DIY Property Management – Here’s What NOT To Do!

Are you considering doing DIY Property Management?  If so, here’s what not to do!

When it comes to choosing a Property Manager to look after you rental property, you get what you pay for!  Yes, it does cost a management fee.  To have a trained, experienced and dedicated Brisbane property manager from Position One manage your rental property and tenants on your behalf is a blessing.  So we always explain that over the longer term, there is huge benefit from using the best property management team in Brisbane!

What is DIY Property Management?

Do-it-yourself or DIY Property Management is when someone has chosen to manage their own rental property.  This includes everything associated with dealing with tenants, collecting the rent, managing repairs, lease agreements, and advertising by themselves.  No doubt, there are many property owners who have been tempted to handle the management of their rental properties by themselves.  And when you hit that “sweet spot” with low maintenance costs, and low vacancy rates, all is well.  Then it can seem like property management is a pretty straightforward job – right?  But beware when it comes to letting down your guard and thinking it’s easy.  Because there are more than just a few tricks when it comes to managing a rental property!  Especially when it comes to making sure that you don’t get stuck with a vacant property for an extended period.

DIY Property Managment– what not to do!

Fair enough, DIY Property Management can save the money and costs associated with paying for a professional property management agent. But that doesn’t mean that you should try to cut corners at every opportunity. If you are doing DIY Property Management, you do need to stay up to date with the legislation regarding leasing and rental properties. There are always changes and updates to the legislation.  Two such examples are around smoke alarms and pool fencing. In fact, we think it is important for all property owners to stay up to date with property ownership guidelines and policy.

A Rental Property is not just an investment

DIY Property ManagementA rental property is actually someone’s home.  At Position One, our property management team applies this fact to all of the properties we manage. We respect our residents and our owners.  In accordance with the Queensland property leasing legislation, Landlords are required to provide a comfortable, safe and secure property when rented out to tenants. So any DIY Property Managers cutting corners with the standard of their property, there are pitfalls. Consider, for example, if you lease a property, say, with an air conditioner.   You must maintain the air conditioner in good working order. If a tenant signs a contract with a working air conditioner, then they are legally entitled to have that air conditioner maintained and operable for the term of the lease.

Can you devote the time needed for Property Management?

It pays to stay in regular communication with tenants, and to maintain regular inspections of a rental property. It can be tempting to just leave things meander.  But that is simply not good management. It is also unrealistic to expect a tenant to provide an inspection with short notice, or just whenever it suits. That is also not good management, nor permissable. Often, our property managers have to make themselves available whenever the tenant is available for a general discussion about the property, or to conduct a property inspection. But that is our policy at Position One, and that is all about good property management. Then there is attention to detail.  When it comes to collecting the rent, dealing with rent in arrears, managing the lease agreement, and meeting all of the maintenance requirements and tenant requests, attention to detail is critical.

Be aware of the hidden costs

DIY Property Managers need to be aware of the implications of attending to property maintenance, as well as tenant requests for repairs. Trying to cut maintenance costs or ignoring tenant requests can cost more in the long run. For example, there have been cases where the tenants can lawfully break contract if the conditions of the lease agreement have not been met. This can leave an unexpected vacancy and end up costing you more than the initial cost of maintenance.

Make sure the property is safe and secure

There is no excuse for not providing a rental property that is safe and secure. Failure to provide this can end up costing landlords a lot of money when it results in extended vacancy. But that is not the only hidden snag for DIY Property Management.  Because they are actually lawfully required to maintain the rental property in a safe and secure condition on behalf of the tenant, once a complaint is lodged, the matter can become serious. For example, there are many hidden snags for landlords.  These include deadlocks on doors, safety screens on windows, child locks on balconies.  Pool fence certification, smoke alarms and earth leakage detectors are also critical aspects of the property. These are not just nice to have features.  They are all covered by various forms of legislation, and are not worth trying to cut corners on.

Insurance

As a DIY Property Manager, we recommend that you never try to cut costs when it comes to insurance for a rental property. Landlord insurance costs a little extra.  But without it, you can be left with a huge liability. If tenants leave you with a repair bill, then insurance may help you get a property back to a condition to lease. Without it and you are left with an extended vacancy. Then there is the matter of landlord liability insurance. If you don’t know what this is, then we recommend that you check immediately to determine whether you have protection.

