Do You Have a Safety Switch in Your Rental Property?

Landlord Alert:

Queensland legislation states that owners of domestic rental accommodation must install a safety switch in a rental property if one is not already fitted.

 

This is so occupants of every property are protected from electric shock.  If your rental property does not have a safety switch installed you must immediately arrange installation by a licensed electrician.

At Position One, our property managers are experienced and well trained to help you understand what your obligations are under the appropriate laws.  Whether pool safety, smoke detectors , blind cords or with regard to electrical safety in your rental property.

Do you know if you have an electrical safetyswitch (also known as a Residual Current Device or RCD) in your Brisbane Rental property?

If you are not sure whether you do, or not, you will find the following facts we have compiled quite useful.

Penalties Apply for Non-Compliance with Legislation

The legislation is enforceable for all owners of rental properties in Queensland.  At least one electrical safety switch is to be installed in a property.  If none is installed you may get fines of up to $1,500.  When a non-compliance with the electrical safety legislation is noted, the penalties include a fine.  There will also be a notice to comply with the safety regulations.  In order to comply with the legislation, the device must be installed promptly by a licensed electrical contractor.

Safety of Tenants is Paramount

The purpose of the electrical safety regulations is to make sure that everyone is protected from electric shock.  This is no matter whether you live in a rental property or you own home. Queensland law now requires the installation of an electrical safety switch in all properties.  Even an older property must have a safety switch installed at the time of signing a lease agreement.

If you do not believe a safety switch is installed in your rental property, then you should certainly discuss with your Position One property manager.  Because we understand the legislation and the requirements for compliance with the safety regulations, our property managers are trained to recognise an electrical safety switch.  Furthermore, our property managers understand the importance of complying with the safety regulations, and can advise property owners of their obligations and to make sure that the rental property is compliant as a matter of urgency.

How Does a Safety Switch Work?

An electrical safety switch, or Residual Current Device (RCD), acts as a guard against electrical shock.  When it senses the potential for any electrical leakage, it instantly shuts down the electrical circuit.  This is different from a circuit breaker which only shuts off after an overload.  A safety switch not only protects the owners of a property, but also the tenants, visitors, and tradesmen who need to do maintenance and repairs at a property.

RCD or SS Identification

To identify whether you have a safety switch installed at your property, you need to look inside the electrical switchboard.  An electrical safety switch looks just like a circuit breaker but should be labelled differently from the other circuit breakers.  The labels are interchangeable, but should be something along the lines of “safety switch”, “Residual current device”, or maybe “Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker”.  These descriptions are often shortened to “SS”, “RCD” or “ELCB” respectively.  The important takeaway message here is if you are unsure, discuss it with your property manager.  Additionally, you may have an electrician check that a safety switch is installed, and operational.

Safety Switch qld

I Found One – Is That Enough?

Even if the rental property has a RCD installed in the switchboard, doubt can exist whether it has been installed correctly.  One device does not confirm whether the whole property is properly protected.  Typically, a safety switch is installed on a power circuit within the home.  If the property has multiple power circuits, then each of those power circuits should be protected with a safety switch.

This protection must extend to separate circuits for all functions.  This includes air conditioning, hot water, swimming pool, and even the lighting circuits.  This ensures the property is fully protected.

It Doesn’t Cost Much to Comply

In fact, it costs a lot less to comply with safety regulations than to be at fault of a disaster.

Safety switches cost in the order of $200 to install.  This is entirely affordable.  But could have a huge impact on protecting the occupants of a rental property.  The best time and easiest time to consider installing a safety switch?  When you are having other electrical work done. For a little extra cost, a qualified electrician can install a safety switch whilst doing other work at a property.

What if You Are a Tenant?

At Position One, our property managers are trained in the importance of having a safety switch in every rental property.  We encourage our tenants to be aware of the location or lack of a safety switch, and to contact the property manager if there are any concerns about safety. Our Position One property managers will act immediately in conjunction with landlords to ensure all our rental properties comply with electrical safety standards.

Call us for advice or assistance 07 3843 4511

Save

Own a Rental Property With a Pool? What to Know.

What happens if you have a rental property with a pool?

In case you are uncertain or unaware of the swimming pool laws in Queensland, there have been relatively recent changes.  And there is no longer any excuse for not taking action to make pools safe.  Whether property owner with or tenant in a rental property with a pool, there are clear guidelines now in place.  The laws go so far as to include the property manager in the chain of responsibility.  So at Position One, we take our property management Brisbane (and surrounds) responsibilities very seriously.  When it comes to looking after a rental property with a pool, we are particularly vigilant.

What do the regulations say about a rental property with a pool?

  1. Pool owners of a rental property with a pool

The Queensland pool safety regulations state that all pool owners must construct and maintain a compliant fence around their swimming pool.  The regulations came into effect on 1st December 2010.  They require property owners with pools to have a pool safety certificate before the property can be leased or sold.  This is regardless of when the pool was built.

  1. Property buyer of a property with a pool

If the seller of a property with a pool does not provide a current pool safety certificate, the new owner is required to obtain a pool safety certificate with 90 days of the settlement of the property purchase.  This is important if the new buyer intends to rent or lease the property, as this represents a change of residency, and must be accompanied by a valid pool safety certificate.

  1. Tenants in a rental property with a pool

The important thing for a tenant to understand is this.  The regulations make no excuse for a pool safety certificate to be provided before signing a lease for a property with a pool.  At the time of change over of residency, a valid pool safety certificate is required from the property owner. Furthermore, a copy of the pool certificate should be provided to the tenant, prior to signing a tenancy contract.  This means that the tenant should be fully protected by a current safety certificate at all times, and should not be in any doubt as to the validity of the pool safety certificate.

  1. Property managers of a rental property with a pool

Here at Position One, we educate our property managers with the latest regulations concerning a property with a pool so that we can assist both property owners and tenants to understand their respective rights on this tricky subject.  With the correct information, we know that both parties to a rental agreement with a pool should understand their rights, and have the correct knowledge of the regulations prior to signing a lease agreement.

