The sub-tropical winters in Brisbane are mild and balmy compared to winters in other parts of the globe. We do have agreeable temperatures during the daytime and above freezing temperatures at night. However, the winters here can still wreak havoc on your Brisbane property, whether a rental investment or your own home.
Heavy rainstorms and wind combined with indoor heating and poor ventilation can quickly cause your rental properties to deteriorate and succumb to damages like mould growth and leaky roofs. Your insurance company may question any claims you file if you fail to properly prepare your rentals for winter weather. Rather than take on such a risk, you can follow these tips to winterize (to utilise a US term!) your rental properties and protect your rental income.
Tree Maintenance – Critical to Brisbane Property
When it comes to properly maintaining a rental property Brisbane owners almost always find it helpful to trim and prune trees. If you have large trees growing on your Brisbane property, you should cut away limbs that are rotting or those that could break and fall on top of the house. Fallen trees are commonplace in storms at any time of year and can cause considerable risk to life and limb – and particularly inconvenient damage to property. The full-grown height of a tree is the distance away from the house that it should be planted. Any closer and the owner should seriously consider removing the tree, not least of all because the roots will be getting under the house foundations and interacting with plumbing. Tree roots and plumbing are not a good mix!
You also should prune trees that have grown over the home’s guttering or stretch onto the roof. The overgrowth could break and fall into the guttering, causing expensive damage like leaks or holes. The overgrown limbs likewise will shed leaves onto the roof and into the gutters and cause water to back up into the home if the leaves aren’t routinely removed.
Roofing Inspection and Repairs
Along with pruning tree limbs away from the rooftop, you should also inspect (or engage someone to inspect) your rental homes’ rooftops each year for signs of damage. Some of the damages that you should look for when examining the roofs include:
- Broken or missing tiles
- Loose tiles
- Cracks near chimneys, vents and skylights
- Damaged joins on tin roofing
- Blocked or rusted flashings, ridges and valleys
Any of these damages could cause moisture to get into the house or compromise the structural integrity of the home. Rodents such as snakes (including large ones), rats, possums (their toilet habits are horrendous) and lice-carrying birds can also get in and make a home in the roof space. Well before winter starts, you should look for these examples of disrepair and fix them before the winter grows colder. If there’s anything more annoying than having to do emergency maintenance on a rental property in Brisbane, or anywhere you own one, it’s having to attend to an emergency that was entirely preventable in the first place by sensible maintenance.
Gutter Maintenance and Repairs
After you fix your roof, you should then look to the guttering on your rental home. Many people dislike cleaning out the gutters. However, as loathsome a chore as it may be, it is still a vital part of keeping a house in good repair in winter and in summer.
You should sweep out leaves and other debris from the gutter so that it properly carries water away from the house. You should also inspect the gutters’ down-pipes for leaking or misalignment. Check to see if the down-pipes are dented, cracked, or full of holes, and replace them immediately if so. This ensures that the gutters work properly during the windy and wet weeks of Brisbane winter. Backed up down-pipes, filled gutters with no place for water to escape inevitably causes leaks INSIDE the house, which is much more difficult to deal with.
Exterior Inspection and Maintenance
The outside of your Brisbane property should also get plenty of attention when you want to prepare it for the upcoming winter weather. Your examination of your house should include looking for chips, cracks, and other damages in the cladding, window sills, and door frames.
This disrepair could allow rain and wind to get into the home. You should replace damaged cladding and caulk or reseal window sills and door framing to prepare the house for the winter.
You should also examine any outdoor fixtures like pergolas, patios, fences, and handrails. These fixtures should be sturdy enough to withstand heavy rainstorms and wind. If you notice warping, loose railing, missing fence posts, or other damages, you would be best off to make the needed repairs before the winter arrives.
One of the greatest risks that comes with failing to winterize your rental properties involves the potential for mould growth. Mould can take root in your homes anytime of the year. However, the conditions can be particularly ideal for this dangerous fungus during the wintertime.
Once mould starts growing in a home, it can put the tenants’ health in jeopardy. It is known to cause respiratory distresses like asthma and allergies. It can also trigger rashes in people who come into contact with it.
During the winter, people tend to close off their homes in a bid to keep their houses warmer. These warm, closed-off conditions compromise the ventilation that is needed to keep mould growth at bay, however.
Without proper ventilation, humidity and moisture caused by activities like cooking, showering, or using indoor heaters cannot escape. This retained moisture leads to conditions that are ideal for mould growth.
You can discourage the growth of mould by installing exhaust fans where possible. It is also worth encouraging tenants to leave a window opened just a small amount. This is to encourage proper ventilation in the home. Ideally the window should be opened anytime an indoor heater is being used or when the occupants are cooking or showering.
Good practice is to also remember to wipe down and dry off the bathroom’s walls, shower stall, shower curtain, and bathtub every day to discourage mould from taking root in the home. This reminder, along with keeping the home’s curtains, blinds, and doors open regularly throughout the day to let in natural sunlight, helps keep mould at bay and allows the inside of the home to remain safer and more sanitary during the winter months.
Take Preventative Measures Now
Despite Brisbane’s winters being relatively mild, they still can invite havoc into your rental properties if you fail to take preventative measures now. These winterizing tips can help you keep your homes in good, tenantable condition, keep your tenants safe, healthy and happy and allow you to protect and maximise the income that you gain from leasing out your properties. At Position One Property we take all of this into account when managing a Brisbane property for a landlord client. The condition and maintenance of the property is of utmost importance to both owner and tenant, and is something we take very seriously in the course of carrying out our property agent duties.
You can rest assured that we have your very best interests at heart when we take care of you as our client. Whether one of our owner clients, or resident clients, we are well versed with your rights and responsibilities and sensitive to your needs and wishes. Please contact us at the Office on 07 3843 4511. We will be only too happy to discuss your requirements further.