Time to call in the tradies

As the leaves begin to turn so do the thoughts of landlords and PMs – to maintenance. Before the bad weather sets in, get out your little black book of trades. 

The last of the long summer days has passed and before the wintery conditions set in it’s a good idea to inspect rental properties and make a list of repairs and maintenance needed.

In particular with the cold and wet fast-approaching these areas should be given the once-over:

  • Roof tiles, ridge capping and flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys, joins on Colorbond or tin roofs
  • Gutters and drainpipes
  • Stormwater drains and run-off areas
  • Hot water systems
  • Gas appliances such as ovens
  • Heating systems (gas, electric, oil or ceramic) including reverse cycle air-cons
  • Ventilation systems including exhaust/extractor fans
  • Insulation including cracks and gaps around windows and doors
  • Water pipes, particularly in any areas where the pipes can freeze
  • Fireplaces and chimneys
  • Smoke alarms (test hard-wired systems, replace batteries)

Maintenance works are best carried out by experienced tradies – and in the case of plumbing or electrical anyone undertaking the work must be licensed. So whether the list of repairs is long or short, chances are you’ll need to provide estimates, or budget, for the work.

To get an idea on the hourly rates to expect, the latest Tradie Price Index from ServiceSeeking might help. The rates, accumulated from 52,000 nation-wide quotes, reveal the average hourly rates for a range of trades: plumbers ($85.57), electricians ($77.59), builders ($67.83), carpenters ($61.28), tilers ($55.85), landscapers ($54.16), plasterers ($48.58) and painters ($44.42).

Those looking for tradies in Victoria enjoy the lowest rates – with four of the 10 most affordable tradie rates available in the State. The most affordable tradies are painters at $39.79 p/h, followed by plasterers ($46.83), landscapers ($50.35) and tilers ($50.72). Painters in WA were the cheapest at $52.38 p/h, then landscapers ($53.90). Plasterers in NSW came in next at $54.22 p/h while landscapers offered the best rates in Queensland ($54.47). The final two trades in the top 10 most affordable were both in WA – carpenters ($54.56) and plasterers ($54.96).

At the other end of the cost scale, landscapers in NSW commanded the highest hourly rate in the country at $102.05. Plumbers were the most expensive tradies in both Victoria and Queensland ($95.28 p/h and $84.00 p/h, respectively). In WA, those seeking an electrician will need to dip into their wallets the furthest, with an hourly rate of $90.96.

Regardless of the hourly rate you’ll need to pay, the final price for the job will pale in comparison to the potential cost if maintenance and repairs are ignored. Aside from the possibility of a small maintenance issue turning into a major repair, there is also the risk that the policyholder’s insurance will be void. There’s a clause in most building policies including landlord policies that requires the property to be adequately maintained in order for cover to be provided. Don’t risk it, repair it.