Create a Maintenance Calendar in 2021

Create a Maintenance Calendar in 2021

Create a Maintenance Calendar in 2021

Get organised and keep your property in good condition

 

The holiday season is almost here. So is summer, which for many Kiwis means holidays at the beach or elsewhere. Once those are over, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead: 2021. May it come with fewer global pandemics than the current one.

For any property owner, maintenance is a task—or rather, a collection of tasks—that never ends. Even when nothing is broken and in need of fixing, there is always work to do to ensure that that remains the case for as long as possible. Looking after a property and keeping it in top shape involves many small jobs, some of them repetitive.

All too often, we blink and it’s halfway through the year with most of the required regular maintenance jobs left undone. To avoid ending up in that familiar situation, we have a solution: a maintenance calendar. Setting out a plan for your yearly, quarterly, and monthly jobs makes it much easier to remember to tick them off the list.

A maintenance calendar is a tool that works for many different property owners and situations. Whether you like to do most projects yourself or hire professionals to get the job done, having a calendar is essential to staying on top of the work that needs to happen.

Here are a few pointers for anyone creating a maintenance calendar for their home, rental, or commercial property.

 

Consider the seasons

Many maintenance jobs are seasonal. When scheduling them in, you’ll need to think carefully about timing. Spring, of course, is a great time for an exterior wash, hedge trimming, and other tasks that make your property look fresh for summer. In autumn, you may like to clear out your spouting in preparation for the winter rains and, if you have one, get the chimney swept and ready. Winter is a great time for indoor projects, while summer is the time to do anything requiring good weather: weed spraying and other gardening tasks, roof cleaning, and painting.

 

Find out the frequency

Some home maintenance tasks must be done once a year. Others, every few years. Some should be done every six months, quarterly, or even monthly. To ensure that the property is well looked after and experiences as few breakdowns of various components as possible, it’s important to keep to these timelines.

So, when making a maintenance calendar you should do a little research and find out the recommended frequency for particular tasks. You could talk to industry professionals or google around to read some different opinions. Roof cleaning, for example, should be done about once a year. Deck staining is best done every two to three years. Depending on how well-insulated the building is, window frames may need cleaning every month or two—perhaps moreover winter—to avoid build-up of mould and mildew. Hedge trimming usually happens every four to six months.

Of course, each property is unique and yours may have individual requirements meaning that certain tasks must be done more or less frequently. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask someone with specialist knowledge. Most tradespeople and maintenance services will be able to give you expert advice in their field.

 

Don’t put it off

No schedule is effective if you don’t abide by it. For your 2021 maintenance calendar to get good results, you need to stick to it and tick off each task as it comes up. If you are the type of person who lives and dies by their physical planner, enter all of the dates into your main diary for the year so you don’t forget them. If you organise your life digitally, put the dates for each task into your phone calendar and set reminders a week or so in advance so you have time to buy supplies and/or book in your services.

A general handyman service like Maintain Your Property provides in Wellington can make keeping on top of things smooth and simple. We can do the vast majority of maintenance work that any home, commercial, or rental property will need. We can also provide expert advice and guidance in creating a maintenance calendar for your property. Dealing with just one provider makes maintenance easy—so if you are in the Wellington region, get a free quote!

Should I Repair or Replace my Windows?

Should I Repair or Replace my Windows?

Should I Repair or Replace my Windows?

Make the right call when it comes to window maintenance

 

When we think of broken windows, we tend to think of cracked glass. The solution to that is simple (though not always cheap): a new pane of glass installed and you are good to go. A bigger and more complicated problem that often arises with older homes, however, is issues with the window frames. 

When a window frame or surround is damaged or deteriorated, there are several courses of action that can be taken. The first, of course, is to ignore it. That one’s popular, but it doesn’t end well.

The other two possibilities, broadly speaking, are to repair the window or replace it. Knowing which to opt for is tricky for your average homeowner or landlord, so here are some tips to guide the decision-making process.

 

Repairing a window frame

Repairing a window frame is the most affordable and easy option if the damage is superficial. This can be the case with older wooden window frames, which lend themselves well to minor repairs. For many owners, wooden window frames are a part of the charm of an older home and they would love to retain the original timber where possible. 

Rot is a common problem in wooden window frames, and for an experienced professional it is a relatively simple fix. Hinges, handles, and fittings can be replaced. For the old-fashioned sash windows, it’s not a big job to replace sash cords, weights, and pulleys. Exterior casings can be repaired easily in most cases, and sticky or stuck window frames can be released.

Window frames and sills may also just need an aesthetic refresh. Peeling paint doesn’t mean structural damage, and windows that look like they are past the point of no return may in fact be easy to bring back. Hiring someone to do the tedious but rewarding job of sanding back and repainting wooden joinery can greatly improve the look of a home—you could even opt for a colour change!

 

Replacing a window frame

Sometimes, frames can’t be safely or effectively repaired—or it may work out cheaper in the long run to replace the whole shebang and be done with it. Here are a few situations in which we would recommend you consider replacement over repairs.

