Hands up if you make resolutions for the New Year? Now keep your hand up if you manage to keep them…We thought so! With 2024 fast-approaching here are five easy-to-keep commitments to ensure your rental property is protected in the year, and years, ahead.
This year, why not make resolutions about your investment property?
Here are five New Year resolutions that landlords can actually keep – and reap the benefits all year long.
Resolution 1: I will make sure I have specialist landlord insurance
If you don’t already have specialist landlord insurance and are relying on a standard home and contents policy, it’s time to look at your options.
Standard home and contents policies are not designed for investment properties and usually won’t cover tenant related losses like loss of rent. Rental properties have their own unique sets of risks – and you need the right cover to protect against those risks.
Specialist landlord insurance can (depending on the policy chosen) cover a range of insured events like damage from fire, storms or flooding, and include financial protection for tenant-related issues like lost rent or damage, be it accidental, caused by a pet, intentional or malicious.
Resolution 2: I will organise my paperwork
Getting organised is a common New Year resolution but, when it comes to your investment property, it’s one that can pay dividends. As you’ll have your insurance papers out (see Resolution 1), dig a bit deeper to check all paperwork relevant to your rental property, like:
Your mortgage – is it the right type for your circumstances?
Your tax invoices and receipts – in preparation for your tax agent and to help budget for on-going running costs and capital improvements.
Rental ledger – it’s important you get on top of any arrears quickly. Accurate records are also needed for tax purposes and any loss of rent insurance claims.
Contracts for services like property management, property maintenance, cleaning, lawn mowing etc. – are they up for renewal?
Tenant personal data – you need to make sure that any data that you need to keep is kept safe.
Resolution 3: I will be proactive with repairs and maintenance
Repairs, urgent and otherwise, need to be dealt with in a timely fashion. Make sure you and your property manager know and meet your obligations under the law.
It’s also important that you and your property manager understand any obligations that are part of insurance coverage. One of the most important obligations is to help mitigate further loss by taking swift action if the property is damaged. Chat to your property manager about their authority to act on your behalf and make sure your tenants know how to contact you in an emergency to avoid the risk of the property suffering further damage just because they can’t get hold of you.
While you can plan for maintenance and on-going repairs/upgrades/replacements, other repairs are needed out of the blue. Be sure to budget for these, especially as urgent and emergency repairs must be made within legislated timeframes and to specific standards.
Resolution 4: I will be across legislative changes
Real estate is constantly evolving and there will often be new rules and requirements, whether reforms to tenancy legislation or tax regimes, to stay across.
As a landlord, you (and your property manager) must comply with applicable legislation when it comes to any matter relating to residential tenancy. Depending on the type of property and where it’s located, there could be several relevant pieces of legislation that apply – and you need to be aware of your obligations. Ignorance of the law is no defence if you end up end court.
Resolution 5: I will improve communication with tenants
Tenants who are happy are more likely to maintain the rental, respect the house rules and pay their rent on time and in full. It’s in your best interests to build a mutually respectful relationship with your tenants. A key to achieving this is effective communication.
While the tenancy agreement will set out all the legal and contractual obligations of each party, two-way communication makes sure everyone knows what’s expected of them and what’s happening at the property (e.g. reporting issues, advising of trades coming, inspections).
Be available and be responsive. Actions like answering your tenant’s calls/emails and being open and honest help build trust.
Speaking of building trust, if there is good communication and trust between you and your tenants, they are more likely to let you know if they are having problems early on (e.g. financial stress), so you can work together to find a solution.
Establishing and maintaining open lines of communication and a healthy respect for one another increases the chances of you and your tenants working cooperatively for the duration of the lease.
Despite research finding just eight per cent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, these five should be a lot easier to stick to than others! Start 2024 as you mean to go on and take charge of your investment property come the New Year.
If you have questions about landlord insurance, please take up our invitation to get in touch with a member of our Expert Care team – 1800 661 662.
*While we have taken care to ensure the information above is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances and legislation after the displayed date may impact the accuracy of this article. If you need us we are here, contact 1800 661 662 if you have any questions.
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