The Best Type of House in Rain-Heavy Areas in Australia
The impact of heavy rains and its subsequent flooding can be devastating to human life and property. With climate change, flood disasters have now become common more than ever. This is why it is wise to factor in the location and the type of house when buying. But what if the location where your house is sitting in had been flooded in recent years?
It could turn out to be more expensive to relocate than to rebuild to make your home flood-proof. Australia has a recurring problem with flooding because people are still building in the path of floods and population growth continues unabated in low-lying floodplains.
Houses for flood-prone areas
Homeowners living in flood zone can either flood-proof their homes or build their properties high on stilts or stumps.
Many houses across Australia – from colonial homes to Queensland bungalows – are elevated off the ground. There are many practical reasons to build off the ground: to allow houses to be built on uneven or hilly ground and to counter flooding in flood-prone areas.
Houses on stilts were common until 1980s. Thereafter, there was a population boom that prompted for bigger houses. The stilts were removed to build below – additional bedrooms, new living areas, etc. At the same time, climate change happened and the rains seem not so heavy anymore.
Australians forgot that they live in a subtropical climate and that rains and monsoons are part of the landscape. They got used to living in dry conditions that they’d forgotten to build for wet conditions. Buildings, home and shops built close to the ground sprouted and more and more dwellings were being constructed on worst lands.
If you are building a house from scratch, it is worth considering a resilient house design. This requires resilient materials and construction. This type of house can still be occupied during a flood event, when utilities such as water, gas and electricity may be cut off. The house design is conceived to be self-sufficient in electricity, water and food. Food would be the responsibility of the occupants, obviously, but the house itself should be a passive solar design featuring potable water and bottled gas storage facilities.
Flood-proofing your house
If either elevating your home off the ground or building a flood-resilient house aren’t options you can consider at the moment, you can still do minor works to make your house flood-proof.
Dry flood-proofing: This involves installing floodgates to keep water out of your house. The base of doors and vents in brickwork will be sealed using these removable barriers.
Wet flood-proofing: This method requires allowing water in and out as easily as possible using tiled floors and water-resistant plaster boards. This would be helpful especially during massive floods where walls can be damaged by water buildup.
Buy the right electrical appliances: As much as possible pick electrical appliances that can easily be lifted to higher locations, or can be kept in high locations. For example, choosing a front-loading washing machine over a top-loader as the former can be installed on a shelf.
One major storm, or one major downpour, can easily cause damage to property. And in light of major floodings in Brisbane and other parts of Australia, building or re-building on wet conditions is worthy of a serious consideration.
It’s a grey area (or black or green) and the cause of mould is a commonly asked question when it comes to maintenance of a rental property.
Mould comes in all shapes, forms, and places in a house or unit, and it can be more wide spread depending on the season and where you are located in Queensland.
Mould in the home can usually be found in damp, dark or steamy areas, e.g. bathrooms or kitchens, cluttered storage areas, recently flooded or wet areas, and areas with poor ventilation.
Mould in a regular shower recess could result from a persistent leak or be a matter of domestic hygiene on the tenant’s part, whereas mould on the living room ceiling might indicate a structural problem or lack of ventilation, and therefore be a matter for the dwelling’s property manager or owner.
In the aftermath of severe weather events there’s ample opportunity for mould to take hold of water-damaged properties.
With winter here, hot showers become the norm so tenants are advised to ensure proper ventilation to prevent the mould from blooming.
What Should I Do If I Find Mould?
If mould occurs, it should be dealt with thoroughly before it becomes a bigger issue.
When mould spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Because there’s no hard and fast rule about mould, keeping an open mind about the source and cause should help lead to a satisfactory conclusion.
If need be, a mould specialist should be called to the property to ascertain the cause.
Although the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not make specific reference to mould, it does refer to the general standard of the property at the start and end of the tenancy, and how it should be maintained throughout the tenancy.
If mould is a problem at a rental property, all parties should be willing to communicate and find a mutually agreeable approach to deal with the issue in a timely manner.
For questions about your rental property, or tips, advice and other enquiries about property management, you can head over to our blog section or contact the Arrive team on 61 733 473 737.
New Smoke Alarm Legislation: What Does It Mean For You?
