Who is responsible for cleaning the gutters in a rental property?

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Who is responsible for cleaning the gutters in a rental property?

Renting for the first time and unsure of your responsibilities when it comes to roof and gutter maintenance? This is an interesting topic to clarify, as there are different considerations involved. Tenants, landlords and agents need to be aware of certain rules and guidelines throughout a tenancy that will help avoid problems and miscommunications. It is worthwhile having a look at the Australian Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website for more information, as well as checking your lease agreement terms.

The RTA says property managers/owner’s are responsible for repairing general wear and tear on their property. They would be responsible if the gutters had become faulty or damaged due to age or wear-and-tear.

Some buildings may be more susceptible to leaking roofs and gutter blockages. This is due to elements such as age of the property, location, and structural design. In these situations there is a higher likelihood the landlord will be accountable.

In the instance damages arise from the tenant, (the RTA gives an example of a child’s toy blocking the drain), the tenant may be liable for the cost of the damages and removal of the problem-causing item.  

Ultimately, it is the property manager/owner’s responsibility to ensure the property is fit to live in, and generally the duty falls on them to arrange repairs.

While abiding by entry rules, the property manager/owner should liase with the tenant to agree upon a favourable time for any repairs to be completed.

It is the tenant’s responsibility to notify the property agent/owner as soon as any issues become apparent. The tenant may be in breach of their responsibilities if they fail to do so! In a highly competitive rental property market, it is good to keep a good track record. There is an age-old expression, “better an empty house than a bad tenant.” Every three months as part of the routine property inspection, the property manager/owner is supposed to check that the property is in good, liveable condition, and doesn’t require any repairs. This is an opportune time to discuss any matters that you need to draw the property agent/ owner’s attention to.

There can be more considerations in a body corporate setting. Common areas by-laws apply. A body corporate may also be accountable if it does not keep common property in good condition, and that results in damages. It is important to note maintenance is not the same thing as improvement however. For further information regarding body corporate maintenance, it is worth checking the Queensland Government’s website, which can be found here.

Hopefully, these points shed some light on understanding your lease agreement. It can be challenging deciphering who is responsible for what, especially if you are new to the game. Both tenants/ agents/ owners have responsibilities throughout a tenancy. The RTA is always a good point of reference, or to find further information about your legal obligations – have a look at the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, which can be accessed here.  Regardless if you are a tenant or an owner, the gutters and roof of a property need to be cleaned and maintained regularly. This will mean that your home or your investment property continues to look great, and you’ll be protecting yourself from damages. It is recommended all parties communicate directly. Reaching a common understanding in the agreement is usually the fastest and most straightforward way to sort out matters while maintaining relationships.

Why Roof Reports Can Be Useful After a Gutter Clean…

We attended a real estate property to clean the gutters and found the valley flashing had slipped into the gutter. This left an opening at the ridge cap and a blockage point in the gutter.

Slipped flashing, a potential blockage point

The Property Managers use our reports to manage the maintenance on the properties. Using this report, the manager would be able to then contract a roofing plumber to rectify the issue.

When we complete a gutter clean, we provide a roof and gutter report. We do this for every job, residential or commercial.

It becomes a very useful tool to everyone for maintenance. Every year a gutter clean is carried out and a check is completed over the roof. If there is an issue that requires further investigation or work, you are notified in this report.

Most people do not get on to their roof and therefore would not know if there was a potential hazard/problem that required attention until it was too late and damage had been caused as a result.

We also provide before and after photos of the work. These can be a valuable tool for insurance companies as it creates a file of evidence to your maintenance on your property.

Regular gutter cleaning with Gutter-vac Tasmania is more than just a gutter clean.

Who is responsible on a rental property?

We have lots of questions over who is responsible in the event of a fall from the roof when work is being done on a rental property.

The issue of the primary or principal contractor is one that is often misunderstood and one that many real estate agents, property managers or landlords/owners are unaware of.

Because I am also the director of our sister company, Ballantyne Safety, a registered RTO that trains people to work at heights, including all of our Gutter-Vac franchisees, I have to keep up with all of these regulations and possible instances of who is responsible if something does go wrong.

I’m often consulted on matters for other companies and insurance companies when things do go wrong.  This is why our Gutter-Vac franchisees are not only trained to work at heights, but also use all of the specialised equipment and are fully insured for all work they do.  We want our franchisees to go home safe each night to their families and for our clients to have the peace of mind that the work is being done in a safe manner.

I recently recorded some videos on the different scenarios regarding rental properties and who is responsible so if you have a rental property or you are managing a rental property for a client, then these videos will be ‘must watch’ videos for you.

I certainly hope they help you understand this often misunderstood topic.

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