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What Maintenance Should Landlords Do?
Landlords must keep their properties in a reasonable state of repair. While landlords and tenants both have some share in the responsibility for keeping a rental property in a good condition, landlords take the lion’s share and are legally required to maintain their properties. A seasonal property maintenance plan is a helpful tool to ensure your property is up to scratch all year round.
How Do I Create a Maintenance Plan?
Looking to the seasons is a good way to organise the maintenance jobs required in your rental property. Creating a residential property maintenance checklist will ensure important jobs are never missed and your property is well maintained all year round. Maintaining your rental property in good condition will keep your tenants happy and help to protect your investment. Always keep in mind that your property must meet Healthy Homes Standards as well as meeting the minimum standard of providing a safe environment for its occupants.
What Maintenance Jobs Should Landlords Do in Spring?
Spring is a great time to start an annual maintenance plan and is a particularly busy time for maintenance for rental property owners. With tenants emerging from the colder months and spending more time outside, it’s time to ensure everything’s in order.
Spring is a great time for:
- Gutter cleaning (yes this needs to be done both before and after winter!)
- Trimming trees and hedges
- Clearing away dead plants
- Planting low-maintenance gardens
- Pruning fruit trees
- Considering an exterior house wash
- Water-blasting paved areas
- Repainting exteriors where necessary
- Spring cleaning
While general spring cleaning might be more of a job for your tenants, regular house inspections can help you ensure your property is being well looked after. There are Benefits of Regular House Inspections for both landlords and tenants, as your tenants will have the opportunity to raise any maintenance issues which you can deal with in a timely manner.
What Maintenance Jobs Should Landlords Do in Summer?
Summer should be one of the most enjoyable times of year for your tenants. To ensure your tenants get the most out of summer in your property:
- Consider bug control measures (especially if wasps or spiders are a problem)
- Prepare swimming pools (consider contracting a swimming pool maintenance service)
- Test smoke alarms
- Ensure irrigation is working
- Prioritise lawn maintenance – this can be a great time to get paving edges trimmed, for example
What Maintenance Jobs Should Landlords Do in Autumn?
To avoid getting caught out in winter, begin preparing your rental property for the winter months in autumn:
- Service heating systems
- Change heat pump filters
- Sweep chimneys where still in use (and check the smoke alarms again!)
- Book a roof inspection
- Check trees are not overhanging your property or gutters
- Clear your gutters
- Pest proof your property (particularly for rats and mice)
Note that under the draught stopping provisions of the Healthy Homes legislation, chimneys should be closed off unless your tenant requests otherwise in writing. If you do still have a working chimney and fireplace though, you will need a chimney sweep at least once per season.
What Maintenance Jobs Should Landlords Do in Winter?
It’s likely that your tenants will be spending a lot more time inside in winter. Before hunkering down:
- Seal windows and doors
- Ensure insulation meets the NZ Healthy Homes Standards
- Encourage tenants to open windows and doors for a few minutes daily (this is one of the easiest ways to ventilate a property even in winter)
- Ensure water is draining properly
- Remove moss and mould from pathways to prevent slip hazards
- Check laundry exhaust vents
- Check shower caulking and kitchen grouting at routine inspections
What Maintenance Jobs are Tenants Responsible For?
While landlords must legally keep their properties in a good state of repair, both landlords and tenants have a share in the responsibility for maintaining rental properties. There are many jobs that are more suited to being completed by those who live in the property and some jobs that can only be left to tenants due to privacy considerations. The cleaning of shower caulking is one example – this can be checked at a routine inspection and if necessary tenants can be asked to clean the caulking. Keep in mind that tenants have a right to the private enjoyment of their homes, and that you’re legally obliged to carry out necessary maintenance once identified.
Find our more in our blog: Who’s responsible for Maintenance and Repairs in a Rental Property?
What Jobs are a Landlord’s Legal Responsibility?
At all times, your rental property must meet New Zealand’s Healthy Home Standards, which are minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, and draught stopping in rental properties. The above home maintenance schedule should be used alongside these Standards as a guide to jobs that may need to be completed at certain times of the year. It’s a good idea to write a detailed home maintenance checklist to suit your property.
Health and Safety Considerations
As PCBUs (a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ ) landlords and property managers owe a duty of care to ensuring the health and safety of their tenants, contractors and any other people affected by work on their property. Under The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 you are legally required to ensure that all contractors undertaking any maintenance work are competent and appropriately qualified to do that work.
Contractors should attempt to work around your tenants’ schedules and they must hold a suitable level of insurance. As a landlord it is your responsibility to notify your contractors of any hazards on the property that could lead to injury, such as the presence of a dog.
Find out more in our helpful article Health And Safety In Residential Property Investment.
How Can Crockers Help?
Managing a rental property and ensuring it is up to the legal standard, especially when standards are often updated, can be stressful. Download our guide to maintaining your rental property, in this guide, we’ll talk you through the law and give you a handy seasonal checklist for must-do maintenance.
For a helpful hand organising property maintenance services or to take the stress out of managing your rental property, contact the team at Crockers on firstname.lastname@example.org or call for a chat on 09 623 5952.