Landlords

Helpful Information and Tips for Landlords

Getting ready for tax time 

Tax time is slowly but surely creeping up and now is a great time to start thinking about what you need to get ready in preparation for meeting with your tax accountant. 

When it comes to your investment property and tax time, preparation is key. Having a detailed system in place (and sticking to it) can help save you hours of time and stress in preparing for meeting your accountant.  

Let’s be serious … our intentions at the beginning of the financial year may have been great but keeping up that order and discipline may have fallen by the wayside. That’s okay, it just means that now is the time to start gathering all your relevant information – and the sooner you get started, the sooner you can tick that job off the list. 

First things first, categorise your receipts. If you’ve got in the habit of doing this – great! If not, it’s a good habit to get in to! 

If you own multiple investment properties, you may find it useful to begin to separate paperwork and receipts into each property. You can further categorise things such as strata levies, rates and maintenance, property management costs, rates, and water etc.

 Find a system that works for you, and if you are not sure, ask your accountant. 

Include proof of your rental income and make note of any periods where your property was being used for personal use; or if vacant, include proof of efforts to be rented out during that time.  

If you’ve recently purchased an investment property, you may need to provide proof of purchase of sale – this may include contracts, conveyancing documents, borrowing expense, title deeds etc.  

Consulting with your tax accountant to ensure you have all the necessary documentation is important and your preparation will help them be able to get the best return possible for you.  

This year may look and feel a little different from years before because of COVID-19, so if you are unsure if and how this may affect you in relation to your property, speak with your accountant. 

The ATO has also published a range of support documents in relation to COVID-19 and tax time obligations and you can find it on their website by visiting https://www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/ 

Your RE/MAX property manager is here to support you through this time, and if you require any records or documentation relating to your investment property, can happily provide this to you. 

Pool maintenance during winter

 Many of us were recently given a rude reminder that winter is on its way! As the cooler weather sneaks or hurtles itself into our lives, it is clear we are now heading into a colder time of the year when our first thoughts might not be on swimming pools. 

However, it is important to keep up scheduled maintenance on pools during the cooler months and a good time to take stock of the pool at your investment property. 

If your property has a pool, it is important to ensure that pool maintenance is explained clearly at the beginning of a tenancy to remove any ‘grey area’ surrounding responsibility. Pool maintenance should be covered under special conditions in a tenancy agreement.  

If any major work needs to be done to the pool, winter is generally a very good time to consider this. Your tenants are less likely to miss taking a dip. Pumps and filters can remain off for longer. 

Generally, tenants will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance, such as clearing leaves and keeping the pool topped up. Your property manager will ensure that new tenants are aware of this and this will also be part of their regular property inspections. 

Landlords will generally be required to supply equipment such as pumps, vacuums, chlorinators and scoops, and servicing and maintenance of pool pumps and other installed equipment should be maintained by property owners. 

If your tenants are finding they need to top the pool up excessively in summer, you might consider investing in a pool cover to help with water evaporation.  

One of the most important requirements of pool ownership is ensuring safe and secure pool barriers and fencing. Landlords will need to ensure that pool barriers comply, and any reported damage be rectified immediately.  

All properties require a pool safety certificate, to be completed by a licensed pool safety inspector, and it is the property owners’ responsibility to ensure this is up to date. Certification needs to be completed in accordance with legal requirements – which may vary from at least every two years in Queensland, three years in New South Wales and New Zealand, or four years in Victoria and Western Australia, for example, so check the rules.  

The pool may not be getting much of a workout during winter, but it is important to continue keeping up with maintenance to ensure, come summer, the pool is at its best and your tenants can enjoy it safely. 

Curb appeal 

It’s worth the attention These days, your tenant’s first introduction to your property, and their potential new home, is likely to be online. This is fantastic, as it gives your property a chance to be seen by a larger tenant pool.  

Online viewing has been even more significant during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to subsequent restrictions being put in place. Thankfully, we are seeing these restrictions being relaxed allowing potential tenants the ability to visit properties in person as a follow up to that first online encounter. 

It is good to remember how important first impressions are when you are trying to attract a tenant. One of the first things to catch their eye when they get to your property is the way in which it presents itself to the street – its curb appeal. 

If the front of the property is looking a little … unloved, a day or so sprucing up its appearance may make a big difference.  

While the driveway and façade of your property may not be its defining feature, it is the first thing the prospective tenant will see; and first impressions are important. If you want your property to look a clean and attractive home for your next tenant, and the outside is a great place to start. 

Weekend jobs to spruce up the curb – for you or a maintenance crew: 

• Overgrown gardens can be easily transformed with a little muscle. Removing fallen branches, pulling weeds and clearing leaf litter can make a big visual impact. Fresh mulch can instantly lift a garden’s appearance. 

• Renew your garden beds by adding some easy-care plants; or if the current border is looking a bit tired, update garden edging.

• Pressure clean the driveway and footpaths. Not only will they look better, but a thorough clean will remove mould and dirt, making them safer under foot. 

• A fresh coat of paint on the front door, or polishing door fixtures will instantly lift the entry. 

• Clear any unnecessary clutter from the front of the property. Your previous tenants may have left a few potted plants here and there, or a ‘welcome’ mat that has seen better days. Make sure they are adding to your property’s appeal. 

Presenting your property in its best light by making the exterior and entryway an inviting space may be easier than you think.

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