Qld Smoke Alarm Legislation – what you need to know as a landlord

Changes were made in 2017 to legislation around the requirements for smoke alarms and it impacts every home owner.  For landlords these changes mean that that all QLD rental properties must meet these strict new guidelines by 2022.

According to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, “Landlords are responsible for the installation of smoke alarms that comply with new Smoke Alarm legislation, introduced on 1 January, 2017.”

In addition, existing smoke alarms manufactured more than 10 years ago, as well as any smoke alarms that do not operate when tested, must be replaced with photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with Australian Standard 3786–2014. All smoke alarms should be interconnected within the dwelling.

For the best protection, smoke alarms should be installed on each storey:

  • in every bedroom
  • in hallways that connect bedrooms and the rest of the dwelling
  • if there is no hallway, between the bedrooms, and
  • if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm should be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

Any person can legally install a battery powered smoke alarm. However, 240-volt smoke alarms connect to the electricity supply and must be connected by a licenced electrician.

For more information on smoke alarm requirements if you are renovating, selling or a home owner go to the Qld Fire and Emergency Services website here.

Buying a property with your partner

The difference between ‘Joint Tenants’ and ‘Tenants in Common’

Buying a property is an exciting time for you and your partner and is often another milestone achieved on your journey together.

When it comes to the transfer documents though, do you purchase it with your partner as ‘Joint Tenants’ or as ‘Tenants in Common’ and will it be in equal shares or different shares, such as 70/30?

Joint Tenants

According to the Qld Law Handbook, “joint tenancy is a method of owning property that allows all tenants to have their names on the title deed as co-owners.  The effect of joint tenancy is that upon the death of one of the joint tenants, their share goes automatically to the other joint tenant/s”.  Joint tenancy is most commonly taken in the case of people in relationships who wish the property to go to their partner in the event of their death.

In the event of a death of one partner, the rule of survivorship is applied, so even if the couple had split and a new will had been made, this rule will override the directions contained in the will.  For this reason, if you have property that is owned by join tenants and you have split as a couple, but wish to retain the property together, you should speak to your solicitor about the best way to handle this.

Tenants in Common

Tenants in Common is where each of the parties has a share that is generally relative to the amount they have contributed to purchase price. In the event of the death of one of the tenants in common, the share of the deceased will be distributed in accordance with their will.  It is important to be aware that the bank however, will deem both parties to be responsible for the debt and if one person defaults they may seek the shortfall from the other party. This option is used mostly between friends or business partners.

What is right for you

While most mortgage/transfer documents are prepared as joint tenants, it is important that you speak to your solicitor and receive professional legal advice about what is right for you in your circumstances.  It is also important you obtain accounting and tax advice as to what is financially a better option for you.

Similarly, in the event of a relationship split or the death of your partner it is important to let your solicitor know so they can provide advice appropriate for your situation and make amendments as necessary.  Your solicitor and accountant are both important business persons to have on your team and seeking their advice early on may save you money years later.

Purchasing property, whether it be your first one or if you are adding to your portfolio, is a time for celebration as you start to create wealth.  However, having the right team around you to assist you in the process can take some of the stress out of the transaction.  At Triple Zero Property we do as little or as much as you need and also have brokers, accountants and solicitors who are all at arm’s length that can also assist you on your investment journey.  Call us today for a no obligation chat to see how we can help you.

Disclaimer: This article is provider for general information and educative purposes in summary form. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Appropriate legal advice should be obtained in actual situations.

Subsea Cable for Sunshine Coast as more opportunities are created

It is an exciting time to be living or owning property on the Sunshine Coast.  And with last week’s announcement that Australia’s next subsea cable will land on the Sunshine Coast is news that will reshape this area like no other game changer project has before.

So, what is all the fuss about and why is it good news those of us who live here?  Subsea cables carry digital data using optical fibre technology. The data they carry includes telephone and internet and they are vital to the national economy.

The agreement that has been struck between the Sunshine Coast Council and RTI Connectivity Pty Ltd is to build a new international submarine cable that will deliver Australia’s fastest telecommunications connection to Asia and second fastest to the United States.

