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Winter is prime-time for property maintenance. The cooler wet weather and winds can bring rise to property maintenance issues which may have gone un-noticed during the warmer months.
For the sake of tenant safety, and also financial savings, it is better to focus on repair prevention rather than cure. Following are the key areas prospective landlords, current landlords and tenants alike should consider assessing around their property as maintenance season looms.
1. Clear blocked gutters and drains
Blocked gutters and downpipes can lead to roof and gutter damage, flooding around the exterior of a home, and in severe cases damage to the interior of a home or its foundations.
We recommend landlords have their gutters cleaned of leaves, twigs and other organic build-up regularly, while tenants should raise with their property manager or landlord any concerns they have around the effectiveness of gutters and drainage to prevent any damage to the property.
2. Inspect and treat signs of mould
As cooler whether begins to set in, ventilation around key areas of the home tends to suffer. Tenants may become less likely to open a window during or after a shower for example, and windows in bedrooms may become wet with condensation leading to the onset of mould on curtains or blinds.
As well as appearing unsightly, mould can become a serious health problem if unaddressed. Landlords should ensure wherever possible that adequate ventilation is available, such as considering the installation of extractor fans in bathrooms if not already present. Tenants should pay close attention to walls and curtains to inspect for signs of mould, and ensure natural ventilation whenever possible. Contact your property manager should you become concerned about mould which you believe is difficult to manage.
3. Trim tree branches
Tree branches overhanging a home could pose a danger to both tenants and the property if they fall during a strong wind.
While it is a tenant's responsibility to maintain trimming of any shrubs or bushes that grow during the tenancy at the property, more established trees posing a threat to the property should not be dealt with by a tenant. Instances such as this should be raised with your property manager for further investigation and/or action from a qualified (and insured) arborist or tree surgeon.
4. Check for signs of roof leakage
Loose or cracked roof tiles, or other damage to the roof of a property can result in leaking and water damage inside the roof cavity, ceilings and other parts of the home. Such damage can very quickly turn from a minor into a major issue if left untreated, especially as driving rains and wind can accelerate the damage caused.
As a landlord or tenant, if you have any concerns about the integrity of your roof, such as appearance of damp areas on a ceiling, or evidence of damaged roofing or eaves, this should be raised with your property manager as soon as noticed to have the matter professionally investigated and repaired as required.
5. Check and repair fences
On some properties, the increased rain in winter months can lead to prolonged periods of damp ground. Over time this can cause decay of some fence footings and panels. We recommend in the lead-up to winter that landlords and tenants review the integrity of their fences and contact their property manager if there are any concerns, allowing further investigation and maintenance or repair work to be completed as necessary.
Prepare yourself further by reading our tips on how to prepare a rental home for a storm.
We provide expert investment property management in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. If you found this article helpful or enjoyable, please subscribe or share it with someone else who may benefit.
Carnelian Property Management Newcastle NSW
We are a family-owned and run Newcastle real estate agent offering expert property management across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
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