After many deaths and house fires the government has decided to put in place legislation to help home owners with early detection of fires in their house. The new legislation comes into play at three vital dates:
1st January 2017 all new houses and signifigantly renovated houses with building approvals after 1st January 2017 must comply.
1st January 2022 all sold houses and rental properties must comply
1st January 2027 all other domestic residence
Smoke alarms are required on each level of the house, in each bedroom and located in egress paths. The smoke alarms must be 240V photo electric and interconnected with all other smoke alarms. There is an exception with existing houses they can be battery operated as long as it is a photo electric smoke alarm with 10yr sealed lithium battery and still interlinked.
Are All Smoke Alarms the Same?
Glad you asked you asked, it’s the same as usual here you get what you pay for in most circumstances. The way we look at it is that you are buying a smoke alarm that you want to last 10years (max life of any detector) so it pays to get quality over price. We generally use Brooks smoke alarms as they have a long history in the market, quality manufacturing and support and are also widely used in Europe.
If you want to book one of our trained technicians to take a look at your alarms contact your specialist property management company in Brisbane at ARRIVE – firstname.lastname@example.org 1300 913 820.
Why Now Is The Best Time To Be A Renter In Brisbane
NOW is the best time to rent in Brisbane with the city fast becoming a renter’s paradise, according to the latest REA Group Property Demand Index.
While southern capitals saw record rental demand in March, Brisbane’s housing oversupply has seen it become a renter’s paradise with the number of tenants unable to keep up with the growth in homes available for rent.
(Image source: REA Group)
Among the freebies being thrown in by owners to sweeten the deal for potential tenants were one to four weeks worth of free rent in some properties with others offering things like free gym membership.
The Index named Queensland as “the country’s most concerning market” after buyer demand declined slightly over the month (-0.2 per cent for all dwellings) but there was “a larger drop in rental demand on realestate.com.au” (-1.7 per cent).
Somewhat surprisingly given the publicity surrounding the supply of units in the market, the rent index for houses saw a higher drop in Queensland (-1.8 per cent) than units (-1.5 per cent).
“Brisbane in particular is seeing high levels of development and dropping rental demand suggests that the market in Queensland will continue to take some time to absorb the supply,” the report said.
High levels of unit supply, particularly in Brisbane, was having a more negative impact on the market but there was some reason for investors to still hope, given developers had slowed down on the rollout of planned developments.
“On the positive side, the pipeline of new apartments in Brisbane remains low, which will give the market time to absorb current stock.”
Nerida Conisbee, REA Group Chief Economist said cooling measures pushed through by APRA and banks continuing to increase rates independently of the RBA had so far failed to stem skyrocketing prices in Sydney and Melbourne.
She said there was yet to be any impact on consumer demand for property on realestate.com.au.
“Borrowers are shrugging off rising interest rates and restrictions to lending, continuing to search for property on realestate.com.au,” she said.
“With the impacts from these measures likely to take some time to flow through, people can expect to see continued property price increases throughout April.
“On realestate.com.au we’ve seen a 25 per cent increase in demand year-on-year from consumers looking for property. Increasing demand in the market is driving record property prices.
“Concerns about affordability will continue to gather pace in 2017, with the record price growth in 2016 set to continue.”
All you need to know when renting your first property
After making the decision it’s time to move out of home, there are some important things that you need to know.
What do I need to apply for my first rental property?
So, you’ve never rented before. But don’t worry, everyone must start somewhere. There are a few things that you can do to make this step a little easier.
Property Managers have a duty to ensure that you can afford the rent and that the property is the right one for you.
You will be required to provide verification of income and photo ID, along with proof of address and most likely personal references and professional referees.
In most newcomer’s circumstances, you may need to ask Mum, Dad or a relative, to go guarantor or co-sign the lease.
Talk to the property manager should you have any queries or concerns.
What happens when my application is approved?
Congratulations, your application is approved. There are several steps you will need to get through prior to being handed the keys. The first step will require you to sign documentation.
The Tenancy Agreement
Your Tenancy Agreement is an important document. It is a legal contract between you as the Tenant and the Lessor/Rental Agency.
By signing the lease agreement, you are legally committing to what is stated on the agreement, including any special terms which should be agreed to in advance.
Make sure you read and understand the agreement before signing and always keep a copy of it in a safe place.
