept that they might not be ready to talk? Or they might not want to talk to me?
The third step: Have I picked my moment?
Have I chosen somewhere relatively private and comfy?
Have I figured out a time that will be good for them to chat?
Have I made sure I have enough time to chat properly?
How to Ask
If you feel the aforementioned criteria have been met, you can now:
1. Ask R U OK?
Be relaxed, friendly and concerned in your approach.
Help them open up by asking questions like “How are you going?” or “What’s been happening?”
Mention specific things that have made you concerned for them, like “You seem less chatty than usual. How are you going?”
2. Listen Without Judgement
Take what they say seriously and don’t interrupt or rush the conversation.
Don’t judge their experiences or reactions but acknowledge that things seem tough for them.
If they need time to think, sit patiently with the silence.
Encourage them to explain: “How are you feeling about that?” or “How long have you felt that way?”
Show that you’ve listened by repeating back what you’ve heard (in your own words) and ask if you have understood them properly.
3. Encourage Action
Ask: “What have you done in the past to manage similar situations?”
Ask: “How would you like me to support you?”
Ask: “What’s something you can do for yourself right now? Something that’s enjoyable or relaxing?”
You could say: “When I was going through a difficult time, I tried this… You might find it useful too.”
If they’ve been feeling really down for more than 2 weeks, encourage them to see a health professional. You could say, “It might be useful to link in with someone who can support you. I’m happy to assist you to find the right person to talk to.”
Be positive about the role of professionals in getting through tough times.
4. Check In
Pop a reminder in your diary to call them in a couple of weeks. If they’re really struggling, follow up with them sooner.
You could say: “I’ve been thinking of you and wanted to know how you’ve been going since we last chatted.”
Ask if they’ve found a better way to manage the situation. If they haven’t done anything, don’t judge them.
They might just need someone to listen to them for the moment.
Stay in touch and be there for them. Genuine care and concern can make a real difference.
Worried Someone Is Suicidal?
Contact Lifeline for crisis support. If life is in danger, call 000
For more information about this great cause, visit ruok.org.au.
Are you able to pass on the full cost of water consumption to your tenant?
The simplest way is to have a qualified plumber attend the property to inspect and issue a Water Efficiency Certificate. The Master Plumbers Association of QLD has developed a specific Water Efficiency Certificate QLD and it’s the responsibility of the Landlord or Real Estate Agent to contact a plumber, requesting a water compliance certificate QLD to be issued for the rental property.
What are the minimum requirements for water charging?
Landlords can pass on the full water consumption charges, including bulk water delivery, providing the following criteria are met:
the rental property is individually metered,
the rental property is certified, water efficient; and
the tenancy agreement states that the tenant must pay the water consumption costs.
What does a Water Compliance Certificate QLD cover?
The Queensland Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Regulations 2000, state that the following key conditions are required to attain a Water Efficiency Certificate, QLD:
The rental premises must be individually metered or bulk water be delivered by a vehicle.
All internal cold water taps, except those serving a bath, are to deliver a maximum of 9 litres of water, per minute.
Shower heads are to have a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute.
Toilets are to be dual flush, with the maximum flush volume of the full flush to be 6.5 litres, and the maximum for the half flush being 3.5 litres and a maximum average flush volume of 4 litres (based on the average of 1 full flush and 4 half flushes).
Important note for water charges for tenants in QLD
As the Landlord, you will still receive the water bill and pay the full amount then provide your tenants with a copy of any water bills or evidence of water consumption to verify the amount to be charged. Tenants will not be billed directly by water supply authorities.
Note: Tenants have one month to pay the agreed amount for water consumption after the lessor provides evidence of the costs to the tenant. The lessor/agent can not require the tenant to pay more than the billable amount, or charge tenants late fees.
To obtain a Water compliance Certificate for your property, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For a small investment of $88 (plus parts if required), your property could become water compliant, allowing you to oncharge water to your Tenant.
Did you know that we can help businesses reduce their energy costs and environmental footprint by providing financial solutions for energy efficient equipment to suit a variety of business needs?
Finance options are available to assist with the purchase of energy efficient assets including:
Solar Storage and Standalone Technologies
Energy Efficient Solutions including Lighting
Hot Water including Hybrid Systems
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Assets can be installed in both owned and leased premises, with finance structured to maximise the cost savings to your business.
We are also seeing lenders deliver incentives designed to encourage the purchase of eligible vehicles that reduce emissions. The list is extensive and not just limited to hybrid or battery operated vehicles. Similarly, plant and equipment that reduces emissions by 20% could also be eligible.
Potential savings may be significant, so exploring these options with your broker as part of your purchase decision could well be worth your time.
