Tag Archives | rentals in brisbane

Changing Homes – Change the Locks!

locksWhether you’re buying or renting it’s always a good idea to have your locks changed as soon as practical when you move into a new premise.

This eliminates any concerns that others may have a key and access to your home and its contents. Let’s face it: you will never know if a relative or cleaner may still have a key!

Remember, when renting you will need to seek permission from the agent or landlord PRIOR to changing the locks and a full set of keys will have to be left with the agent or landlord.

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Feeling the Heat: How to Avoid Burns and Scalds in Tenancy Homes…

burns and scaldsHot water burns is a potential risk to be managed in all homes including rental properties. A medical practitioner, Dr Barker gives this example:

“An 18-month-old child in the bath of a rental property grabbed the hot water tap and turned it on before her mother had a chance to react,” Dr Barker said.

“The girl sustained deep burns to her chest. At 60 degrees Celsius it takes just one to five seconds for a scald to  cause full thickness burns.”

Dr Barker said at 55 degrees it makes more than 10 seconds to sustain a full thickness burn, yet at 50 degrees it takes a full five minutes to sustain a similar burn.

For this reason, Queensland law requires new and renovated buildings to have water outlets used for personal hygiene, such as bathroom taps and showers, regulated to 50 degrees.

New instant hot water systems are factory pre-set to 50 degrees.

Existing instant hot water units can be turned down to 50 degrees, saving money and, potentially, lives.

Storage hot water systems are required to operate at 60 degrees Celsius due to the risk of Legionnaire’s disease, however property Owners can install tempering devices to reduce the post-storage hot water temperature.

Source : RTA Newsletter (December 2011/January 2012)

 

 

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Ignoring Requests for Repairs Can Cost Landlords a Bomb!

repairsPoorly completed repairs have sparked an increase in dispute resolution requests between tenants and lessors.

A Brisbane tenant, Siobhan, spent weeks trying to resolve a problem with an oven before asking the RTA for help.

Shortly after moving into her apartment, tenant Siobhan noticed that the dial on the oven was worn. As she could not be sure of the oven’s temperature or setting, she wasn’t able to use the oven. Siobhan told her agent about the problem, and it took 6 months for the oven dial to be replaced.

The oven then broke down completely. Siobhan phoned the agent, and a few weeks later sent him a written maintenance request.

The following month an electrician came and said the thermostat had to be replaced. Six weeks after that, the oven was repaired, but the face plate overheated and risked burning anyone who accidentally touched it.

Siobhan immediately notified the agent. The electrician returned 2 weeks later and determined the oven needed a new face plate.

At this point, Siobhan lodged a Dispute resolution request (Form 16) with the RTA and an RTA conciliator facilitated discussion between the tenant and agent.

Siobhan sought $55 per week rent reduction, dated from her written notification to the agent and continuing until the oven was fixed or the tenancy agreement ended.

After negotiations in which offers were put forward by both sides, the owner said he was willing to allow a rent reduction of $38 per week for the agreed period.

Siobhan accepted the offer and the conciliator drew up a Conciliation Agreement, which became legally binding once it had been signed by Siobhan, the agent and the owner.

RTA Senior Conciliator Mandi Lewis said this case was part of a growing number of disputes prompted by general repairs and maintenance.

“It is the lessor or agent’s responsibility to maintain the property in good condition, while the tenant must keep the property clean and undamaged,” Ms Lewis said.

“If repairs are needed, most agents require the tenant to log a maintenance request.”

She said that if the problem wasn’t fixed the tenant could issue the lessor/agent a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11).

If no agreement is reached during the RTA’s free dispute resolution process, an application could be lodged to have the matter heard by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) where an adjudicator would determine the outcome.

Source:  RTA April – May 2012 Newsletter

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Simple Steps to Stop Balcony Falls!

balconyFour children fall from Queensland balconies every week, but property managers and lessors can take steps to minimise this risk.

Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (QISU) Director, Dr Ruth Barker, said falls usually happen when a child climbs over or falls through a balustrade. Children can also topple from furniture placed on balconies.

Building codes have been changed over the years to reduce this risk. While the changes are not retrospective, older buildings can be altered to lower the risk of severe injury.

There are simple solutions, such as fitting materials to reduce balustrade gaps to 12.5cm and minimising opportunities for small children to climb or fall through balcony railings.

Dr Barker said that a two year-old boy nearly fell from the eighth floor balcony of a rented riverside apartment recently. The one-metre high balustrade had a concrete ledge 30cm off the ground.

“The child was being supervised on the balcony but he managed to get a foot up onto the ledge,” Dr Barker said.

“Thankfully, the child’s father caught him just in time.”

Dr Barker said there were three sliding doors from the apartment onto the balcony. None had child-resistant locks, so it was difficult for the parents to restrict child access.

In this case the property manager or lessor could fit materials to cover the lower part of the balustrade and child-resistant locks could be added to the sliding doors.

 

Source : RTA Newsletter (December 2011/January 2012)

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Giving Back the Bond During a Dispute… Who’s Responsible?

bondAt the end of a tenancy most people talk with one another and reach agreement about how the bond will be refunded.

However, in cases where there is a dispute about the bond, it is common for the disagreement to involve only some of the total bond money.

In these cases, the RTA suggests any undisputed money should be released as soon as the tenancy has ended.

RTA Rental Bond Services Executive Manager Kylie Lewis said that it makes sense for any undisputed funds to be released promptly.

“If there are amounts which are undisputed, we encourage people to send us a Refund of rental bond (Form 4) releasing these amounts as soon as possible after the tenancy ends,” Ms Lewis said.

“The dispute may involve only $200 of a $2,400 bond. Releasing the undisputed $2,200 avoids unnecessary hardship for the tenant,” Ms Lewis said.

She said the undisputed amounts can then be distributed as appropriate, without having to wait until the dispute process is finalised.

Source:  RTA April – May 2012 Newsletter

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