What about pool maintenance?

This is a similar issue with a rental property with a pool.  As we all know, there are things to do to keep a swimming pool in top condition.  This means someone needs to be responsible for the maintenance of a swimming pool in a rental property.  The responsibility for pool maintenance needs to be clearly understood prior to signing a tenancy agreement.  Again, this is where we at Position One can assist both the property owner and the tenant to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.  Sometimes a landlord will provide pool maintenance in the agreement, but only if this is fully documented in the contract.

Daily pool maintenance

Nevertheless, we all know that swimming pools require maintenance on a daily basis.  So there is going to be a need for the person actually residing in the property to look after that part.  It is impractical to have someone visit a rental property with a pool on a daily basis to conduct routine maintenance.  This would generally not be an attractive proposition for the landlord or the tenant.

So who is responsible for a swimming pool in a rental property?

Rental Property with a Pool

As we have discussed – the answer is everybody from the pool owner, the tenant, as well as the property manager, to make sure all the required regulations have been met.

Another example is the ongoing pool safety.  For example, a pool safety gate must be maintained in a serviceable working order, and must not be wedged open, even if there are no children resident at the property.

If you are a tenant of a property with a pool, there is an obligation to report any safety issues with the pool safety system.  When a problem is identified, the property manager should be notified straight away, who is then responsible for notifying the pool owner.  The pool owner is responsible for maintaining the pool safety certificate, which may require an inspector to assess the pool fence for compliance.

Maintain the No-climb zone

An important feature of the pool safety fence is the no climb zone.  This means young children should not be able to get a toe or hand hold on any object adjacent to a pool fence.  It is the responsibility of the pool owner as well as the tenant to make sure that outdoor furniture, barbeques, pot plants or any other garden or patio items do not encroach too close or compromise the no climb zone around a pool fence.

Another potential issue is the maintenance of gardens around the pool fence.  At the time of obtaining a pool safety certificate, the pool inspector would have checked all surrounding gardens and trees.  They do this to ensure that all safety requirements were met in accordance with the regulations.  Over time, there is a requirement to maintain gardens and adjacent trees.  This is to ensure that the pool safety fence is not compromised.

What else to look out for in a rental property with a pool?

You must have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your swimming pool. This is a part of the requirements of the pool safety certificate.

It is for the safety of the pool user to have a correct and visible guide for how to provide life saving assistance in the event of a pool accident.   What happens in case the CPR sign near the pool is missing or faded?  This is another reason to notify the property manager.  Position One Property managers in Brisbane fully understand the responsibility to look after a rental property with a pool.

Pool Safety Inspector

The guidelines for maintaining a rental property with a pool are also quite strict on who can perform work on a pool safety fence.  This should only be done by or under the guidance of a licensed pool safety inspector.  Do not try to do the work yourself.  If you see an unlicensed repairman or contractor attempting to repair the pool safety fence, you have two options.  You are within your rights to refer the work to a pool safety inspector.  Alternatively, you can report to the property manager who understands the obligations of conducting maintenance to a pool safety fence.

Summary – Pool Safety Laws

If your rental property has a pool, there are several rules and regulations that apply to everyone involved in the lease.

The property owner is ultimately responsible for providing a compliant pool safety fence.  They are responsible for providing evidence of the safety certificate with the rental agreement.

The property manager is obliged to ensure that a rental property with a pool is compliant with the regulations.  They must ensure that the landlord and the tenant are aware of the regulations.

The tenant is obliged to ensure that the pool safety fence is in good working order.  They must notify the property manager of any deficiencies.

The bottom line is? Everyone has a responsibility to make sure that children are the first consideration when it comes to pool safety.

Are in any doubt about the currency of a particular rental property with a pool?  You can check the pool safety register to see if a pool safety certificate is current.

 

For further reading, the full regulation is available here:  Guidelines for pool owners and property agents (PDF, 2.3MB).

Save

Blind Cords and Curtain Pulls – SAFETY ALERT

Blind CordsRecent changes in the safety requirements for homes have spread the responsibility for home safety to everyone involved.  Whether you own your home, you’re a landlord or a tenant, some responsibility falls to you.  There are now equal responsibilities to ensure that internal window coverings involving curtain and blind cords are safe for children.  Even if you manufacture or install curtains and blinds in a property, the regulations are the same.  The regulations are there to prevent children from being harmed or even killed by an accident involving blinds or curtains with loose cords.

What is the danger of blind cords?

Are you are aware of the danger of loose blind cords?  There have been a significant number of fatal accidents involving loose blind cords in Australia.  The numbers are magnified when you look around the world.  These needless but tragic accidents can be avoided by the removal or securing of loose blind cords.  Whether they be from blinds, curtains, tiebacks, chains, or any other type of looping material, they should be addressed.

The issue is that these cords are not always secured, or not easy to secure, and this poses a problem when a child is near.  When a child can access a loose cord, then there is potential for a loop to get stuck around their neck.  That can happen in the cot, if it is next to a window, or on the floor if the cord reaches all the way down.  It’s even a problem if the child can access the cord when climbing on a chair, a sofa or a bed.

What should we look out for?

The issue is not just within the child’s room or nursery, but every cord in the home is a potential threat to a playing or inquisitive child.  The danger with window blinds and curtains is that we tend to draw the blinds on a daily basis, but we don’t always remember to secure the loop that falls down.  When the blind is fully deployed, there is often no loop to worry about, so the tendency is to forget about the loop when we pull the blind up.  The simple fact is, there needs to be provision made for the safety of children at all times, and not just when the blind is drawn.

How to prevent the hazard.

There are several ways in which a cord can be made safe.  Most of these can be drawn directly from the safety standards for blind and curtain cords.  The manufacturer is also required to provide safety advice, so this should also be followed during installation of curtains and blinds.

