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"Gow Property is a specialist property and strata management company that has been in the Perth property management business for nearly 30 years. Our experience and dedication to service is what allows us to deliver the high standards to owners seeking to rent their investment properties to hassle-free, high-quality tenants to achieve maximum returns and peace of mind"

27. February 2017 14:31


By gowpropertyblog In Tenant Category


Tenants have many obligations in respect of the property when they sign a lease. One of these, which some tenants tend to overlook, is the maintenance of the lawns and gardens.

Extract from the REIWA lease agreement Part C Item 2.18 Gardens reads:

The tenant must attend to the garden, lawns, lawn edges, hedges, shrubs and trees so that they are kept in the same condition as at the commencement of this lease as described in the Property Condition report, to water and fertilise them regularly and adequately, to keep all grounds clean and tidy and free from rubbish, to keep the flower beds and lawns free of weeds, and not to remove or cut down any plants, trees or shrubs

If the garden has reticulation and it requires maintenance during the tenancy, it is the tenant’s responsibility to handwater the gardens and lawns until it is repaired.  Should the grass or plants die they must be returned to their original condition by the tenant at their cost.  It is in the tenant’s best interest to handwater the grass and plants until the reticulation is repaired.  Tenants can’t claim lack of responsibility for upkeep of the gardens because the reticulation was broken.  They will still be held liable for replacement as it is their responsibility to maintain.

However, if the grass is dying or dead when the tenant occupies the premises the tenant is only liable to keep it in the same condition when they vacate.

If the property is part of a Strata tenants must comply with the Bylaws.  Extract from the Strata Titles Act 1985 By-Laws Schedule 2 (Section 42 (2)) Item 3 reads:

Except with the approval of the strata company, a proprietor, occupier or other resident of a lot shall not –

  1. a) damage any lawn, garden, tree, shrub, plant or flower upon common property; or

  2. b) use any portion of the common property for his own purpose as a garden

Fire Hazard

It is important to take note, that not only do tenants need to keep up the maintenance of the lawns and gardens as it is a condition of the lease agreement, but it may be a requirement of the local Council.  The Council can issue fines to owners for long and dry grass or for branch trimmings that have not been removed.  This may be a fire hazard.  If the owner does receive a fine the tenant is liable to pay the fine as, once again, it is their responsibility to maintain the lawns and gardens. This also includes laneways and driveways.

 

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27. February 2017 14:30


By gowpropertyblog In Owners Category


  1. Dishwasher

A good working dishwasher is a valuable appliance in a family home, an “essential appliance” as some households call it.  It is one item that is a priority on a tenants’ list of features.

  1. Air-conditioning

An air-conditioner is essential in the summer in Perth and especially for west facing homes that get the midday sun’s heat.  It is important for the tenant to be comfortable, and a cool home will always attract quality tenants.  Strata permission is required for most Strata complexes and if a request to install an air-conditioning unit is declined we recommend a portable air-conditioner to secure a lease agreement with a tenant.

  1. Cable connection/Foxtel

Whether it is for phone lines or internet,   good communication tools are always a great feature in a rental property.  Under the current tenancy regulations, the tenant must pay for a phone line if one is not already installed.

  1. Parking

Nearly two in three people own cars and parking at their residence is essential.  If your investment property is not close to public transport the tenant is more likely to have a car.  A garage or secure off street parking is an added bonus that is favourable to tenants.

  1. Security

The lessor is responsible for the property having a minimum level of security in place. The minimum security relates to door locks, window locks and exterior lights. The security required is specified in the Residential Tenancies Act 1989 Section 45. Any added features like alarms encourage tenants to feel safe and secure. The more “safety features” in place in a property the more assurance you will have of your property being leased sooner.

  1. Pets

Not all properties will be conducive to having pets, for example, a  Strata unit, where the By-Laws preclude pets.  If, however, you allow a pet in your investment property you open up the market and increase your chances of leasing the property.  This is something to consider As responsible Property Managers, Gow Property will collect the legal pet bond and also include pet specific clauses in the Tenancy Agreement to protect you and your property.

