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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"

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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24. November 2016 16:27


By gowpropertyblog In Tenant Category


A Joondalup property manager has reported an incident to REIWA where unauthorised tenants have moved into a vacant property.

The property manager said the tenants were scammed after advertising for a rental on Gumtree. Their advertisement was answered by a “Peter Jenkins” claiming to be a real estate agent and offering them a property.

“He then broke into the home, met the tenants, told them to move their stuff in and leave the place unlocked. He then relieved the family of $2,200 and told them he would drop the keys off in the mailbox a couple of days later,” the property manager said.

We urge you to keep a watch on any vacant properties you manage following this incident.

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24. November 2016 11:28


By gowpropertyblog In Owners Category


Squatting is funny business. The idea of someone having any kind of right to your property is kind of absurd.

But the kind of damage and financial loss that squatters can inflict is anything but humorous.

Common sense would tell you that someone living in your property without your permission or knowledge is doing so illegally – but amazingly, it’s not a criminal offence to squat in an empty house.

So if you get a call one day from a neighbour telling you there is someone living a covert existence in your untenanted property, what can you do?
How do squatters get away with a free ride?

While squatting isn’t technically illegal, it is considered trespassing and squatters don’t have any actual grounds to stay there.

Unless, of course, they’ve been there for at least 12 years, in which case the title can legally be handed to them. Pretty wild laws, Australia!

But let’s assume you get wise to your squatter within a decade or so.

As the owner, it’s up to you to decide how much grace you want to give them. You might choose to give a 24-hour period for them to find a new place. Of course, if they’re damaging your property, you probably want them out pretty quickly.

We’ve heard of cases where owners have moved some of their own possessions into the house while the squatters were absent, and then claim break and enter charges when the squatter returns, since the house was then technically ‘lived in’ by someone else.

If this doesn’t sit well with you, you can try to get them out yourself by communicating with them peaceably, or you can contact the police to back you up or take care of it. Involving the authorities is generally the best course of action, given that sometimes squatters don’t want to leave their new nest.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you might have seen the reports that a host of homeless folk moved into unoccupied housing in Collingwood that had been bought by the government for the abandoned East West Link project. These squatters were ‘reluctant’ to leave under police direction, even forcibly.

So what then? Well, you can see a solicitor, and apply to the Supreme Court to have the squatters removed by law. This is lengthy and frustrating, but ultimately you’ll have your property back.

How to squatter-proof your property

In the meantime, there are some defence strategies you can use to make sure your properties aren’t an easy target for unwelcome visitors.

•Install deadlocks on doors and windows

•Fit good-quality safety screens on windows and sliding doors

•Install an alarm system

•Keep the property looking neat, so it doesn’t give an empty vibe

•Check on it frequently (or have your property manager check, if it’s located interstate)

•To protect yourself against financial blows from squatter activities, confirm you’ve got insurance in place that protects you from damage caused by ‘unknown persons’ and not just tenants

And it has to be said: making sure you buy in an area where rentals are in high demand means your property is more likely to be inhabited by paying tenants, rather than the alternatives.

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23. November 2016 11:18


By gowpropertyblog In Owners Category


We would like to share with you some of the criteria we use when acting as your property manager. First impressions are critical when a prospective tenant inspects a rental property. It is important to decide what sort of tenant you are targeting.
Some tenants will accept living in a property that is not in tip top condition. Naturally, the rent return to the owner will be reflected accordingly. Likewise, other tenants, possibly a professional person or couple, are prepared to pay top dollar if the property is at its absolute best.
The property presentation tips we recommend are:

• Tend to the garden. Mow the lawn and clean the windows, paths, gutters and outside paintwork.

• Repair or replace leaking taps, sticking doors, broken light fittings, loose door handles, rotten floor boards, leaking gutters and torn flywire screens.

• Only paint areas that really need it unless you plan on painting the entire property. Use light, neutral colours, as strong colours may not be to the tenant’s taste.

• If your property is in a noisy area (such as a main road) inspection times should occur when the noise level is low.

• Get rid of odours such as cigarette or pet smells. It may pay to have the carpets and curtains cleaned.

• Open the curtains and blinds to let in the sun and to make the outside view visible.

• If there is a pool, make sure it is sparkling clean so the tenant regards it as an asset, not a burden. If the pool filter needs repairs, get it done.

• Ensure all electrical wiring and power points are safe. This includes the electrical appliances included with the property.

• Take out comprehensive insurance over the property including public liability. You don’t want to be sued by prospective tenants, who accidentally injure themselves, while inspecting the property.

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15. November 2016 10:08


By gowpropertyblog In Owners Category


The Victorian Supreme Court’s ruling on a landlord’s obligation towards repairs may set a precedent.

When a tenant in Gippsland sought the intervention of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) into the state of repair of her rental, the outcome led to an appeal through the Supreme Court. That landmark decision may have implications for landlords across the nation.

A disability pensioner had rented the only home she could afford and the premises were in poor condition, which deteriorated further during her five-year tenancy. The property offered a litany of repair issues, such as holes in the floor, walls and ceilings; dampness and resultant mould and rot; rat infestation; and it was sinking in one corner.

The condition of the property was described as ‘filthy’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘unusable’. However, when the tenant sought compensation for a breach of the landlord’s obligation to “ensure that the rented premises are maintained in good repair”, VCAT ruled in favour of the landlord.

VCAT determined that the scope of the landlord’s duty to the condition of the property was confined to the start of the tenancy, irrespective of the state of repair; that is, if the house was rented out in poor condition, the landlord had no obligation to bring it up to scratch. It is essentially a case of caveat emptor so far as it is presumed that the tenant has examined the premises, noted any defects and has agreed to accept the premises in spite of the defects. There is an oft-quoted dictum: “There is no law against letting a tumbledown house”.

Or is there?

An appeal to the Supreme Court saw the VCAT decision overruled. The court concluded that landlords should ensure a residential premises is maintained in good repair, even if the property is dilapidated when the tenant takes occupancy.

Cases like these are seeing a growing call for minimum standards for health and safety to be imposed on rentals. Only SA and Tasmania have introduced legislation that sets out the minimum standards and certain amenities (such as cooking areas, a bathroom, and hot and cold water) are provided in rental properties.

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