This is what the regulations require – as per the “Competition and Consumer (Corded Internal Window Coverings) Safety Standard 2014”:

  • The must be no loose cord that can form a loop 220 mm or longer at less than 1600 mm above the floor
  • No part of the cord guide may be installed lower than 1600 mm above the floor under it can withstand a tension force of 70 Newton for 10 seconds
  • The cord shall be fastened to prevent the formation of a loop 220 mm or longer
  • A cleat used to secure the cord must be higher than 1600 mm above the floor
  • Follow the installation instructions
  • The warning label shall be installed with the corded internal window covering – do not remove warning labels!
  • This is to be used as a guide, the complete safety standard is available at the address below.

Loose blind and curtain cords can kill.  Keep them out of reach of children.

This is a recommendation that is pertinent to everyone, whether it be to protect our own children, our grandchildren, or even those of visiting guests.    But the message is that we all need to check our internal window coverings for loose cords, chains, or fasteners and cleats that are not properly attached.  This includes both landlords as well as tenants of rental properties in Queensland.  Please check your obligations as follows:

  1. Parents – check your blinds and curtain cords

  • Check for loose cords at floor level.  Look for those between the floor and the danger zone of 1600 mm above the floor
  • Identify loops in the dangling cords – secure them or remove them
  • Ensure that children are not able to use nearby furniture to reach cords
  • Secure the window cords so that there are no loops. (This is done with a secure cord tensioner attached to the wall, or by separating the cord so there is no loop.)
  • Comply with the National Safety Standards
  • Select internal window coverings that do not use cords
  • This is useful information for anyone, in any property, even on holidays.
  1. Landlords – please be aware of your obligations for curtain and blind cords

  • Always install internal window coverings in accordance with manufacturers installation instructions
  • Ensure that cleats fasten above the 1600 mm height regulation
  • Ensure that all fasteners can withstand 70 Newtons of tension load for 10 seconds
  • If in doubt – use a reputable installer or manufacturers agent for installation
  • Do not remove warning labels from cords
  1. Tenants obligations

  • Keep children safe from loose cords from curtains and blinds
  • Do not children play with loose cords
  • Move furniture away from the potential to reach window cords
  • Always supervise children around windows with blind cords.

Reference information:

For more information about National Safety Standards, bans, recalls and emerging issues, refer to this website: www.productsafety.gov.au

In addition to blind cord safety, there are other areas of responsibility to be aware of.  Fire safety by way of functioning smoke alarms and pool fence compliance are two other areas to note.

If you would like further information on any of these factors, please don’t hesitate to call Position One Property on 07 3843 4511.

Save

Smoke Alarms in Rental Properties – What You Need to Know

Smoke alarms in rental properties are serious business.  Indeed, smoke alarms in any properties are serious business!  Smoke alarms save lives.

Read our introductory guide here and bookmark the links we’ve provided for you.  Knowing your responsibilities, and what actions you can take with regards to smoke alarms, is everyone’s business.

Smoke Alarms in Rental Properties

There are responsibilities, no matter whether you are a landlord or a tenant.  It pays to keep up to date with the latest changes in the smoke alarm legislation for Queensland rental properties.

Firstly, it is important to know that there has been a recent change in Queensland smoke alarm laws.

From 1st Jan 2017 there have been changes introduced into the Queensland legislation for smoke alarms in rental properties.

Are you an owner of a Queensland rental property?  If so, it is important to know about the changes to the landlord responsibility for smoke alarms.  It is important to understand the new requirements for the installation and maintenance for smoke alarms in both old and new rental properties.  You must ensure you comply with the rules for landlord responsibility for smoke alarms.

But for tenants of Queensland rental properties, there are responsibilities also.  It is important to understand the smoke alarm legislation in Qld rental properties.  You must be able to identify whether you are safely covered in your rental property.

Why the change?

Ever since Australia’s worst ever house fire, back in 2011, it was identified that better legislation was needed to speed up the change to the latest technology smoke alarms in all Queensland properties.  It was determined that, in particular, the rental sector of the property market needed to be regulated.

What is the latest technology in smoke alarms?

The change in legislation calls for the introduction and installation of Photo-electric smoke alarms in all domestic properties.  It also specifies where to place the alarms in buildings.  In addition, the legislation requires all of the smoke alarms be hard wired and interconnected with one another.  This ensures that if one alarm triggers, then all alarms will go off so that the household is fully alerted.

General Information about photoelectric smoke alarms in rental properties

Photoelectric smoke alarms, also known as optical or photo-optical, and are different from the old fashioned ionisation smoke alarms.  This is because the new technology can actually detect visible particles of smoke.

The benefit?  The photo electric smoke alarms are better at detecting real smoke and fires.  Photoelectric smoke alarm design means they respond to smouldering fires.  and the type of smoke from household furnishings and particularly from electrical wiring that may have ignited.

The best advantages of photo electric smoke alarms is that they can detect smoke from smouldering fires, before they necessarily become a raging inferno.  This is important for generating the earliest alarm, which allows for an early escape and evacuation.

Photoelectric is the way to go for smoke alarms in rental properties

Photo electric smoke alarms are better for avoiding false alarms from kitchen smoke and bathroom steam.  That makes them more suitable for domestic applications.  A plus is they do not contain any radioactive materials like the old fashioned smoke alarms do.  You’ll agree that is better for the environment.

It has been proven that people are generally better protected from fire when better quality smoke alarms are fitted.  This is why photoelectric is the way to go for smoke alarms in rental properties.

Where should photo electric smoke alarms in rental properties be located?

If you are a landlord concerned about the landlord responsibility for smoke alarms, then the following is a guide to the safest and most practical positioning for smoke alarms in a property.

If you are a tenant, then the following information may be useful in making sure that the smoke alarms in your rental property comply with the smoke alarm legislation qld rental properties.

First and foremost, place smoke alarms on the ceiling wherever practical.

This can become complicated when there are sloping ceilings, ceilings with exposed beams, or narrow stairways, etc.  Every house is different, so try not to jump to conclusion with regard to layouts and location of smoke alarms.

As a general rule, place smoke alarms away from sheltered corners, away from between ceiling beams, and away from dead spaces.  These dead spaces may trap air and stop smoke from being detected.