  1. Maintenance

Regular maintenance and upkeep of a rental property, not only protects your asset as an owner, but, ensures a satisfied long term tenant.  Keeping up with maintenance by cleaning gutters, trimming trees, repairing ceiling leaks and keeping appliances in good working order are a must.  Well maintained properties lease first. Certain maintenance items are tax deductible – speak with your accountant.

  1. Outdoor entertaining areas

Your rental property becomes the tenants’ home for the duration of the lease. They may like to entertain and an undercover patio or entertainment area is on many tenants’ wish lists.

 

 

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27. February 2017 14:29


By gowpropertyblog In Owners Category, Tenant Category


Bankwest has announced they are cutting negative gearing benefits from home loan assessments.

Bankwest has confirmed that “property investors are no longer able to include the tax benefits of negative gearing when applying for a home loan.”

Where investors used to be able to reap the tax benefit and receive a greater loan, this will now be limited to a smaller figure because the negative gearing benefit will not be included in the loan calculation.   This has the effect of reducing the amount that can be borrowed by an investor.

Other banks are seeing this as an opportunity to offer incentives as mentioned in the Financial Review, “ANZ has written to mortgage brokers, who act as intermediaries between lenders and borrowers, offering a $1,200 rebate for new home or residential investments.”

Negative gearing has been shown to encourage property investment and has been attributed as assisting the housing shortfall in Australia by encouraging new investment in housing. For example if  you earn a salary of $90,000 and you own a rental property that receives $30,000 in rent and it costs $40,000.00 per year in running costs and interest, the loss on the property will be $10,000 which will reduce your taxable income from $90,000 to $80,000 per year.

Without negative gearing rent prices would increase as there would likely be a housing shortfall with increased demand from renters.

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27. February 2017 14:27


By gowpropertyblog In Owners Category, Tenant Category


You will have noticed an increase in petty crime in the suburbs and we urge you to take steps to protect your valuables.

So what are opportunistic thieves targeting?

• Letterboxes – what a treasure trove of valuables they contain –
New credit cards
Keys – one tenant left her keys in the letterbox and the whole house had to be re-keyed costing the tenant $500

• Vehicles
Keep your car locked and valuables out of sight
iPads and iPhones as well as GPS are easy commodities to steal and dispose of
Keep your front and back doors locked – close windows when you go out

• Coin Operated washing machines
These have been another easy target in buildings we manage
Make sure that common area laundries are locked

• Holidays
If you are going away on holidays – let us know and make sure someone empties your letterbox

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19. January 2017 17:03


By gowpropertyblog In Uncategorized


Tenants are allowed to have NBN with the Landlord’s permission. NBN Co will need to install equipment on both the inside and outside of the property. If your property is managed by Strata, permission from the Strata is necessary to install NBN.

The roll out of NBN will disconnect your existing copper network after the Disconnect Date which will be 18 months after the NBN is installed. If you don’t sign up to NBN before this time, you will no longer have access to fixed analogue landline phones or internet ADSL services.

Under common law if the Landlord provides a service it’s their responsibility to ensure the service continues. If the tenant has an existing fixed landline originally provided by the Landlord, the Landlord needs to ensure it is connected to NBN before the connection is lost in order to continue the service. If there is a cost, it is to be paid by the Landlord. If however the property does not have a tenant when the service is disconnected it will be the responsibility of the new tenant to connect at their cost.

If there is no service to the premises (ie a new house) then as per clause 2.11 of the lease it is the incoming tenants responsibility to connect and to pay for that connection and removal if required at the end of the tenancy

Please be aware any existing ancillary services and devices that rely on your copper-line telecommunications service will no longer work unless you move them to the NBN (such as medical alarms, back-to-base alarms, personal response systems, fax machines and EFTPOS). Please check with your device/service manufacturer or provider to see if the device is NBN compatible.