Our brokers constantly monitor lender products and changes, including energy efficient finance. So the next time you need business finance tailor-made for you, give us a call and we’ll take you through all the options.
Victor Larder, Astute Financial
Astute Financial Management Pty Ltd | ABN 59 093 587 010 | Australian Credit Licence Number 364253. AIW Dealer Services Pty Ltd | ABN 59 153 322 420 | Australian Financial Services Licence Number 414256
When Possums Become a Problem in Residential Properties
Possums are iconic Australian fauna, along with kangaroos and koalas. There are 23 possum species in Australia, but there are two common species that you’d likely come across: the Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecular) and the Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus).
These marsupials are nocturnal, resting during the day and only going out to feed between dusk and dawn. They are agile like Spiderman, with the ability to climb walls and leap from tree to roof up to 4 metres away. It’s also not uncommon to see possums traipsing along power lines and perched on small branches.
They are mainly plant-eaters and are especially attracted to home gardens. Possums love fruits, vegetables and native tree species such as eucalyptus.
Possums are tree-dwellers and their natural habitats are rain forests, eucalypt forests and wooded garden areas and shrubs with thick vegetation close to a water source. But due to many factors such as the loss of habitat, human encroachment and urbanisation, it’s not uncommon for these cute furry animals to set up house in roofs, garages, sheds and chimneys. With their claws, they can easily wrench roof tiles and squeeze through tiny holes.
Possums In Your roof
Possums are wild but not aggressive. However, they can be a pest as they can eat their way through one’s garden and leave the roof and ceiling destroyed once they set up shelter in there.
You’d know that you have possums living with you when you when there is loud thumping on the roof or ceiling at night as they scamper to and fro, hissing or coughing sounds, and marks or an intense aroma of ammonia caused by their urine.
Possums and The Law
Possums abound in mainland Australia, Tasmania, and Kangaroo Island, despite the presence of feral animals, the occurrence of bush fires and other natural possum population controls.
In Tasmania, possum control is allowed by law in order to protect crops and promote the commercial trade of skin and meat. But in the rest of the country, there are strict laws that must be followed for relocating and trapping them.
Possums are protected wildlife for varied reasons, two of which are: (1) most possums that are moved will not survive the attacks from other animals and other possums before they can find a new territory; and (2) possums use scent to mark their territory; another possum would find out the vacant territory and would just take its place. It just becomes a vicious cycle.
So, if you find yourself with an annoying and destructive backyard or rooftop dweller, it’s best to find out about legislation specific to possum in your area.
What To Do If There Is A Possum In Your Roof
If you have a possum in your backyard and is not causing any trouble, leave it be. Take this opportunity to enjoy seeing a cute, furry animal up close and personal. But not too close as possums are still wild creatures after all.
But if your furry buddy needs to be evicted, here is what you can do: trim trees so it’s not anywhere near the roofline. This would prevent possums from accessing the roof from the tree. Also, hire a roofer to check if there are tiny holes where possums can squeeze themselves into. Close these holes, if there are any.
Here are other things you can do to deal with possums in your roof:
No Permit Required
Provide an alternative place for the possums in another part of your property by building a possum box that they can use as a shelter.
Remove access through the roof by closing entry points with the use of timber or chicken mesh. Do this when you’re sure the possum has left. Deter re-invasion by destroying scent marks using bleach.
Let possums leave the roof space but not return by installing a one-way door, which can be made of metal or Perspex, with a hinged top.
Capture and remove the possum from the roof space using a possum trap. The permit can be obtained from your local Department for Environment and Heritage office. You can get traps from a wildlife rescue service or pest control company.
If you catch a possum, you have to release it within 24 hours and you must do it at dusk. Possums must also not be moved more than 50 metres away from where it was caught.
Hire A Possum Removal Service
If you can’t carry out the eviction yourself, hire a professional possum trapper that is licensed by the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Whether it be to provide housing for your family, or as an investment to earn rental income, granny flats are growing in popularity.
If you are considering this as an option, there are two common ways to arrange the money you need: accessing the equity in your property or taking out a construction loan.
The simplest way to secure funds for your new granny flat is using equity in your current home. It’s relatively easy to arrange a home loan to build a granny flat if you have enough equity in your existing property and you have sufficient income to support the new loan.
Using a Construction Loan
If you don’t have enough equity in your property, another option is to take out a construction loan. Construction loans are usually approved based on the value of the existing property plus the value of the granny flat build contract.
Before you begin it’s important to check with your local council to make sure you are working within the right parameters and regulations, including the rules around using a granny flat as an investment.