First, if your windows are not insulating your home well—losing heat in winter or losing cool air in summer—it may be a good idea to bite the bullet and replace them when they are in need of repair, particularly if the repair will be a pricey one. Double-glazed windows with insulative joinery like uPVC will greatly increase the energy efficiency of a home, making for a more comfortable living environment and reducing long-term energy costs.

Wooden and even aluminium window frames and joinery can warp and become misshapen as they get older. When severely warped, they are likely past the point of no return and in need of replacement. 

Leaking windows are bad news for any property. While there may be a simple fix available for a small leak, if the leaking is extensive it is a good idea to start afresh with a new frame. Water getting inside the house or the walls is the last thing you want as it can cause long-term issues.

If you are still unsure of the best course of action for your window dilemma or would like advice on anything related to window maintenance, get in touch with the Maintain Your Property team. We would love to help you decide on the right solution, and can carry out any maintenance, repairs, or replacements necessary on properties all over the Wellington region.

Rental Property Maintenance: Plan For Success

Rental Property Maintenance: Plan For Success

Rental Property Maintenance: Plan For Success

Maintenance planning for rentals

 

Being a landlord is not a hands-off investment. Under New Zealand law—specifically the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, including changes made by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act of 2019—there are many responsibilities that landlords have to their tenants. 

These range from how bonds are lodged to ensuring quiet enjoyment of a property. However, one of the major responsibilities that will fall on your plate as a landlord is keeping the property maintained and habitable. This means that it should be well insulated, everything should be in good working order, with all services available. Landlords must fix in a timely manner any damage that arises from burglaries, natural events, or fair wear and tear (i.e, damage which is not the direct fault of the tenant).

Beyond fixing what breaks and keeping the home meets all requirements under the law, most landlords like to look after their investments. While there are rental management services that will take care of everything for you, the full service is expensive so many prefer to manage most of the load themselves—and ultimately, the responsibility still does fall on the landlord. 

Remembering to schedule maintenance for a property you don’t live in is not easy! Here are a few suggestions for how to plan and keep to a maintenance schedule and ensure you stay on top of keeping your rental property in great shape.

 

Check the property out between tenants

When you have a chance, go in and have a really good look around. Get a feel for what might need replacing or refreshing in the next while, so you can add it to your maintenance list. It’s important to keep up to date with the condition of everything and this is easiest when it is empty.

If you are not experienced with property maintenance, it’s a good idea to bring someone with you who is. This might be a willing friend or family member, or a trusted professional who can give expert opinions on what needs work, what’s urgent, and what can wait.

 

Make a schedule

And write it down! When you aren’t living in a property, it’s easy to forget that the fences need painting every few years and the filters on the heat pump need cleaning regularly. Put together a calendar of jobs that covers need doing, whether that be every six months, annually, or every five or ten years. A digital calendar generally works best for this, so you can set reminders and plan well in advance. This can be added to as you think of and discover new tasks.

 

Decide on your priorities

As is always the case for any homeowner, whether you live in said home or not, there are many jobs to be done. Sit down and think about how you should prioritise the maintenance tasks for your rental property, and set out your calendar to reflect that. Consider which jobs need to be done to keep the property at required rental standards—those, of course, are top priority.

 

Find a provider

Especially with a rental, it’s important to find tradies and service providers who are polite and professional—as it can be tricky to coordinate having jobs completed while tenants are living in the house. Make sure you are hiring the right person for the right job: qualified plumbers, electricians, gasfitters, and other specialists when required. For general maintenance tasks, a provider like Maintain Your Property is a good option.

Rental property maintenance is one of our specialised services. Often you just need a handyman on call to, install things like smoke alarms and clotheslines, replace locks or hinges, do small building and repair jobs, carry out minor renovations, paint, water blast, clean gutters, replace weatherboards, and more. Our talented and experienced team is professional, friendly, and easy to deal with. This makes maintenance of your rental property a breeze for both you as the landlord and the tenants who live there.

Taking care of a property you don’t live in can be surprisingly tricky, if only for the fact that it’s more difficult to arrange repairs and maintenance from a distance. With the right attitude, an organised approach, and good providers, however, it becomes easily manageable.

Get in touch with our team if you have questions about our rental property maintenance services!

 

How to Make Your Rental Property Healthy Homes Compliant

How to Make Your Rental Property Healthy Homes Compliant

How to Make Your Rental Property Healthy Homes Compliant

Make sure your rental property is compliant with Healthy Homes standards

 

On July 1 2019, the Healthy Homes standards became part of New Zealand law for the 600,000 rental properties throughout the country. 

These standards were designed to ensure every rental property meets a certain range of minimum requirements in terms of insulation, heating, moisture ingress and drainage, ventilation, and draught control. In short, these standards help to ensure that every tenant enjoys a basic level of comfort and wellbeing in their home. 

If you own a rental property in New Zealand, it’s up to you to meet these standards. Here are the key factors in making your rental compliant with the Healthy Homes standards. 

 

Meeting heating standards 

As a landlord, you must provide one or more heaters in the main living room.