Visit the NBN webpage to check that NBN is available in your area http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html

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18. January 2017 09:48


By gowpropertyblog In Uncategorized


We have seen an interesting change in the reasons why tenants are vacating.
Early in 2016 the majority of tenants vacated due to the down turn in the resource and construction industry. They were being retrenched or reaching the end of their working contracts.  This applied particularly to those in apartments. There was also a degree of upgrading and moving from apartment to houses as cheaper and more appealing premises became available.
We are now seeing other reasons for tenants vacating.  Tenants told us it was cheaper to live on their own than to share housing and this attracted them.
• Combined with Low Interest rates has resulted in many tenants buying their own homes as the affordability index in Perth is at its lowest for many years.
• The increase in the State Government’s first home first home buyers grant to $15,000 for new homes or apartments combined with the low mortgage interest rates of below 4% has also prompted a change in the rental dynamics.
•We don’t see either of the above factors changing in the next year or so.
• Tenants are upgrading to newer, modern homes with amenities such as dishwashers and air conditioners. With the high number of vacancies (approx. 11,000 in Perth) combined with the increased number of new apartments they have a large choice.
• It may be the time of the year but our property managers report a number of marital and partner breakups some of which are caused by financial pressure.                                                                   •They swap their apartment to move to another property in the same complex at a lower rent.  Rents have dropped between 10 and 20% in the past year.
• With WA unemployment around 6.8% we have also seen a change with tenants moving to the Eastern States seeking employment in the stronger economies of NSW and Victoria.
• Tenants chase lower rents with rents dropping 10-20% in the last year. Often in the same building complex where there is no great effort to move.
•There are signs that the downward trend in rents has bottomed so hopefully this type of relocation will slow
• Tenants are moving into better homes with a shift from apartment living to near city suburb houses with nearby schools, transport facilities and entertainment/lifestyle facilities such as beaches and coffee strips close by.
Our Advice
1. Older apartment/units have to be upgraded to appeal and compete against the newer developments which are renting cheaply in the current market. The increase in apartments available will continue in 2017 and some investors may suffer financially.
2. Be prepared to drop the rent to minimise losses due to longer vacancies and to keep your current tenants in the property.  By holding onto your existing tenants you are avoiding loss of rent and additional costs like advertising, final bond inspections and letting fees.
3. Be prepared to upgrade your property and add value by adding a dishwasher, air-conditioning, built in robes, a patio for entertaining.

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18. January 2017 09:47


By gowpropertyblog In Uncategorized


A dishwasher is generally a low maintenance appliance. Below are some basic tips for keeping your dishwasher running in tip-top shape.

• Don’t Get Zapped. Dishwashers have built-in water heaters and motors which can consume a lot of electricity; couple that with all the water a dishwasher uses and you can see how improper wiring and connections can put you at risk for electrocution, fire or power outages. All dishwasher should always be plugged into a grounded outlet or wired direct. And your main socket must be rated adequately to handle the large load required by most dishwashers.
• Make Sure Your Dishwasher is Level. If your dishwasher isn’t level, it could leak. To check, open the door and place an air-bubble level along the edge inside. If the dishwasher isn’t level, raise or lower either side by adjusting its “feet” or add a wedge to balance correctly.
• Check Gaskets for Cracks and Deterioration. These are the rubber or plastic seals along the dishwasher door that provides a water-tight seal when you close. If you start noticing water around your dishwasher, it could be due to faulty gaskets. If the gasket is damaged, remove it by unscrewing it or prying it out with a screwdriver. You can get a replacement gasket at a hardware store or order one from the manufacturer. Before installing the new gasket, soak it in hot water to make it more flexible.
• Check Sprayer Arm for Blockages. Over time Food particles, mineral deposits and other debris can clog the holes in the sprayer arm. It is essential to clean these small holes from time to time to enable the dishwasher to work more efficiently. Remove the sprayer arm periodically and soak in warm vinegar for a few hours to loosen any obstruction. Then clean out each spray hole with an awl or a pipe cleaner.
• Check and Clean Screens and Filters. Your dishwasher should have a screen or filter located near the bottom of the dishwasher above the food drain to catch any large food or debris; they need to be cleaned regularly to avoid clogs (at least every other week). Your dishwasher owner’s manual should provide instructions for removing and cleaning the filter. If the filter has holes, it needs to be replace in order to prevent harm to other parts of the dishwasher. Also, inspect and clear out any food or debris that might be trapped in the food drain.
• Check brackets
Remove the cleaning racks and ensure they fit properly. Check the brackets are not loose and are affixed to the dishwasher.
Notify your property manager of any faults as soon as possible.

