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Protecting your investment

Choosing a rental agent that you trust to look after your investment property is an important decision; after all, besides your own home, it’s likely to be one of the biggest assets you have. When you hand over the management of your property to a professional, you want to know that all aspects of the Residential Tenancy’s Act are being met. It is the job of your rental agent to facilitate this. Besides providing a pest free residence with working utilities, maintaining the property and attending to repairs in a timely manner, it is also your responsibility to make sure you meet all requirements of tenant safety. One of the key aspects that comes in to play here is firstly, ensuring that smoke detectors are fitted within the home, and secondly that they’re functioning properly.

This is one of the instances where your property manager’s affiliated partnerships can come in to effect. The benefit in working with specialised companies is to ensure that their requirements are covered to a point that is above and beyond the accepted standard. An example of this is a company called Smarthouse Australia who work closely with Noel Jones rental teams from the Balwyn, Blackburn, Mitcham and Wantirna offices. At present over 80% of leased rentals are currently using Smarthouse Australia to maintain the fire alarms within their managed investment properties, and a number of other Noel Jones offices are looking to offer this service to their landlords.

You might ask what the benefit is of an agency outsourcing tasks of this nature. To appropriately determine if a smoke alarm is correctly operational and functioning at its recommended level, there are a number of steps that need to be followed. It’s not just pressing a button to get a sound. Firstly, the testing or sensing chamber needs to be tested with a simulated smoke environment. This is usually done via an aerosol testing unit that will disperse particulate matter in the air. This particulate matter will then flow through the sensing chamber to disturb the ionic flow or photo optic beam which should trigger the alarm to go into siren. Once this occurs, the pitch and tone level of the siren needs to be measured to ensure operation at or above the level required. Australian standard 3786 specifies it should be at a level of 85 decibels or above. In addition to this, the Fire Protection Association of Australia recommends a reading of 94 decibels or above should be evident 1.5 metres from the unit.

With smoke detectors now being classed as an important fixture and fitting of a property, it makes sense that they would be handled by a professional, in a similar manner to electrical or gas appliances. It’s also interesting to note that as a landlord, you may start to find it difficult to get Landlord Insurance without an agreement like this in place with your rental manager or agency.

If you have an existing property being tenanted, it might be time to reconfirm arrangements such as seeking specialised service professionals. And if you’re looking for an agent for a new property, or are making a switch, the partnership with companies such as Smarthouse Australia might just help you make the all-important decision on who you’ll trust to manage your asset, as well as the safety of your tenants.