The Bond Lodgement
In most states a rental bond is a compulsory requirement by the Lessor/Agent at the commencement of a tenancy agreement.
Your rental bond is lodged with the legislative Authorities and acts as security for the landlord or owner in case you don’t meet the terms of your lease agreement.
At the end of your agreement the bond amount will be refunded, however, if the property needs cleaning or repairs or if items need to be replaced the landlord or owner may claim some or all the bond.
The amount of the bond is specified in the Tenancy Agreement document.
What documents should I receive before moving in?
The documentation required to be given to you at the time of sign-up differs slightly from state to state, however, in most cases, the following should apply;
Information booklet relating to renting in your state or territory:
Copy of the General Tenancy Agreement
Copy of the bond lodgement form
Original and copies of the condition report – to be checked, completed and signed, then returned to the office in the required time frame
Receipt for initial rent amount, lease fees and bond
Photocopy of all keys and remote controls (if any)
Emergency contact details
What is an Entry Condition Report?
The Entry Condition Report is provided to the ingoing resident/lease holders at the beginning of their tenancy start date. This report outlines the condition of the property at the beginning of your Tenancy.
It is important that you carefully check the condition report and make sure it includes all existing damage or issues with the property. We suggest taking photos of the property before your move in and provide a copy of these photos to your agent / landlord as record of the properties original condition.
Legislation allows tenants a certain amount of days to check the details completed by the agent/owner on the condition report, to confirm or disagree with those details.
As the condition report, can be used as evidence if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacement of missing items at the end of the agreement –make sure you go through it thoroughly.
Make sure both you and the landlord/Agent agree on the contents of the condition report before signing it.
How do I prepare for a Routine Inspection?
Your landlord or real estate agent may carry out a periodic inspection of the property to ensure it is being well cared for and any routine repairs are made. This inspection may include the following:
The property is being maintained in a clean and tidy condition.
The grounds are being maintained in a clean and tidy condition.
The property is not being damaged in any way.
There are no more than the number of people specified on the tenancy agreement living at the property.
No pets are housed at the property, unless otherwise agreed to.
Any maintenance issues identified can be attended to.
There are minimum notice requirements to be given to a tenant prior to a scheduled routine. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to have a good tidy up beforehand.
Rental properties are considered water efficient if certain water fixtures meet the standards listed below.
The requirement for taps applies only to internal cold water taps that are installed over a hand basin, kitchen sink or laundry trough (including single mixer taps). The requirement does not apply to other taps in the property such as bath tub taps, outside taps for the garden, or taps which supply washing machines or dishwashers. These taps are not required to be water efficient.
Property managers/owners should be able to demonstrate the presence of water efficient fittings with a water compliance certificate, plumbers report or receipts.
Rentvesting: The Secret to Getting into the Property Market
A long-term renter and happy about it. Have you discovered the secret investing back door – Rentvesting?
There’s nothing more frustrating than to build a dream of owning your own home, get excited when you find a property you fell in love with, only to have your finance specialist utter those heartbreaking words – ‘You can’t afford it!’
Many are left feeling deflated and resigned to renting for the rest of their lives.
However, many others determined to get into the property market are not accepting no for an answer and have discovered a so-called secret back-door to getting into the property market.
It’s called Rentvesting.
Rentvesting is a scenario whereby you remain renting your place of residence and purchase an investment property instead.
Whilst this is not necessarily a solution for everyone, depending on your circumstances, this could be just the ticket you need to get into the property market sooner.
I’m not going to go through all the pros and cons of rentvesting in this article. You can find plenty of articles on this topic if you deem it one worthy of further research. You might also like to add some of your favourite Pro’s or Con’s in the comment below – I welcome your input and experiences. My intention is to introduce this concept to those who desperately want to own their home and have been turned away due to lack of finance affordability. In some cases, by literally a bee’s whisker! If you’re at a loss as to how you could ever own your own home, this could be the answer.
The Advantages of Rentvesting
Let’s look at a few reasons this could be for you…
It could get you into the market sooner. Maybe you have a decent deposit saved up yet, your finance specialist has said you still can’t afford your dream home. By re-jigging the numbers, you could remain renting and purchase a lower priced property receiving healthy rent. This could make all the difference to go from a decline to a bright green approval.