As the cost of a granny flat could range from $50,000 to more than $250,000, your first step should be to arrange an obligation free consultation to go through your finance options.
-Victor Larder, Astute Financial
Astute Financial Management Pty Ltd | ABN 59 093 587 010 | Australian Credit Licence Number 364253. AIW Dealer Services Pty Ltd | ABN 59 153 322 420 | Australian Financial Services Licence Number 414256
Can I Do My Own Maintenance At My Investment Property?
Too many Landlords believe that they are saving money by attending to maintenance themselves, however, often the “quick fix” is not always the best solution nor outcome for both Tenant, Lessor and Agent.
Public Liability issues can come about if the repair is not performed correctly or worse, someone gets injured by the inexperienced repair.
In most cases now, it is against the law to carry out Electrical or Plumbing issues, unless you are a qualified contractor.
Utilising a managing agents list of preferred contractors, has many benefits.
Advantage of Letting Your Property Manager Handle Maintenance
In most cases their Contractors are:
Have completed a Contractors Agreement prior to attending your property, which indemnifies both you, the Lessor and us the Agent of any liability, in the event that a mistake is made
Many expert Property Managers have educated their contractors in;
how to present their time and labour onto an invoice
How to liaise with a Tenant to arrange easy access
Prepared to collect keys from the office if the tenant cannot be at home
Call the office is the suspected cost will be more than $150
Provide photos if issues if required
Recommend replacement over repairing if warranted
Will return to fix for free is the problem repaired reoccurs
Are the eyes and ears in so far as the state of the maintenance?
Report back to the office with anything untoward with the Tenancy.
For peace of mind and a small investment, it is recommended utilising qualified tradespeople to maintain your investment property and in most cases, these are a tax deduction.
Mould is fungi that can be found everywhere in nature, both indoors and outdoors. You will generally see them where it is warm, moist and humid. But moulds are resilient. They can thrive even in dry conditions and other harsh environmental conditions that don’t normally support their growth.
Moulds reproduce by producing spores. When spread by winds and air currents, spores can easily enter the interior of a home. Currents are created in a home by such simple actions as using the vacuum cleaner, opening and closing the door, etc.
4 Common Mould Types Found in Homes
There are various types of moulds found indoors. Here are some of the common types:
Cladosporium: This genus of fungi is characterised by olive-green to brown or black colonies and appear as dark-pigmented conidia in simple or branching chains. You will find these in living and dead plant material. Cladosporium is plentiful in air as it is easily spread by wind. The indoors species can be found in surfaces that are constantly damp.
Penicillium: This genus of ascomycetous fungi is used as an important ingredient in the manufacture of food and pharmaceuticals. However, some species of this type of mould can also damage the machinery and the materials used to process them. It is present in the air as well as indoors such as residential properties and public buildings. Penicillium can grow indoors even if the level of humidity is low, provided there is enough moisture.
Alternaria: This genus of ascomycete fungi are major plant pathogens and are common allergens that causes hay fever and hypersensitivity reactions in humans. They are found everywhere – air, soil and water – even indoors and on objects. Alternaria has club-liked spores and grows in colonies that appear green, black or gray.
Aspergillus: This is a type of deuteromycetes fungi and is closely related to the Ascomycota fungi. They can grow on carbon-rich substances as well as in environments that are lacking in nutrients. A good example for the latter is niger, which can grow on wet walls, which can promote the growth of mildew. There are some species of this type that can cause major diseases in humans and animals.
How Mould Affects Health and Damage Properties
Mould attacks both the property and the health of the people living there.
Mould destroys surfaces where they grow as it is their nature to decompose matter. When construction materials such as wood are steadily exposed to moisture from outside, moisture will penetrate the interior walls, creating the right conditions for mould growth. Don’t let moulds linger because the longer it is left alone the more damage it causes.
A house with mould issues would be a lot harder to sell because of the stigma attached to mould. The home may be thought of as having a lower value. Potential buyers would hesitate to make an offer as the repair cost would be at the back of their mind.
In addition to property damage, mould poses health risks to humans, especially for those who have sensitivity to them. Some of the reactions that these people could experience due to exposure to mould include: nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, throat irritation, eye irritation, and even skin irritation. People with mould allergies can experience more extreme reactions.
Sick people with compromised immunity like those suffering from lung diseases or infections are advised to keep away from areas that may have mould such as cut grass, wooded areas and compost piles.
Preventing Mould Infestation in Your Home
Being proactive is the key to preventing mould infestation. Here are some ways you can control mould inside your home:
Control humidity levels
Fix leaky roof, windows and pipes immediately
If you’re home becomes flooded, clean and dry the affected areas thoroughly
Ventilate the shower, laundry and cooking areas
If you suspect that you have a mould issue, don’t delay in addressing it. Don’t commit the mistake a lot of people make: thinking that only obvious moulds are the problem or that moulds only grow in wet or humid climates.
