It’s storm season again and although natural events are hard to predict, we all want to ensure we are prepared as best we can be should a natural event or disaster occur. In Queensland, storm season has become synonymous with property damage including structural issues, flooding and also loss of rental income and residence due to damages.
Storm or “wet” season runs from the 1st of November 2020 through to the 30th of April 2021. This year we have already seen more storms and rainfall than last season due to the developing La Nina like weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean.
Tenant & Landlord Responsibility
It is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure a rental property is maintained and kept in good working order. This is also dependent on the property manager providing proactive advice to the landlord regarding the current condition of the property, including the treatment of the property by the tenant. The tenant has an obligation to report any maintenance to the landlord or property manager too.
The landlord is responsible for repairing or replacing fixtures which have deteriorated due to fair wear and tear, and ensuring maintenance requests are actioned within a reasonable timeframe to ensure the property is kept in good repair, and the safety of the tenants. If a property has been damaged during a storm, the property manager and/or landlord are also responsible for completing the necessary repairs and maintenance to bring the property back to a liveable condition, which is also compliant with the relevant health and safety laws.
To be prepared for storm season, landlords should:
- Authorise for any reported low hanging branches and or overgrown trees to be trimmed back and have the green waste removed
- Authorise the cleaning and waste removal of gutters and downpipes if reported as full or overflowing by tenants
- Fix any broken/cracked windows (unless damaged by a tenant whereby it is their responsibility to have the repair completed) and replace missing louvers to ensure all windows can be secured
- Remove excess green waste on the property including dead or fallen trees
- Get an up to date routine report from their property manager and assess any priority maintenance
- Check the landlord insurance policy is current and adequate to cover storm damage including loss of rent if the property becomes unliveable
As a landlord, you are responsible for house/building and landlord insurance. If it is a furnished property, you are also responsible for contents insurance, but not for insuring the tenant’s personal possessions. Landlords should seek a comprehensive insurance policy to cover them in the event of storm damage and loss of rent. Although tenants are responsible for ensuring their own possessions and contents compulsory contents insurance isn’t mandatory for tenants in Queensland.
Top Storm Tips for Tenants:
- Check the property is secure and report any repairs or maintenance required
- Keep an eye on any new or reoccurring marks to the ceiling or adjoining timbers which may indicate a roof leak
- Take out appropriate contents insurance where appropriate
- Tie down or remove items on the property which may become a hazard during a storm
- Be familiar with the emergency contractor details as noted in the General Tenancy Agreement as well as the local SES service 000 in the case of an emergency that requires fire station, ambulance or police assistance
- Listen out for storm warnings and updates in your local area
Although no one can predict the weather perfectly, its important for both tenants and landlords to be mindful of one another and work collaboratively via their property manager to minimise risk to the property and ensure the residence is clean, safe and compliant.
We recommend visiting the following websites for useful tips and information on preparing for natural disasters:
At LOCATIONS estate agents, we would like to ensure both our landlords and tenants are well prepared for natural disasters or events that may unfold, so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.