New guidelines may remove ‘slumlords’ from the market

For most investors, keeping their rental property in good, presentable order, so yield can be maximized, is just a given.

By Jade Young

20-03-2018 |
For most investors, keeping their rental property in good, presentable order, so yield can be maximized, is just a given.

However, not all landlords see value in improving their asset, let alone maintaining it to a minimum standard, and this is where many disputes arise.

As a result, a debate is now taking place about whether a set of minimum standards should be legislated that will protect tenants from dangers like unsafe balconies, properties that do not offer adequate fire safety, security and the like.

Other problems under consideration are things like leaky roofs and rising damp that accelerate the breeding of mould, which is possibly the most common source of tenancy complaints owing to its capacity to affect health.

Some states already have such legislation whereas others are still considering. Across the Tasman in New Zealand for instance, rental properties must now be checked for contamination from methamphetamine before they can be rented. Landlords breach their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act if their property fails to comply, and rectification can costs tens of thousands.

At First National Real Estate, our property managers are attuned to the areas of risk that your property may present to tenants and this is why they will sometimes ask you to rectify or replace items that have the potential to cause harm.

Even something as simple as a cracked or uneven floor tile has the potential to result in claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. While that might seem impossible, a tenant who slips and falls may injure a knee and be unable to work for months, require operations, and possibly even intensive physiotherapy.

At the end of the day, maintaining your property and improving it in accord with the advice of your property manager is in everyone’s best interests. Approving maintenance requests in a timely fashion fosters good tenant relations and this in turn leads to fewer overall demands.

As always, regular condition reports and vigilance are key to safety, compliance with local legislation, and maximum returns.