Landlords warned to prepare their properties as bushfire season approaches

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While it isn’t officially summer, landlords have been issued a timely reminder to ensure their properties are ready for the upcoming bushfire season.

Temperatures in some parts of Australia are expected to reach close to 40 degrees late this week, an occurrence that could become more common this year, with predictions from the Australian Bureau of Meterology (BOM) of a hot and dry summer.

The current BOM outlook from November through to January predicts a period of above average temperatures and below average rainfall for much of the country.

“The risk of bushfire increases as the mercury jumps in the warmer months, especially with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a hotter than average summer,” Raine & Horne executive chairman Angus Raine said.

“There is very little we can do about our harsh summer climate; however, there is plenty we can do to ensure our homes are safe this bushfire season, whether we live on Sydney's leafy North Shore or near a major National Park,” Raine said.

Rosemary Alexander, owner and licensee of Roses Property Management, agreed and said preparing a property for bushfire season doesn’t have to be an arduous task.

“The main thing is making sure the property isn’t too cluttered and is neat and tidy,” Alexander said.

“Things like making sure the gutters are clean, any trees or plants that are overgrown are trimmed back and there are no piles of leaves or other vegetation lying around,” she said.

While turning a property from a fire hazard into one that’s fire safe may not be the world’s hardest task, Alexander said it’s just another area where having a good property manager can make life easier.

“It’s just another thing where you’ll see the benefits if you have a good property manager,” Alexander said.

“If you’ve got someone who keeps an eye on things and does regular inspections then things aren't going to get out of hand.

“Gardens are usually the responsibility of the tenant as well, so if you’ve got a good property manager who has a good relationship with your tenant, it will be easier to try and get them to pitch in and keep on top of things.”

While keeping on top of fire hazards may be relatively simple, Alexander recommends landlords check their insurance and take extra precautionary steps if needed.

“If you’re in town your insurance probably covers bushfires, but if you’re in a fire-prone area you should double check what you’re covered for.

“If you are in a rural area you should make sure there is a good supply of water available and working pumps so if needed the tenant can do what they can to douse any fires.”

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