A common maintenance responsibility landlords overlook

27-Mar-2015

Whilst maintenance on investment properties commonly involves things like leaking taps... there are often hidden maintenance issues investors should be aware of...

For example, clogged gutters and downpipes.

We often get calls for immediate maintenance requests including: leaking taps, toilets and repairs to the oven and hot water system. Ask any of our landlords and they are aware and anticipate these maintenance necessities.

But if we broaden the realm of what all the maintenance to an investment property involves many landlords are surprised by what falls under their responsibility in maintaining the investment property.

In homes, villas and townhouses the maintenance of keeping gutters and downpipes clear of debris is always an issue. Many investors feel that this maintenance falls into the domain of “that's the tenant's responsibility” however for a variety of reasons it shouldn't be.

By requiring or expecting your tenant to clear the gutters, an insurance issue is created for the landlord. In the event of an accident a landlord can be held liable and this is a risk we recommend our landlords stay away from. 

At the start of the tenancy it should be made clear to the tenant that if there is any build-up of debris in the gutters and downpipes, you as the landlord are to be notified promptly.

We suggest that on a quarterly basis you arrange to have the gutters and downpipes checked and cleared of any debris that could create a blockage.

Why? Clogged gutters and downpipes can:

  • cause water damage during heavy rainfall
  • create a fire hazard
  • it can reduce the life-span of gutters/downpipes therefore incurring significant costs for the landlord to replace them

A handy tip for landlords is to organise the trimming of over-hanging trees if leaf and debris build-up is an issue at the investment property. 

We suggest all our landlords take the time to investigate this often overlooked maintenance issue as it could save you as the landlord, money and exposure to litigation risk in the long run.