Getting Rid of Mould Infestation
Mould is a nuisance and a danger. It can ruin not only the appearance, but also the very foundation of your home if left unchecked.
But before attempting to clean up mould, be aware that you may be putting your health at risk.
Mould spores cannot be totally eradicated. But you can use a natural mould spray to at least reduce the volume of spores floating in the air.
To avoid exposure from moulds in the air, use an N95 particulate respirator, also called TC-21C particulate respirator. Also, wear rubber gloves, eye protection and clothes that can easily be laundered or discarded afterward.
Cleaning Up Your Mould Problem at Home
Here are some tips to help you clean up your mould problem at home:
Repair all water leaks immediately and make sure all items are totally dry.
Use detergent and water to scrub mould from hard surfaces. Dry completely.
Carpets and other absorbent items should be disposed if they have mould as it is impossible to completely rid these materials of mould.
Mouldy surfaces must not be painted or caulked. The surfaces must be cleaned of mould and dried before painting them. Paint on mouldy surfaces is not likely to last.
If you’re not confident of cleaning mould off an item or surface, consider calling in the specialists. It’s easy to search online for specialists on furniture repair and restoration, carpet cleaning, art restoration and conservation, plumbing repair, and so on.
Make sure to hire the right specialist by asking for and checking their references. Go for specialists who are connected with professional associations.
State Government Taxes Putting Pressure on Property Affordability in Queensland
Queensland residential real estate affordability is under threat as the Government’s stamp duty cash grab increased by $273 million from FY2016 to FY2017, ABS data for the financial year 2017 has revealed.
Queensland State Government coffers have received a plumped up injection of $3.278 billion in stamp duty on conveyances in FY2017, compared with $3.005 billion in FY2016.
This increase means more than 25 per cent of the total taxation revenue in Queensland is coming from stamp duty on conveyances. When land tax and other taxes on property are added to the equation, more than 38 per cent of the total taxation revenue comes from property-related taxes or the equivalent to about $5 billion in FY2017.
Stamp duty on conveyances revenue contribution has increased from 17 per cent in FY 2013 to 25 per cent to June 30, 2017.
Stamp duty on conveyances is the second-largest contributor to the Queensland coffers behind payroll tax, which delivered a hefty $3.695 billion last financial year.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the State Government was taking too much from the property sector.
“We have good affordability in our residential market and great affordability in our commercial market, but rising stamp duty costs are threatening that affordability,” she said.
“In residential real estate, hefty stamp duty costs serve to stifle housing mobility. Upgraders and downsizers put off the next move because of the onerous stamp duty they will have to pay when they move,” Ms Mercorella said.
“An upgrader moving from a $500,000 home to a $750,000 home would be forced to pay an estimated $20,000 in stamp duty, on top of the cost of their new home, along with various costs associated with buying and selling property,” she said.
“The reality is simply that stamp duty is threatening our affordability,” she said. “The REIQ has long advocated for the abolition of stamp duty. It does the property sector no favours and the State Government is now in danger of killing off the golden goose,” she said.
The Henry Tax Review found that stamp duty was an inefficient tax that led to housing problems.
The full abolition of stamp duty would serve to increase housing affordability for all Queenslanders and result in a dramatic boost to property transactions. It would also help unleash a flurry of economic activity that would have a positive kick-on effect not only in real estate, but throughout the Queensland economy.
Abolition of stamp duty will:
Allow new homeowners to put the subsequent savings towards paying off the cost of their new home;
Make purchasing a home more affordable for the average Queenslander; and
Provide greater flexibility and choice for aspiring home-owners.
It is nothing more than an inefficient and regressive tax that stymies economic activity in the real estate sector.
The system needs to be reformed and a modern property tax process needs to be introduced.
The March quarter vacancy rate data reveals generally improving rental markets across Queensland, according to REIQ’s Q1 2018 Vacancy Rate report, released today.
Regional Queensland, in particular, has delivered good results in the wake of a two or three bleak years.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the regional vacancies improvements this quarter followed, broadly speaking, similar small improvements in 2017 Q4, and that these small but steady improvements were the hallmarks of Queensland real estate.
“Some of our markets, such as the Gold and Sunshine coasts, remain uncomfortably tight and we would like to see more investors enter those markets, however APRA’s tightened lending criteria is not encouraging investors to consider property. The result is tight markets remain tight, despite good opportunities for landlords in those markets,” she said.