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18. January 2017 09:46


By gowpropertyblog In Uncategorized


The Residential Tenancy Agreement (Lease) is a legal contract. If any party wants to change the lease, all parties must agree in writing. This includes the Agent, The Landlord and ALL tenants who are party to the lease.

There are ramifications – can the remaining tenants on the lease afford the rent? Will the landlord be exposed because there are fewer tenants on the lease?

The Bond also needs to be varied to identify the correct stakeholders. The Agent does not refund the exiting tenant’s bond in these circumstances, this must be agreed to and arranged by the remaining tenants. The Agent will merely effect the Bond Variation as lodged with the Bond Administrator.

What if the remaining tenants want to bring in a new tenant? Is the new tenant then party to the existing Property Condition Report signed at the commencement of the original tenancy? We recommend that the new lease contains a clause stating that the existing Property Condition Report will be used, irrespective of the tenant changes, at the end of  the lease.

Are there costs for making all these changes? There are some instances where this may be viewed as a break lease and penalties may apply. Talk to your Property Manager who is able to assist you through this process with minimal disruption. We understand change happens and we want to help you. It must be done properly though to avoid confusion when you do move out of the property.

 

 

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18. January 2017 09:45


By gowpropertyblog In Uncategorized


The great news is you may be able to get NBN if you’re renting your property. You will need to ask your Property Manager for permission and keep them informed about connecting your home to the NBN.  NBN Co will need to install equipment on both the inside and outside of your home. Make sure you remember to get permission for that before signing up to NBN plan. This is particularly important in a Strata complex as permission will need to be obtained.

The roll out of NBN will disconnect your existing copper network after the Disconnect Date which will be 18 months after the NBN is installed. If you don’t sign up to NBN before this time, you will no longer have access to fixed landline phones or internet services.

Please be aware any existing ancillary services and devices that rely on your copper-line telecommunications service will no longer work unless you move them to the NBN (such as medical alarms, back-to-base alarms, personal response systems, fax machines and EFTPOS). Please check with your device/service manufacturer or provider to see if the device is NBN compatible.

Your first plan of action is to check that NBN is available in your area. If NBN is available, great! You can contact your provider to help you arrange your equipment installation for an NBN plan.  Once NBN Co has connected your home, your provider can either send you a self-install kit for your modem or you can request a technician to install it for you (tenants will be charged a fee for a technician callout).

Visit the NBN webpage to check that NBN is available in your area http://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html

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30. November 2016 11:31


By gowpropertyblog In Tenant Category


We often see disruption and friction between the property manager and a tenant. This achieves nothing and only causes both parties stress and discomfort. Things may take longer to finalise and too many people get involved wasting everyone’s time.

Some tips to ensure a good relationship:

• Both parties should be courteous to each other- always consider where the other party is coming from in the conversation.

• Do try to streamline all communication by keeping it simple. When writing an email, bullet points are your friend. Talk to each other and do not enter into a war of words by email. If required, it would be best to have a site meeting to fully comprehend a problem.

• Face to face meetings will almost always result in an outcome without the aggravation. People are usually better behaved when dealing directly with each other.

• Be prepared to give – remember every party wants to have a win. We sometimes see arguments over minor issues that have cost everyone time and money but could have been resolved with a little leeway on both sides.

• Avoid going to court for magistrates to settle your dispute- a lot of court cases are settled at pre-trial conferences which could easily and more speedily be resolved at the time of the problem by the parties communicating and working on a settlement.

• Remember your property manager is required to work within legal constraints and is required to work at the direction of the owner of the property.

• Review the documentation provided at the commencement of your lease. It may be onerous, but you will be more aware of your rights and the lease requirements.

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