As a window cleaner, I believe windows are one of the more underrated property features.
Guest post – Paul Routledge, owner/operator of Twenty20 Window Cleaning.
Picture this: You own a high-end beachfront rental property with stunning ocean views. However, because salt air comes off the ocean, the windows and large sliding glass doors that face out to the magnificent view can be covered with a salty residue.
The view that made your property so special is impeded and diminished by the dirty glass. From this one example alone, it’s easy to see how window cleaning is crucial to maintain the value of your investment as a property owner.
Read on to learn more about the value in window cleaning, who the responsibility falls on and some practical tips for help you keep your windows clean.
How clean windows can increase or decrease your property’s value
Can regular window cleaning have a direct impact on the value of your property? The short answer is yes. Let’s take a look at how and why it can affect a property’s value.
- When you build or renovate a property, windows and glass represent a substantial portion of your budget. One window, window frame and screen can cost hundreds. The average home has thousands of dollars of glass installed. It makes sense that you would protect and maintain this investment with regular cleaning and maintenance.
- Windows and glass can make or break the ambience. Have windows or doors that face out to a view or act as a feature? It would seem logical to clean these assets for maximum impact.
- If you decide to sell your property and you’ve maintained the windows and glass, these aspects will have a big impact on potential buyers. If cleaned and maintained, glass and frames don’t age as fast as other areas. We’ve seen a 30-year-old piece of glass that looks as good as new because it has been well looked after.
To explain this point further, let’s consider an interesting analogy. A nice house could have a comparable cost to, let’s say, a high-end sports car, maybe a Ferrari or Lamborghini. If you bought a shiny new Ferrari, you’d do everything to keep that car maintained, clean and in good condition.
There are certain aspects you’d give special attention to, for example, you might invest in a good set of wheel rims that make the whole car look special. Along with the rest of the car, you’d clean and maintain the rims so that they continue to look great, perform well and preserve the vehicle’s prestige.
Windows and glass could be compared to those tyre rims. They need to be cleaned and maintained regularly. This will mean that your home or your investment property continues to look special, and you’ll be protecting your investment.
Are landlord or renters responsible for window cleaning?
Now that we’ve established glass doors and windows add value to your property, we arrive at another question. From the property owner’s perspective, who is responsible for window cleaning and maintenance?
This is a tricky question to answer as there are different factors involved. It’s worth checking out the Australian Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website for more information. Below is a short breakdown, in accord with RTA regulations.
If you lease the property out on a long-term basis.
As a landlord, you’re responsible for repairing general wear and tear on your property, whether it’s a routine check or an emergency. As general window cleaning wouldn’t be considered a ‘repair’, it often falls on the tenants to maintain their glass windows and doors. Failure to do so could affect their rental bond return. Some landlords will include mandatory professional window cleaning as a lease agreement term.
A property owner would be responsible if a window has become faulty due to its age or property wear-and-tear. For example, the aged silicone seals holding the pane are causing the window to leak water.
If you rent the property out for vacations or on a short-term basis.
Tenants would not be expected to carry out window cleaning and maintenance. The responsibility for window cleaning would fall on the owner or agency that cares for the property.
The property is in a complex managed by a Body Corporate.
State law will define what the Body Corporate is required to do about the building maintenance. For example, Queensland requires a building complex to have a Building Format Plan that designates a building or complex’s common property. The Body Corporate is usually required to upkeep the areas designated as common property.
For example, a building may have some windows only accessible by rope while others are accessible on both sides via a balcony or patio. The windows only accessible by rope, in many cases, would be the Body Corporate’s responsibility to maintain. The windows that are accessible by the tenants on both sides would be the tenant’s responsibility.
Again, if you are unsure about where you stand in regard to window cleaning and maintenance on your property check out the information at the Residential Tenancies Authority, or you can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to adjudicate on a dispute regarding property maintenance.
Practical window cleaning tips for property investors
At this point, you’ll know more about what responsibility falls on your shoulders as a property owner. Some practical tips can help you get the most out of your DIY window cleaning or your professional window cleaners.
- Get a free onsite quote. Most professional window cleaners will go to your property and give you a free quote. Having them view the property will protect you from hidden costs and allow you to get other quotes if you’re not happy with the price.
- Cut costs with a DIY clean. If you decide to go down this route, get yourself a good squeegee. A quality squeegee is key to cleaning your windows properly without damaging them.
- Have a professional window cleaner do the difficult work. Want to cut some costs by cleaning your windows yourself, but have a section only accessible by ladder? It’s often possible to have a professional window cleaner handle these windows, while you do the rest.
- Don’t just hose off your windows. If you hose off your windows and leave the water to sit and dry on the glass, you risk causing ‘hard-water stains’. This occurs when mineral particles in unpurified water etch themselves into the glass surface, permanently leaving what looks like hard-water marks. If you choose to hose your windows off, use an old squeegee to flick off any leftover water.
- Aim to have your windows cleaned at least twice a year. As professional window cleaners, we have clients who have their windows cleaned every six weeks and some who wait to have their windows cleaned annually. I would personally recommend to not wait more than six to nine months to have all glass on your property cleaned, and if you have a seaside property, no more than four months.
Reminder: As a landlord, window cleaning is a necessary outdoor jobs that can help to maintain your home’s value.