Subsea cables deliver data – and they deliver it fast. For this reason, internet giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, invest heavily in them.

It is not surprising that the demand for subsea cables continues to rise – and this was very much the case when several years ago the search started for the right location on the Eastern seaboard of Australia that had the right subsea landscape on which to lay the cable and also the best location to where it would be landed.

According to Submarine Networks World 2017, “Having a cable land in your city would not only bring an instant boost to international connectivity, but also economic benefits as they become more attractive to companies looking to set up an office.” Further, a subsea cable and associated facilities on the Sunshine Coast is estimated to “deliver up to: AUD 900 million+ annually to the Queensland economy.”

The Sunshine Coast is in an enviable position. There is now every reason national and international companies will choose us as their next head office.  We have the land on which they can custom build their own offices, talent they can employ, outstanding schools and a lifestyle like no other. The upgrades to the Bruce Highway and, the light rail will make commutes to Brisbane easy and the expanded airport will increase the ease in which we fly interstate or overseas.

All eyes are on the Sunshine Coast at the moment and for all the right reasons.  And those who have invested in property are already reaping the rewards with rental vacancy rates as low as 2%, increased rents and property values.  There has never been a better time to invest in this region.

For more information on getting into the property market call the team at Triple Zero Property today for a no obligation chat on how we can help you make money through property investment.

Ways to splash the extra cash from depreciation

When an investor starts claiming depreciation, they can reduce their tax liability.

This is because depreciation essentially lowers their taxable income, meaning they may be able to put more money back in their pocket at tax time.

For many investors, the additional savings depreciation provides them can help them to reduce their loans faster, add more funds into an offset account, to put money towards a new car or a holiday or to assist them with everyday expenses involved in holding the property.

As an investor, there are smarter ways to use the extra cash you will make from depreciation.

Here are just a few:

Pay off your debts

First things first, if you have any major outstanding debts, this may be a good chance to reduce or eliminate them. While a Financial Advisor can advise which debts you should be paying off first according to your own financial institution, things like credit card debts (which often have very high levels of interest) or personal loans could be a good thing to pay off or reduce.

Diversify your portfolio

Most Financial Advisors will tell you that diversifying is a great way to minimise risk and is important for long-term financial success. When you have a diverse portfolio, these different investments are likely to react differently to the same event. This means that if one area suffers, you still have a stake in another area that is growing.  Ideally, this will offset significant financial losses.

For example, a residential investor might look to invest in shares, bonds or even venture into the world of commercial property.

Grow your portfolio

Most investors will stop at one property but if you have the means, you can experience greater returns by growing your property portfolio.

Carefully consider whether this works for your financial situation and fits in with your investment goals.

As always, do some proper research to ensure you’re investing in the right area and the right property to maximise capital growth and rental returns.

Boost your super

It’s never too early to plan for your retirement. If you’d like a similar standard of living once you retire, it’s likely you’re going to need to make some voluntary payments on top of what your employer pays.

This money is concessionally taxed, will generally be locked away until you retire and you’ll benefit from compounding returns over time.

Do some renovations on your investment properties

Is your investment property a bit run down, in need of some better appliances or just crying out for a fresh coat of paint? Well this is your chance to change that.

Using the extra cash from depreciation to improve your current property is a great idea, provided you don’t overcapitalise.

This could potentially boost rental returns and increase the overall value of the property.

Expand your business

If you’re a commercial property investor or running a business as the tenant, extra cash never goes astray.

Depending on how the business is performing you could use this extra cash to expand or invest in other parts of your business. For example, this may give you the funds to upgrade your business equipment or start expanding into a new area.

Consult with an Advisor

Please note that these examples are general in nature and do not take into account your personal situation. As always, you should consult with your Financial Advisor when making such financial decisions to determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances.

Article provided by BMT Tax Depreciation.
Bradley Beer (B. Con. Mgt, AAIQS, MRICS, AVAA) is the Chief Executive Officer of BMT Tax Depreciation.