Conversely, smoke alarms should not be placed too close to windows, doors, fans or air conditioners that may remove the smoke, which avoids detection.  This generally means keeping smoke alarms approximately 400 mm from fans, vents, openings, lights, and corners.

The biggest hint is to avoid kitchen and bathroom locations where accidental alarms can be annoying and cause people to ignore a smoke alarm.

When do you have to change?

There are several triggers for changing over to the latest technology photo-electric smoke alarms, but they are required to be installed over a 10-year period.

  • New buildings or substantial renovations will need to comply with the new smoke alarm legislation as of the 1st of January 2017.
  • Properties that are leased or sold after the 1st of January 2022 will need to meet the legislation whenever a new rental agreement is entered or when the property is sold.
  • Private properties will need to comply with the new smoke alarm legislation by the 1st of January 2027.
  • Any smoke alarms that are no longer working or have to be replaced at any stage will need to be replaced with a new photoelectric smoke alarm.

Landlord Responsibility for Amoke Alarms in 2017

PLEASE NOTE : This list is a guide only.  Please refer to the legislation for full details.

If you are a landlord in any doubt whatsoever about landlord responsibility for smoke alarms under the new smoke alarm legislation in Queensland, then it is vital that you consult with the information provided by QFES at the following location:

https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/sold-leased-properties.aspx

Here is a brief description of the changes as they apply to properties that are sold, or newly leased or have an existing lease renewed from 1st Jan 2017

  • Smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old must be replaced with photo electric smoke alarms in accordance with the Australian Standards
  • Smoke alarms that do not work must be replaced with photo electric smoke alarms in accordance with the Australian Standards
  • Hardwired Smoke alarms that need to be replaced, must be replaced with hardwired photo electric smoke alarms in accordance with the Australian Standards
  • It is highly recommended that all ionisation smoke alarms be replaced as soon as possible, should be hardwired, and / or powered by a 10 year battery which cannot be removed from the smoke alarm
  • All smoke alarms should be interconnected, to ensure that all occupants of a property are alerted to smoke and fire
  • For the best protection, smoke alarms are required to be located in every bedroom, in hallways or other connecting room between bedrooms and escape route, on at least every level or storey of the property.

Note the following changes as required under the legislation as of 1st Jan 2022 (in five years time from now)

  • All properties being sold or leased require to have hard wired, interconnected photo-electric smoke alarms installed in Queensland
  • The new legislation will require the a new photo electric smoke alarm be located in each and every bedroom
  • In addition, the new legislation will require the a new photo electric smoke alarm be located on each level or storey in the property
  • Furthermore, the new legislation will require the a new photo electric smoke alarm be located in each and every connecting hallway, room and direct path to an exit

Don’t feel as though it is only landlords and tenants being affected by the new legislation.  New properties, and those undergoing renovation, must also comply as of the date of construction.  By st Jan 2027, all properties in Queensland will be required to be fitted with photo electric, interconnected smoke alarms.

Landlord responsibility for smoke alarms – Final Tips

It is important to know that smoke alarms must comply with the Standard AS 3786-2014.

Never paint over Smoke alarms, as this compromises the workings of the device.

Choose Hardwired 240v photo electric smoke alarms.

A hardwired smoke alarm connects to the household 240v power supply.  In addition, ensure that it has a 10 year battery installed.  This has to be a battery which cannot simply be removed to stop nuisance beeping when the battery runs out.

As described above, take the following action at the commencement of all new leases.  Install the the latest technology photo electric smoke alarms in all Queensland rental properties.

Take the time to carefully read the manufacturer instructions.  If in any doubt, engage a qualified electrician to install the devices for you.

 

Information For Tenants

Smoke alarms in rental properties – what you need to know

Do you understand the latest technology smoke alarm systems?  When you go to sleep, you depend on the smoke alarms in the building to detect smoke.  You need them to quickly sound and to wake you up in time to safely evacuate.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are designed to see even the slightest amount of smoke and are required to be interconnected to one another, so that if one smoke alarm senses smoke in one room, all of the smoke alarms will trigger, so that all residents will be alerted to the problem.

The new Queensland legislation for smoke alarms in rental properties is not only important for landlords, but for tenants also.  It is important to understand that it is not only the type of smoke alarm, but also the locations that these are required to be in, the type of battery that you should have installed, (or hardwired to the household electricity supply) and that the smoke alarms are all interconnected.

This information is nice to know.  It also pays to be informed about the latest technology in fire protection and what to look out for when you inspect or sign up a new lease for a rental property in Queensland.

If you require any further information about smoke alarms in rental properties, please contact QFES directly at SmokeAlarms@qfes.qld.gov.au

Tenant responsibility for smoke alarms testing

The recommendation is to perform a smoke alarm check once a month.  This is simply done by pressing the test button. You can use a long handled implement to reach up and press the test button.

Take the time to carefully read the manufacturer instructions.  Your life and the lives of your fellow household members are at stake.

If the smoke alarms are not operating properly, contact your Property Manager immediately.

Take home points for all:

  1. Australian Standard 1670.6

Install all new and upgraded photoelectric smoke alarms in Queensland properties. Locate new photoelectric smoke alarms in accordance with Australian Standard (AS) 1670.6 – 1997: Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation and commissioning – smoke alarms.

  1. Building Safety Regulations:

You can find further information for existing buildings within the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and for new building work within the Building Regulation 2006 (BR).

  1. For further information, please see:

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES)
For further information on the legislation:

https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/default.aspx

Email: SmokeAlarms@qfes.qld.gov.au

 

In Summary

You’re sure to agree with us that smoke alarms are crucially important for our safety and peace of mind.  Whilst we recommend you be familiar with the legislation, rest assured that we take these regulations very seriously indeed.  We take it upon ourselves to look out for the wellbeing of our owner and resident clients.  As part of our everyday routine, the Team at Position One Property keep abreast of legislation and regulations and can assist you with your enquiry should you need clarification. If you require assistance with smoke alarms in rental properties, please Contact Us on 07 3843 4511.