Greater Brisbane’s vacancy rates eased by 0.1 per cent to 2.7 per cent, which remains a healthy market.
Looking more closely at this region, Brisbane LGA also eased 0.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent, which indicates a healthy market for a second consecutive quarter.
Zooming in closer, the inner ring (0-5km radius) tightened and returned from the weak range to a healthy 3.5 per cent. This is good news for this market as it reflects good rental options for tenants, and good opportunity for landlords to secure good tenants.
The middle ring (5-20km) eased slightly, moving from the tight to the healthy range and recording a vacancy rate of 2.8 per cent.
“It’s gratifying to see that all areas of the Brisbane rental market are operating in the healthy range and this start to impact speculation about oversupply,” Ms Mercorella said. “The data shows a very resilient market capable of absorbing the perceived oversupply.”
Ipswich tightened marginally, moving from 3.1 to 3.0 per cent, but has maintained its position as a healthy rental market.
“This area is really a growth corridor for Queensland and we’re seeing buyers and renters flocking to this part of the southeast corner. It’s great news that the rental market is maintaining its stability and healthy status,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Logan rental market eased 0.2 per cent to reach a still-tight 2 per cent vacancy rate. Historical trends put this market at around 2 per cent to 3 per cent, an indication that this market is operating business as usual.
Moreton Bay tightened by 0.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent. This market is generally a tight market and it is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions.
Redland eased 0.2 per cent but remained tight, with a March vacancy rate of 2.4 per cent.
The Gold Coast held steady at 1.1 per cent. This market was measured in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games and it will be interesting to see how the next two to three quarters shake out as visitors leave the region. Early next year, the Athletes Village will be redeveloped into a Health and Knowledge Precinct including mixed-use residential precincts with more than 1100 apartments.
“Our hope is that these units will find investor buyers and this could contribute to easing the tight rental conditions in this beautiful part of the world,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Sunshine Coast, overall, has a vacancy rate of 1 per cent. Caloundra, along with Gympie, has the tightest vacancy rate in Queensland, with just 0.5 per cent of properties vacant.
“The Sunshine Coast is very challenging for renters who are looking for accommodation and we have said consistently for quite some time that this market would benefit from additional investor activity. The upward pressure on rents, as a result of this tight vacancy rate, will serve to push this market towards unaffordable,” Ms Mercorella said.
Noosa is also very tight, at just 0.8 per cent.
“It’s no surprise that renters are flocking to this market – it’s such a stunning part of the world with employment opportunities – but additional supply into this market would be very beneficial,” Ms Mercorella said.
Fraser Coast, which is made up of Hervey Bay and Maryborough, is a tight market, although it has eased somewhat. Fraser Coast has moved from 1.6 per cent in December to 1.9 per cent in March. Hervey Bay is now 1.8 per cent – a tight market – and Maryborough is now 2.5 per cent, which is a healthy market.
Cairns has also eased from 1.6 per cent to 2.1 per cent, moving this popular destination closer to a healthy rental market.
We have seen some positive news this quarter in regional Queensland, with many markets improving either a small amount or a considerable amount.
Bundaberg has moved from 1.7 per cent to 3.4 per cent. This is quite a jump, but there’s likely to be a seasonal factor at work here with the transfer season impacting vacancies as people move in and leave for employment factors. Bundaberg remains a healthy rental market.
In continued good news for Gladstone, this market has fallen for a third consecutive quarter. Essentially this market has improved significantly since March 2016 when the vacancy rate was 11.3 per cent.
“We are seeing some stabilisation of the market in this area, with the rental market delivering some cautiously improving. It’s been a long time coming and we’ll continue to wait and see with this region,” Ms Mercorella said.
Mackay is another good news story, with significant improvements from December 2016, when vacancies were 7.9 per cent.
“To see this market at 3.6 per cent, which although it is technically just outside the healthy range, it is still in reasonably good shape and this is very encouraging. It has been consistently improving over the past couple of years and we have much to be optimistic about,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Rockhampton vacancy rate has been somewhat volatile in the recent years, however, we are starting to see some consistent downward trends emerge. The fourth consecutive quarterly fall has resulted in the lowest vacancy rate since September 2014, of 4.1 per cent.
Toowoomba has tightened to its lowest vacancy rate since September 2016. With just 2.3 per cent vacancies, this market is in the tight range.
Townsville has tightened again and this is now the lowest rate it’s been since 2013. This is a continued good news story for this market which represents some of the best buying opportunities in Queensland at the moment. The vacancy rate is 3.8 per cent and while that is just outside the healthy range (healthy is 2.5 – 3.5 per cent) it is a vast improvement on the highest rate of 7.1 per cent in September 2016.