Getting the wrong tenant

One of the most critical risks for DIY Property Management is getting the wrong tenant. This problem can involve lots of work – and headaches. Unhappy tenants usually need more repairs, more attention, more communications, and more administration. There is the risk that they will not renew the tenancy.  So the consequence is higher vacancy rates. If the rent is too high, the vacancy rate will be higher. Should the maintenance is not kept up to date, there is a risk of complaints being lodged. As a DIY Landlord, there is always a risk of managing an unhappy tenant which can result in an unhappy Landlord!

At Position One, we find the best tenants

Here at Position One Property management, we have a philosophy that we match the correct tenant with the best property. This means that we have a thorough process of getting to know the tenants we look after.  That means knowing what their preferences are, and what type of property is best for them. When we have an upcoming vacancy, we put the process of finding a tenant into full swing, before the vacancy even happens. That means we have time to find the perfect tenant for any property, at the right time every time! How many DIY Property Managers can spend the time to get the right tenant? Because we spend the time to get the right tenant, we have a proven record of reduced vacancy, and above average tenant satisfaction.

Happy tenants, happy owners

Here at Positon One, we aim to keep our tenants happy, which is the best way to keep our property owners happy also!

How many doing their own DIY Property Management would like a deal like that?

Not all Property Management Agents in Brisbane Are Created Equal!

At Position One, we aim to be the best Property Management agents Brisbane has seen.  We provide exceptional service to our Residents and our Property Owners.  Doing this, we can deliver the best outcomes for everyone.  And to achieve the best outcomes, we maintain valued relationships.  Our relationships with our loyal clients, our existing customers, and those searching for a better deal are of utmost importance to us.  We are using the latest tools available, because not all property management agents Brisbane are created equal!

Working harder to find the right person for the right property

We promote our property listings as widely as possible.  This is so that we can find the best applications from the best potential tenants.  That way, both our Residents and Property Owners have the best opportunity to find the right solution to their property needs.  Most property management agents Brisbane place their properties on Realestate.com.au or Domain.com.au.  No surprises there. All reputable Brisbane property managers list available rental properties on these platforms, and others like them.  But we need to make sure that we have the best coverage of any service available.  And that is where we work so much harder to find the right person for the right property.

We use the best tools available to find the right person for the right property

We are amongst the leading property management agents Brisbane and SEQ has, because we use the latest tools available to the online world.  One of our points of difference is that we invest heavily in strategic Digital Marketing. We promote our properties with the widest coverage possible on the bigger websites, as well right here on PositionOne.com.au  But unlike most other property managers in Brisbane, we don’t stop there.  We also cleverly promote our list of Brisbane properties via appropriate social media channels.

property management agents Brisbane

Promoting your property where there are people looking!

To be the best property management agents, Brisbane, we go to where the people hang out!  Why not use the most popular platforms to attract the widest audience?  What we are talking about is using Facebook and Instagram to find the best prospective tenants.  Without  doubt, Facebook and Instagram are the most powerful marketing tools available in our industry.  But it has to be done carefully.  The bad old days of push marketing are gone.  People know when they are being “sold” something and can switch off at the touch of a button!

Who are the people looking?

At Position One Property, we utilise our skills in digital marketing to identify potential clients.  Then we work out how we can satisfy their individual requirements.  For example, by using both Facebook and Instagram, we aim to reach as much of the audience as possible. At the time of writing, Facebook tends to attract an older audience (let’s say, ‘mature’!)  whilst younger audiences tend to favour Instagram.  But this can change, and the important thing is to maintain a balanced approach to finding the most appropriate audience.

But the audience is watching

And the audience likes to watch video!  So to be the best property management agents Brisbane has, we list each of our properties with a compelling piece of video and moving images.  The best thing about using video to promote our Brisbane property listings is that we can make it even more visible on social media.  Facebook and Instagram are the perfect platforms where people like to watch video of properties.  We will post some video, link it with other platforms, and it becomes available to everyone!  With the latest tools available in digital marketing, we can unlock the secrets to what people are looking for, and where people are actively searching.

Don’t let your property be left behind

At Position One property management agents Brisbane, we know the value of digital marketing in the online world.  We utilise the latest tools available to deliver better and more meaningful promotion for your Brisbane rental property.  In fact, we know that promoting our properties to where the audience is watching is the key to our business.  If allows us to gain a better understanding of how to find the best person for the best property.  In fact, if current property manager is not utilising social media as a professional marketing tool, then your property is not being promoted properly.

Give us a call at Position One Property 07 3483 4511, and we can discuss options to give your property the best chance.

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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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.