 

How Property Management Services Help You Avoid the Tribunal

Property Management ServicesIf the word ‘tribunal’ makes you break into a sweat, chances are you haven’t used property management services before. Unfortunately, matters between landlords and tenants can occasionally arise.  No matter how big or small, they can get out of hand when not dealt with correctly. There are many ins and outs pertaining to rights, responsibilities and duty of care in the property rentals area.  Therefore it’s critical to have an in-depth knowledge of the rules and stay well on top of issues, before they escalate.

To start at the beginning:

 

What is “The Tribunal”?

“The Tribunal” in the property rentals context is the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Basically, the Tribunal acts to assist with tenancy disputes.  This would occur after a Notice of unresolved dispute from the RTA (The Residential Tenancies Authority) has been issued. All tenants and lessors can apply to the Tribunal.  They would apply to the Tribunal to hear disputes ranging from urgent to non-urgent issues. An example of an urgent situation might be where a lessor is applying for a Warrant of Possession, because a tenant has not left the property by the notice date.

If you’re the person applying to the Tribunal to hear a dispute, you’re called the applicant.  The person responding to the claim is called the respondent. There are time limits in place in order to make a claim  These range from seven days to six months and you can apply on a QCAT Form 2 – Application for minor civil dispute – residential tenancy dispute. This should then be lodged at the QCAT registry in Brisbane, by person or post.

 

But Wait, There’s More…

Ready to find a good property management services Brisbane agent yet? We’re not surprised, especially when we dive deeper still. Even before the Tribunal is involved, tenancy disagreements are referred to the RTA. The Residential Tenancies Authority offer a dispute resolution service, by providing information on the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. They also assist in resolving disputes and arrange face to face or telephone meetings between both parties.

Only urgent situations are exempt from first contacting the RTA, and these include:

  • Termination orders
  • The expiry of a leave notice without tenant compliance
  • An order to restrain a person from causing damage or injury
  • Situations which may be classified as excessive hardship
  • Tenancy data base listings which don’t comply with the listing criteria

This RTA is a fantastic service that often achieves successful results. However, wouldn’t it be great to avoid the complicated process, all together?

 

Property Management Services as the First Line of Defense

As a first line of defense, Position One Property is there for you, with professional property management services in Brisbane. A wealth of experience enables us to put the appropriate steps in place, before such situations occur. This not only gives you peace of mind, but ensures the ongoing success of your tenancy agreements, so you can concentrate on profiting from your investment.

 

What are the Causes of Tenancy Disagreements?

Before we look at the solutions needed to avoid heading to the Tribunal, it’s important to understand the most common reasons for disputes between tenants and landlords. Often, the number one issue is a breakdown of communication.  This is usually where small issues are left to grow into monumental disagreements.

When either party makes assumptions, has differing expectations or avoids certain issues, communication becomes difficult.  When processes have not been put in place, or are not adhered to for various reasons, this can occur. Therefore, no matter the problem, conflict resolution becomes hard to foster.

Some other top reasons for disputes include damage or changes to property – whether accidental or not, non-payment of rent, failure to uphold building standards or rules, payment for utilities and notice periods for entrance to the property or ending a tenancy agreement.

Take heart though, as all of these issues are easily avoided, with careful planning and attention before, during and after a lease agreement.

 

Position One Property Management Service Solutions

The key step in ensuring a successful tenancy agreement is in the effective selection of tenants. To avoid issues such as damage to property and rent in arrears, it’s vital to conduct stringent security and reference investigations for all applicants. This way, owners can rest easy in the knowledge the tenants are proven to be reliable, responsible and capable of maintaining the property.

Secondly, building a good rapport with tenants opens the channels of communication. Therefore, if any issues do arise, the good relationship between the tenant and property manager ensures problems are dealt with swiftly, in order to fulfil the needs of everyone involved. The ‘third party’ aspect dissolves any personal engagement with issues, so processes in place are conducted in a professional, efficient manner.

Tried and tested resolution techniques are used to arrive at solutions if disputes arise.  We have a sound knowledge of the rights, responsibilities and agreement clauses of contracts. Utilizing property management services takes you firmly out of the firing line, where we’ll be waiting with all the necessary skills to protect your investment.

Save

Save

Property Management Companies – The Big, The Small and The Right One for You

Property Management CompaniesChoosing from an array of property management companies can be a difficult decision. Should you go for the big names? Opt for more personalised service? Go with the recommendation of friends in your local area?

The most important thing to remember is that your property manager makes vital decisions on your behalf. Given this, one of the most crucial aspects is forming a good working relationship for successful outcomes.   Essential in the decision making process is Trust, and the knowledge that your needs will be meet.  Along with the protection of your investment, you need to know your property is in qualified, skilled and experienced hands.

Let’s weigh up the pros and cons concerning property management for rental houses in Brisbane, so helping you make the right choice.

Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better

It’s easy to choose a ‘big name’ brand.  You’ve seen their ads on TV, they’ve often been in the industry for a long time and you don’t have to search very hard to find them. However, it’s a common misconception that they’ll have greater access to databases.  Both both landlords and tenants are able to harness the power of wide networks, no matter what their size . Today, all agencies have access to the wealth of options available via the power of the internet.  Therefore, there’s little advantage in choosing a bigger firm based on this reason alone.

The most common advantages of franchise property management companies, however, include:

  • extensive budgets for marketing and advertising,
  • comprehensive websites for clients to access, and
  • numerous services to take advantage of.

Many of them are also recognised as industry leaders, with proven, generic systems in place. This is highlighted by the subsequent media clout and ability to reach the wider community.

However, no amount of media clout can make up for superior levels of service and personalised attention.  Being one number in a large pool is the major drawback of large franchises.

Consequently, all too often landlords and tenants are left feeling like a number on the books.  This is generally due to regular staff turnovers, sales-driven office cultures and many employees handling the same accounts.  Landlords and tenants should feel like valued clients.

