A Summer Checklist For Landlords

Mark Taylor , Principal/Licensee in Charge | 19 December 2018

With everyone on holidays from late December, there’s a lot of preparation required to get your investment property summer-ready. Here’s a checklist for landlords heading into the summer break.

The lead-up to Christmas can be a busy time for investment properties. With tradespeople, tenants, landlords and property managers all on holidays, a lot of preparation is required to make sure everything goes smoothly over the shutdown period. We’ve put together a checklist for landlords on what you need to take care of before Christmas, so everyone can enjoy a stress-free summer break.

Swimming Pool Compliance 

Summer holidays mean many afternoons spent in the water, especially for tenants who have a pool in their property. But with this extra swimming comes a greater potential for risk, especially when you add lots of visiting family and friends to the mix. Pool regulations exist for this reason, so make sure you’ve taken care of all of your obligations before the Christmas shutdown. 

Pools in strata buildings generally come under the responsibility of the owners’ corporation, but the responsibility for pools in standalone houses and some townhouses falls to the landlord. When you first get a new tenant in to your property, you must provide a copy of your pool’s certificate of compliance or occupation certificate. You also need to register your pool online with the NSW Government’s Swimming Pool register. 

Apart from these initial obligations, you also need to make sure the pool continues to meet safety requirements. Perhaps the most important of these is around fencing; pool owners in NSW must make sure there’s a “child-resistant safety barrier” between the pool and any residential building. And it’s not just the design and building process that must comply with Australian standards – the rules also extend to the fence’s maintenance, so ensure you or your property manager regularly check in to see if there’s any damage that needs to be handled urgently. 

According to NSW regulations, you also need to make sure to display CPR signage at your pool, as well as taking care with cleaning systems and water pumps. Check out the Fair Trading website for information. 

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarm compliance is important year-round, but the summer break is a good time to make sure everything is in working order, especially with all the impending barbecues, Christmas candles and family feasts. 

If the smoke alarm in your investment property has a replaceable battery, NSW legislation requires you to put a new battery in the smoke alarm at the start of a new tenancy, but after that, it becomes the tenant’s responsibility. When the alarm is hard-wired, it’s again up to you to replace the battery as needed.

A good property manager will be across your obligations and regular smoke alarm checks, but it’s worth taking the time to check in with them before the office closes for Christmas. It’s a breach of regulations for the alarm to be removed or changed without a good reason, so now’s also a good time for your property manager to make sure the tenant hasn’t done anything to breach the regulation. 

Window And Door Locks 

As a landlord, you have an obligation to provide reasonable security in your property, but the meaning of “reasonable” can vary in NSW, depending on the home’s location. That said, new strata laws that came into effect in March 2018 now set a minimum standard across the state for window locks. In line with these new laws, openable windows in strata scheme properties must have a device that locks the window opening at less than 12.5cm. This applies to windows that are two metres above ground and within 1.7 metres inside, such as those in many Eastern Suburbs properties. 

Even if you met your obligations at the beginning of the tenancy, it’s possible for new maintenance issues to make you non-compliant. Get your property manager to check in with your tenant on the state of all window and door locks, so you can get new ones installed well before the city’s locksmiths clock off for the year.    

Urgent Repairs And Maintenance 

While sudden repairs are sometimes unpredictable, it’s often possible to spot signs of wear and tear that might lead to a bigger issue down the track. It’s one of the key reasons we prioritise good communication at Taylors – if we can help identify issues in the early stages, we can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Take this opportunity to check in with your tenants on any potential issues or minor areas of repair so you can prioritise anything that should be dealt with before Christmas. 

Enjoy Your Christmas Break! 

With everything taken care of in advance, you’ll be able to enjoy your Christmas break with peace of mind. 

From the entire team at Taylors, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

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