Are landlords or tenants responsible for gutter cleaning?

“I need a gutter clean. But is the landlord or responsible for clearing gutters during a tenancy, and why?”

Kaylee Ferguson, Department Manager for The Property Exchange in Subiaco, WA, explains where responsibility falls for gutter cleaning:

“During a tenancy, the landlord/owner is responsible for cleaning the gutters,” she said.

“This [gutter cleaning] is a maintenance item that the owner is required to undertake as part of their upkeep on a property.”

Kaylee recommended a gutter clean every year to avoid any resultant damage occurring to the property.

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Why should I have my gutters cleaned?

The gutters on your rental property collect rainwater from the roof. They carry it away from the foundation of the property through downspouts.

Over time, gutters can become clogged with leaves, insects, nests, sticks and other obstructions – particularly over the winter months when storms can affect nearby trees.

Regular maintenance and gutter clearing are essential for a couple of reasons. When debris builds up, it stops your gutters from functioning the way they should.

If you haven’t given much thought to your gutters, don’t worry. You’re not alone! Gutter cleaning is pretty easy to put off. It’s not an easy chore to do, let alone an enjoyable one – but it is important.

When should I have my gutters cleaned?

It’s relatively easy to know when your gutters need a clean. A well-built gutter will be able to handle most normal periods of rainfall. If you notice that your gutters are beginning to drip or overflow, it’s a sign that they need a clean (or a professional inspection). 

You may also notice that birds will hang around your roof if they spot pooling water caused by blocked guttering.

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As a general rule, it’s worth having your gutters cleaned once a year. The best time to look at them is in autumn or winter, once the trees surrounding your home have shed their leaves.

However, you may need to clean your gutters more than once a year. Do you have pine or eucalyptus trees near your property? These trees shed throughout the year and often during the hot summer months. If leaves start blocking your gutters during summer, you could have a fire risk. Clearing debris is essential if you live in a bushfire-prone area.

Property owners: DIY safety tips for gutter cleaning

Gutter cleaning and maintenance can keep your investment property safe from potential storm damage. Regular cleaning will help extend your gutters’ life and prevent further damage to the building structure. 

  • Safety first: Accessing your gutters can be dangerous. Ensure you use proper safety equipment to avoid the risk of falling and sustaining an injury. If you use a ladder to access your gutter, ensure it’s stable. Consider having someone assist you with cleaning and maintaining the gutters. Having someone stand below to help secure the ladder can be a big help.
  • Use the right tools: Your local hardware store should have plenty of options to help you clean your gutters. Invest in a good pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands while you clean. Think about grabbing items like a cylindrical brush to scrub the gutters or a gutter scoop to remove debris.
  • Assess the condition of your gutters: There are a few red flags to look for once you’ve cleared the debris from your gutters. Can you see any holes, cracks or broken brackets? If so, consider arranging for a roof repair specialist to inspect and repair your roof. Unchecked issues can potentially damage other parts of your home.

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Kaylee Ferguson

Kaylee Ferguson is a local real estate agent for The Property Exchange in Subiaco, Western Australia.