How Boutique Property Management Companies Differ from Franchises

As a landlord, you want to stay on top of all the details of your property investment. The personalised attention of a professional property manager is required. Dealing with numerous staff, having to restate your issues or waiting for long periods to receive attention isn’t an issue at a boutique agency.

And, after all, it’s nice to know the actual name of the person responsible for one of your biggest assets!

Boutique agencies often develop a family-friendly office culture.  You’ll enjoy continuity with your points of contact.  A boutique agency literally revolves around the ability to provide attentive service and personalised relationships. It’s these relationships that give you peace of mind.  They can keep you up-to-date and offer you the benefit of growing your investment with the help of an experienced manager.

To top it off, boutique property management companies can be a more cost-effective alternative, though the attention you receive is far superior. It doesn’t take many extra weeks of vacancy, or much of a poorly managed repair job on a property to cost you dearly.  All the discount property management fees in the world won’t make up for poor management.  When you’re looking for transparency and accountability, with the same ability to reach the wider community to maintain successful tenancies, boutique companies are, quite simply, often the best.

Key Points in the Decision Making Process

Whether it’s big or small, it’s obvious that choosing the right company depends on much more than fees alone. Property management involves more than simply collecting rent.  There are vital skills that should be met in order to minimise vacancies and maximise your profits.

First and foremost, you’re looking for industry specific skills. This includes in-depth knowledge of rental houses Brisbane area and effective marketing strategies.  Your property manager needs to ensure your property is exposed to a wide range of prospective tenants. You need to feel confident your property manager can set, the rent at the appropriate market level.  They also need to consistently and regularly evalutate the rent at the appropriate market level.

Screening Processes

Thorough screening processes for tenants is paramount in ensuring the rent is paid on time and your property is well looked after. This means stringent security and reference checks for applicants and access to Australia’s database of defaulting tenants. With Position One Property you can rest assured that all tenant backgrounds are suitably investigated.  This happens even before applications are offered to you for approval.

Maintenance and Repairs

You also need to be confident your property manager upholds maintenance and repairs on your investment.  They’ll do this by conducting regular inspections, which need to be appropriately documented. When you receive personalised, detailed service, a prime benefit is open communication between your manager and tenants.  This open communication enables any issues are dealt with efficiently.

Kept In-The-Loop

Although the ultimate goal is to avoid all problems with effective processes from the outset, if something does go wrong, you need to be in the know. With the intimate services of a boutique company, you’re kept in the loop at all times, via a manager you come to know and trust. You’ll also feel comfortable in asking for advice with regard to tenancy agreements and appropriate avenues to take, in the event of serious problems.

If personalised service, attention to detail and access to specialised industry knowledge sit at the top of your wish list for property management companies, Position One Property is ready to help.

Save

How To Get A Good Result At An Open House

Open HouseArranging regular times for prospective buyers to inspect sale properties in groups has proven to be a very effective marketing technique. While most people now search online for suitable properties, they still like to inspect in person, and an open house allows them to have a close look without feeling under pressure.

Large Visitor Numbers at an Open House Creates Urgency

The best result for an agent is to have large visitor numbers. This generates a sense of urgency among genuine buyers. Even if many of the crowd are just looking, people assume that everyone there is a potential rival for the property. Often, the buyer who gets the property will be the one who has decided to out-manoeuvre the others by offering more than originally intended.
To get such an excellent result there are a few things that need to happen and we have drawn on our experience as agents to offer some suggestions. Position One Property is a property agency serving the greater Brisbane area and we have found that some techniques work better than others to get a successful open inspection.

For Best Results, the Owners Should not be Present

We said earlier that potential buyers like this method because they can look around without feeling any pressure from an agent. This also goes for the owners as well, so it is important, if the property is yours, to make yourself scarce. Your agent will look after the place, so go to the movies, visit a friend or go for a long walk.

Temporarily remove all Signs of Pet Ownership

If you have pets, make sure all their toys, beds, blankets, water and food bowls are out of sight. The pets also need to be out of sight. A bird aviary in the back yard will not be a problem but a couple of large, protective dogs in the house will be. Leave them with a friend for the couple of hours of the open house.

Clean, Tidy and De-Clutter

It is surprising that some sellers leave beds unmade and dirty dishes in the kitchen sink during inspections. Please make sure that everything is neat, tidy and clean. First impressions are vital, so get rid of clutter. This allows buyers to assess the amount of space you have, which cannot be seen if it is hidden by unnecessary items.

Allow Light to Flood the Interior

The final touch is to turn on the lights, even during the day; open the curtains and pull up the blinds. Allow light to flood into the interior. This also adds to the feeling of spaciousness and eliminates any dark spots that detract from the overall ambiance.
We find that a well-organised and run open house can generate a lot of interest. Do your part in getting the property in tip-top condition and trust your agent to find genuine buyers from among the visitors.

Deciding Maintenance Priorities – Where To Start?

Every property investor wants high occupancy figures for their rental properties.  Placing tenants with a good financial and rental history is essential to achieving that result. These days, however, good tenants expect their dwellings be of a high standard.  They expect it to be well presented, clean and tidy and with all the modern conveniences expected in an advanced society.  A professional property manager, such as Position One Property, is your key to achieving this outcome effectively.

Absentee Owners Rely on Property Managers to Maintain their Rental Properties

This makes the role of the professional property manager more challenging than just collecting the rent and doing inspections. Owners, especially those who live interstate or overseas, rely on us to keep an eye on the overall state of the property. They know that to keep good tenants, they cannot allow their asset to deteriorate below a minimum standard.

We have found that one of the best ways to do this is to establish a list of repair priorities for the properties under our management. Position One Property manages dwellings across south-east Queensland. They range from newly built homes to older style Queenslanders and all styles in between as well as units, duplexes and others.

Essential Services and Security at Top of Repair Priorities

Any repair that involves essential services such as electrical, water supply, plumbing and issues with sewerage should always be the highest priority. Security comes a very close second.  Doors that won’t lock, security screens that are broken and alarm systems that don’t work should all be repaired as quickly as possible.