Live where you want to, in the nicest suburbs. Ok, so maybe the dream home is a bit out of your reach for now. Maybe you need to live close to the City for work and travel reasons. This enables you to be figuratively ‘living beyond your means’ without the price-tag. Still try to keep the costs down, you don’t want to over-commit yourself.
Live and purchase in two different States. Depending on your life-style choices, you might need to live in one State for work purposes but want to buy in another State, maybe because that’s where your family are and where you want to end up in the future or vice versa. Purchase prices and rents are vastly different in each State and in different regions. This can enable you to map out the perfect plan for your current and future situations.
Chase the higher rental yields. When buying an investment property many will tell you to buy without emotion and look at the numbers – you may never ever live there. If you’re happy living in the right suburb whilst renting, now you’re not limited to where you might buy as an investor. Your property expert will be more than excited to show you where the best rental returns are happening on their stock lists. By achieving top rental income, this could push your affordability over the line and start you on your journey as a property owner.
Property investors receive tax benefits. Now that you’re an investor, you are eligible for tax benefits such as depreciation, deductible interest, investment property expense deductions on your tax return. Make sure you engage an excellent accountant (if you haven’t already) so they can set you up to maximise your benefits – the difference can be thousands of dollars each year.
If you’re renting a flat or if you’re part of a house share, you might need a contents insurance policy to protect your belongings.
Protecting Your Belongings
Getting the right cover for your contents while you live in somebody else’s property is easy with most insurance companies. They help protect your belongings from loss or damage caused by insured events such as fire, theft and storm. Generally, you are protected against damage and loss caused by:
Fire and Theft
Storm, Lightening, water from leaking pipes
Accidental breakage of glass
And most standard policy benefits include new for old replacement, legal liability cover and credit cards – cover for loss or theft.
With many policies priced from as little as $1 a day, can you afford not to be covered??
10 Tips on How to Secure a Rental Property in the Busiest Time of the Year
Why is it in Qld, that most rental properties seem to come on the market in January and February?
Well, unfortunately it’s a fact, and this causes some stress for most prospective tenants looking for somewhere to rent.
So we have put together some handy hints and tools to give you to make your life a little more stressless during what can already be a harrowing time.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Even in the slow time, you need to know how if a property represents value, but when they are flying out the door during the busiest times of the year, then you need to know the market. Research similar properties and their rents so you become familiar with your target market.
SIGN UP TO INTERNET PORTALS
By signing into the major internet portals, you can be alerted on new properties for rent when they come onto the market. This put you in front of the rest of the bunch who might be looking at similar properties.
REGISTER FOR THE INSPECTION
So many prospective tenants just take a chance and turn up to an advertised inspection, only to find that the Agent does not turn up or the property has been rented. Save yourself some time and trouble by registering online for the inspection. This way you will be notified by sms or email if a property is no longer available
ASK QUESTIONS UP FRONT
If you need to qualify a point or ask a question about the property, ask prior to getting to the inspection. Pets are usually the number 1 deal breaker, so best to get the answer right up front.
DO A DRIVE BY
Photos can be sometimes a little misleading. I recommend always doing a drive by of the property in the first instance prior to registering for an inspection. Can save a lot of heartache.
With so much tenants vying for rental property during the busy months, you need to be organised. If you think the property is for you, either apply online prior to the inspection remembering to include ALL of your required documents, so that the Agency has your application upfront.
PRESENT WELL AT THE PROPERTY INSPECTION
Believe it or not, but your first Rental Reference begins at the Property Inspection. Leasing consultants are usually asked to give an opinion of the prospective tenant applying for the property when an application is received. Present yourself in the best light.
Again, with a whole bunch of applications on the Property Managers desk, sometimes it can easily become a numbers game. By maintaining communication with the Property Manager, can often put you in top of mind awareness.
OFFER THE BEST TERMS
When you are up against other applicants, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the Lessor. If there are two applications presented to the Lessor for approval and you cannot set them apart excepting maybe lease terms, the usually the Lessor will go with the one who offers the longer lease terms.
SECURE THE PROPERTY QUICKLY
Once approved, ensure that you sign the lease early and pay the required amounts due. Until money is received and or a Lease is signed, the property is still available for rent.