This must be a fixed (non-portable) heater that provides enough warmth for the whole room, and this heater cannot be an open fire or a combustion heater. If it is a heat pump or electric heater, there must be a thermostat. 

 

Meeting insulation standards 

Every rental property must have both ceiling and underfloor insulation. 

The levels of insulation requirements actually vary across New Zealand due to the different climate zones, so it’s important to know which zone your property falls under to ensure you meet the standards. 

These standards are measured in R values, which must meet a minimum level for each zone (although the underfloor value is the same across the country). 

Zone 1: Ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3
Zone 2: Ceiling R 2.9, underfloor R 1.3
Zone 3: Ceiling R 3.3, underfloor R 1.3

 

Meeting ventilation standards 

Ventilation standards mean that every rental home must have windows that open in the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. Additionally, bathrooms and kitchens must have extractor fans. 

Also, note that windows in these areas must be able to be propped open in a fixed position, and they must be a minimum size of 5% of the floor area in that room. 

These standards are designed to ensure tenants are able to avoid mould and dampness by properly ventilating their home. This also benefits landlords, as they will be less likely to have to deal with damage caused by mould in the long term. 

 

Meeting moisture ingress and drainage standards

These standards proclaim that all properties must have efficient drainage to remove ground water, surface water, and storm water. Additionally, if your rental property has an enclosed sub-floor space, it must also have a ground moisture barrier. 

This system of water removal must include downpipes, gutters, and drains that remove water from the roof. 

 

Meeting draught stopping standards 

New Zealand landlords must make sure their properties do not have unreasonable holes or gaps in any doors, floors, skylights, windows, walls, or ceilings that cause noticeable draughts. Also, if you have an unused fireplace in your property, it must be closed off or blocked to avoid draughts. 

These standards are in place to avoid making it difficult to heat a home, and to avoid high power bills associated with heating a draughty home. 

Finally, note that there are some exemptions for these standards, and not all standards have taken effect (however they must all be met by July 1 2024). Be sure to check the finer points of each standard and know the compliance dates of each one to ensure your property passes the test on the New Zealand Tenancy Services website

If you need help ensuring your property meets any of these standards, get in touch with Maintain Your Property for a free quote to get started. We offer reliable general handyman skills and home maintenance to assist New Zealand landlords with maintaining and upgrading their properties. 

Do you know your fencing rights?

Do you know your fencing rights?

Do you know your fencing rights?

Know your fencing rights

A big backyard with plenty of grassy space is a Kiwi dream, especially for those with kids or pets who can enjoy playing outdoors. Often, this includes a fence for privacy, security, and protection from neighbourhood noise.

Whether you have an existing fence you’re looking to replace or upgrade, or you’re planning to build a new fence from scratch, it is important to first understand your rights and obligations. Fencing rights in New Zealand outline how neighbours should work together to make fencing decisions and come to an agreement when the fence is located along the adjoining property line.

 

New Zealand fencing rights – and exemptions 

The key fencing right to remember is that the cost of building or upgrading any fence on a shared property boundary must be paid for equally by the occupiers of those properties.

However, there are some exemptions from this rule.

The first is that costs do not have to be shared when there is a written agreement or contract stating so. This is the most common in the case of subdivisions, and you will be able to find details on your initial property paperwork.

Another exemption is if both parties agree to pay different amounts. Perhaps you would like to build a fence and are happy to pay for the entire cost, whereas a neighbour is indifferent and not able to contribute financially. Should you both agree to you covering the full cost, you can move ahead with your build.

Finally, the last exemption for shared fencing costs is if one neighbour damages or destroys the fence. It is then up to that neighbour to pay for the repairs or replacement.

 

Creating a fencing notice 

Once you understand your fencing rights and are ready to move ahead with your projects, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. The first is to create a fencing notice for your neighbour.

To start, this notice must include both of your names and addresses. It must also clearly outline:

  • The shared boundary on which you wish to build a fence
  • The type of fence you’re planning
  • The estimated total cost
  • Who will do the building work
  • How the materials will be attained
  • When work will begin

You must sign and date the notice, and keep a copy for yourself. This notice must also make it clear that your neighbour has 21 days to either accept the project, or submit an objection. If they do not respond or accept within that time, they will be deemed as accepting the proposal, and will be required to pay half the cost.

 

What is a cross-notice?

If your neighbour does not want a new fence or upgrades, they can serve you with a cross-notice objecting to your proposal. This can also be because they think your proposal is excessive or unnecessary in some way.

Keep in mind, your neighbour is only obligated to pay for half of an ‘adequate’ fence. If you decide to build a fence made from pure gold, your neighbour will still only have to pay for half of what a simple wooden fence would cost.

Should the two of you not be able to come to an agreement, you will need to seek arbitration, mediation, or help from a Distributes Tribunal. Fortunately, most neighbours can come to some sort of agreement without requiring third party assistance.

Be sure to view the Fencing Act of 1978 for further details.

If you are looking to create a fencing notice and need a quote for the work, Maintain Your Property can help to provide details around costs, materials, and work start dates. We work locally in the Wellington and Hutt Valley area, and offer free quotes to help you get started.