Smoke Detectors and Pool Fencing Need Immediate Attention

Every rental property must be fitted with working smoke detectors.  Smoke detectors are an item that should be checked regularly and there are regulations around this. Repairs or replacements, where necessary, are essential and immediate. If the property has a swimming pool, the pool fencing must be on the priority list. Too many very young children have drowned in poorly maintained pools at rental properties where they lived or were visiting.

Border Fences and Gates on the List

Poorly maintained border fences can quickly become unsafe for tenants with young children. Missing palings leave gaps through which young adventurers can squeeze  General fencing and gates must go onto the list. Gate safety is essential in high-set houses to prevent injury in a fall down the stairs if the latches fail.

Kitchens and Bathrooms too Expensive to Neglect

It is said that the two rooms that sell a home are the kitchen and bathroom.  These also happen to be the most expensive to renovate. For that reason, we believe that they should be high on the list when repairs become necessary. The only exception is if the repair is urgent because of a safety issue, in which case it must be undertaken immediately.

Even in the newest homes there will be repairs required. By not allowing them to accumulate, the repair costs will be more easily absorbed; more expensive repairs later on will not be necessary and the owners will get to keep their excellent tenants.

Renting in Brisbane – Your Quick Start Guide

Renting in BrisbaneMany people prefer renting in Brisbane because they can get safe and reliable housing without the responsibility or expense of owning a house. They may also opt to rent when they’re building their own home.  When people are in the city temporarily they may choose to rent and there can be various other reasons.  Whatever the reason, we’ve made it easier for you to rent a home in Brisbane.  One in which you can feel comfortable, safe, and happy.  We give you this simple and straightforward process to follow.

Renting in Brisbane – What You Need to Know

1 Decide What Kind of Property to Rent

Deciding what kind of home you want to be renting in Brisbane requires that you ask yourself several important questions.  Your foremost question should centre on what type of dwelling you would prefer to live in.  Is it an apartment, townhouse, duplex, or stand alone house?

After you decide what kind of home you would like to live in, you must then consider other details.  These are factors that could impact how comfortable and happy you will be during your tenancy. These factors may include:

  • How many bedrooms you will need
  • How much rent you can afford to pay each month
  • Whether or not you will need or want to live with a roommate
  • If there are features – like a fenced-in yard for your pets  (and will the landlord permit pets?)
  • If maintenance like lawn mowing is included with your monthly rent
  • What utilities are included with rent
  • What amenities like nearby schools, shops or hospitals are found in the neighbourhood

Once you have all of these criteria outlined, you can then start looking for properties available for renting in Brisbane. If you’re like the bulk of the population, you’ll head online first for your search.  If you have access or time, it’s still worth looking in the local newspaper and real estate agent windows for listings. Some landlords still list this way!  Of course, at Position One Property we have our available rentals on our website under Find a Rental.

2 Apply for Tenancy

So you’ve found a great new home!  We strongly recommend personally inspecting the property to be sure it suits your needs.  Photographs online can be phenomenal and by law must be an accurate representation of the property.  But there’s nothing like seeing the place ‘in the flesh’.  If you simply cannot be preset, there are businesses who provide a personal concierge service to out-of-towners who need to secure something prior to their arrival in town.

Do Note:

There are also strict laws around taking photographs of currently rented properties.  Photographs that show any of a tenant’s possessions may not be used by property managers/owners in advertising unless the tenant provides prior written agreement.  It follows that a prospective tenant inspecting a property that is becoming available for rent, but is not yet vacated by the previous tenant, is not permitted to photograph the property without written permission of the current tenant.  Often taking video or still photos is popular so prospective tenants can ‘remember what was there’ after they’ve left – and particularly when overload occurs as a result of inspecting a number of properties in quick succession!  Our advice is to never assume it’s okay – please always ask for permission to photograph to avoid any disputes.  This legislation is covered in greater detail on the Residential Tenancies Authority website under photographs of the property.

 

The next step of the process for renting in Brisbane calls for you to apply to live in your chosen rental home. Most Brisbane landlords or lessors require that prospective renters complete a paper application and submit to a background check. This check ensures that you meet all of the qualifications to satisfy your lease.  It also checks that you do not have any past evictions on your rental record.

If your application is denied, you have every right to ask for what reason so that you can correct the issues before applying for another rental home. However, if your application is approved, well done – you are one step closer to moving in!

During the meeting with the property manager, it will work in your favour if you:

  • Be on time for the inspection, particularly if it is a personal appointment rather than an “open for viewing”
  • Dress nicely and be polite, this will be representing you to the owner, should you apply to rent the house
  • Introduce yourself and anyone accompanying you to the meeting
  • Have your questions about the home ready
  • Respect the property as you tour it
  • Have available all of the documentation needed, such as proof of your identity and income, to confirm your tenancy for the home if you plan to apply right away
  • Pay the deposit to hold the home

It is important that you get a receipt for the deposit, and Position One Property will always ensure you receive this. Also find out for how long the deposit will hold the home for you. You must inform the landlord of your decision to take or to pass on the home before the end of that hold period. If you decide to pass on the home, you will receive your deposit back from the property manager.  The property manager will have it held in a trust account.

3 Sign Your Lease and Move Into Your New Home

The inspection you’ve made of the property gives you the chance to look for damages or parts of the home that need to be repaired or serviced. You should request that these issues be addressed before you sign the rental agreement.  If certain conditions exist – say a mark on the carpet – this will be noted on the Entry Condition Report which will be completed by the property manager.  If there is anything you would like to be noted, now is the time to bring it up.  Normal wear and tear occurs and is allowed for, but Entry and Exit Condition Reports are designed to protect both tenant and landlord.  You’ll find more details on Entry and Exit Condition Reports at the Queensland Government Website under Renting.

