With summer rapidly approaching, one real estate institute has warned property managers about the dangers of bushfire season, highlighting how PMs can play an influential role in raising awareness and preventing property damage.
The Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) published the warning, along with recommendations from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) for ensuring homes are bushfire-prepared.
The DFES urges immediate action, including preparing firebreaks, ensuring driveway access is clear, fitting wire screens and shutters to protect properties from ember attack, and blocking gaps under the floor, roof, eaves, vents and wall cladding.
REIWA Property Management Network co-chair Kathryn Massey believes property managers can play an influential role in preventing fire destruction.
“It is being proactive, and it shows the property manager actually caring about what they are doing,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“We will send out a flyer to agencies suggesting things like ‘clear out your gutter’. All we can do is advise people to do these things. We can always inform landlords – whether they take it up or not is on their own heads if something happens,” she said.
Ms Massey said in her own business, she offers to organise prevention measures for landlords.
“As property managers, I don’t see why we can’t organise to have their gutters cleaned, or to have firebreaks done at their property for them,” she said.
“It can all then come through on their rental statement, and that work becomes a tax deduction for them as well.
“We would only offer something like that if it was a standard, across-the-board job that we could organise with a tradesman. So if they had a property with intricacies, that would be different,” she added.
Ms Massey said it is particularly important to forewarn overseas landlords, who may not have access to local news or council flyers.
“At least if we can keep them informed, we have a better chance of having things fire-proofed.”