The lease on your new rental home will cover topics like:

  • Who is the primary lease holder
  • Who is permitted to live at the residence
  • The term of the lease
  • The amount of any bond required prior to moving in
  • The amount of the rent and how often and on what date the rent should be paid
  • What payment forms are allowed to be used to pay rent, such as a cheque, credit card, etc
  • Other terms as outlined by your landlord

Do make sure you read the details carefully so you know what is expected of you.  The contract is a two-way-street – both landlord and tenant have obligations and both have rights.  The contract is to protect both parties and make life easier.  If you don’t understand something, do get assistance and clarification.

4 Buy any Necessities and Be Sure to Notify of Change of Address

You will receive a copy of your lease agreement upon moving in. After you have signed this agreement, you can then hunt down the necessities that you will need to live happily and comfortably in your new home.

We also recommend you take out renters insurance to protect you and your possessions against theft and damages.  If you happen to acquire additional belongings prior to moving in – such as housewares, new linens, furniture, and other belongings, your policy should be updated to include these items.

You should also change your address at the post office and notify important places about your move. You will want to change your address at work, school, the bank, Centrelink, the electoral commission, the doctor’s and dentist’s office, Medicare, the driver’s license office, and other locations that impact your daily life.

Here’s a handy checklist for making your change of address exercise a breeze :

Change of Address Checklist 29 July 2016

The process for renting in Brisbane requires a focused effort for a short period of time, but is not onerous or unreasonable.  You can find the ideal place to call home and move in quickly by following these easy and straightforward steps. This process can be expedited by choosing homes that are professionally managed in Brisbane by a reputable company like Position One Property.  Call Us Today on 07 3843 4511.

Save

What to Look for in a Property Management Agency

Property management is made a whole lot easier when property owners engage the services of a reputable property management agency.

A good agency will guarantee that your interests are protected and will also ensure that relevant legislation is adhered to.  We make absolutely sure of that.

But what criterion does one use in the selection of a good property management agency?

What Constitutes a ‘Good’ Property Management Agency?

There are a number of ways to identify a good property management agency.

As a property owner, you will benefit by being conversant with the agency’s appointment terms.  The services they offer to their clients should be completely transparent.  These should be readily available to you for your consideration.

It goes without saying that their commissions, charges and fees are a paramount consideration as well.  There are recommended levels for these and you should be wary of any large deviations from the norm.  It is okay to question why!  And consider why an agency will have super-cheap commissions, charges and fees.  Some offer introductory free periods.  A landlord should question why this is. What are the implications for the agency?  For your property?  For the tenants?  How will your invesment return be affected?

The agency should also be ready to give detailed procedures about how they carry out repairs and maintenance as well as how they handle complaints, evictions, and terminations of tenancy.

At Position One Property we have worked hard to build the perfect team.  Our team are are highly trained and passionate about taking care of your property.  We are a licensed company, compliant with all required regulations by the State of Queensland.  So you can rest assured that your property is in good hands.  We treat your property like it’s our very own property.  We ensure consistency in our processes so that you can be sure you’ll receive appropriate service for each property, and each lease.

What Are Some of The Responsibilities of a Property Management Agency?

There is a lot that is required to be done in a property management agency.

A rental management agency must:

– Act in the property owner’s best interests in all negotiations
– Respond promptly to tenants requests for repairs and maintenance
– Carry out regular inspections while keeping tenants and owners well informed about such events
– Have a clear detailed procedure for dealing with complaints
– Ensure trades and service providers have relevant licences

A rental management agency ought to maintain open communication channels with tenants to facilitate harmonious interactions.  At Position One Property we do this.  Consequently, satisfaction for both parties is a known characteristic of our widely acclaimed property management services.

What Sets Us Apart at Position One?

Our prime focus is centred on providing a refreshing alternative for your property management requirements. We take pride in maintaining an exceptionally high standard of service and so do not take any chances in training our passionate property management team.  This is a team who are dedicated to investing their time and expertise in the management of your property.  We hold our clients – both owners and residents – in high regard.  We approach our relationship with them with the utmost respect.

What else?

We Find You Just the Perfect Tenant

Our team thoroughly screens every prospective tenant while verifying their details.

Zero Tolerance Policy for Arrears

We do not hesitate to follow up with tenants concerning delayed rental arrears.

We Make it a Whole Lot Easier For You

Given that we go the extra mile in organizing lease renewals and sourcing for new tenants, the degree of convenience for the services we offer cannot be overemphasized.

Communication is our priority

Our company maintains regular contact with our clients and informs them of all developments.  We are quick to alert them when any issues come up.

Property Marketing Strategies

As your leading property manager in Brisbane, we have the best property marketing strategies.  These include professional photographs to show your property in its best light.  These go a long way to enhancing the features of your property and showing it to be a desirable residence for tenants.  Consequently, this sets it apart from the rest who are vying for applications from the same pool of tenants.

Consistently Low Vacancy Rate

We also maintain a consistently low vacancy rate which is facilitated and supported by our tenancy renewal policy.

Streamlined Systems and Procedures

The systems and procedures we have put in place are friendly to property owners as well as tenants. Our appointment forms are clear and concise with details of the services we offer as well the charges for these services all inclusive of additional costs such as advertising. We encourage our customers to familiarize themselves fully with our terms, while providing clarification where needed.

Most of all, our professional standards ensure that we maintain a long-term relationship with our property owners and tenants that have had them coming back again and again for repeat business.

Many property owners unwittingly put their property businesses at risk.  This is because they neither have the expertise nor the time to monitor their rental properties to the degree required. Some are gripped with the fear of losing potential business in future and have resorted to managing a handful of properties by themselves. The downside to this approach is that one may in fact be limiting themselves from exploiting all their options. A good property management agency has sufficient experience to stay abreast of changing trends. They are also better placed to know what the market needs. Hence, this is a clear indication that landlords ought to embrace the idea of engaging the experts for maximum benefits.

Forget about the hassles and disappointments you have experienced in the past and call the property managers who will always have your back and your best interests at heart – Position One Property. There is immense gratification and convenience that comes with hiring just the perfect property management agency and we’ve got exactly what you are looking for – and more.