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Who is responsible for cleaning gutters?



 

Gutter maintenance is an important part of preparing your home for winter” Victorian Building Authority State Building Surveyor - Andrew Cialini

Gutted if you don’t clean out your gutters | Victorian Building Authority (vba.vic.gov.au))

 


Gutters are an important part of any building, but so often overlooked until it’s too late! When it rains and a large volume of water lands on the roof, it’s the gutter's job to collect and channel this water from the edge of the roof into the downpipes, this ensures the water moves away from the building. Inevitably, if the gutters are filled with debris or become blocked, the consequences can be serious, as many home owners unfortunately find out the hard way.

Here’s what you might face if your gutters fill with debris:

 

Water Damage

Blocked gutters can cause water to overflow and run into the eaves of your house and back into the roof and ceiling. If gutters regularly overflow they can also cause erosion and make a mess of your garden beds down below. Or possibly overflow down the walls of your house inside or outside and near the foundations, causing structural damage over time.

 

Pests

Debris filled gutters can also encourage vermin, snakes and birds to nest and live in them. Not to mention mosquitoes that can breed in any stagnant water that may be trapped..

 

Fire Hazard

Twigs and leaves are the perfect kindling for any fire - so we definitely don’t want them collecting in gutters either. Wind-borne embers or sparks can quickly ignite these dry leaves and twigs and start a fire that could, at worst engulf your home. It is important to remove this risk to your home and your neighbours’ homes by keeping gutters free from leaf litter.

 

Structural Damage

Structural damage can result from the weight of water and debris in blocked gutters. The additional weight can cause the gutter to buckle and break, meaning it won’t work properly and could cause a deluge of water onto the ground or potentially into the roof and, therefore, the ceiling of your home causing all sorts of internal damage.

 

Health Problems

There are also the more recently identified risks to health that may be attributable to the presence of mould in your home. Mould may be the result of stagnant water trapped in your gutters or a regular flow of water inside your walls as it escapes into your home due to blocked gutters.

We trust you agree there are costs to not cleaning your gutters!

 

SIGNS GUTTERS NEED CLEANING

  • You can’t remember when they were last cleaned
  • You have seen pests or birds around the gutters
  • Water runs over the sides like a waterfall when it rains
  • Gutters are sagging
  • There are water stains on the side of your home or fascia boards
  • Plants or weeds are growing in your gutters
  • You can see leaf litter sticking out of your gutters

The old adage that prevention is better than cure also applies to gutters.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can reduce the risk of expensive repairs to the gutters themselves (breakage, rust) as well as preventing and minimising the cost to repair and replace your home and your belongings due to water damage, fire hazards, vermin infestation mould growth, all as a result of blocked gutters.

The good news is you don't need to spend big to clean your gutters. There's an extensive range of affordable gutter cleaning tools for all types of gutters and properties. As well as proactive action you can take to prevent these known types of damage from occurring.

  • Regular Maintenance - check that your gutters are cleaned routinely and funds allocated within your body corporate’s annual budget to do so.
  • Garden Maintenance - keep trees trimmed back from gutter lines to prevent excessive build up in the gutter (You can do this within your own gardenarea and ensure your Body Corporate does carefully manages and maintain trees in common property)
  • Gutter Guards or Screens - if not in place already, consider whether these options could be installed to limit the build up of debris in yor gutters.

Ask your Body Corporate to consider such preventative measures for your building if you are in an area where leaf litter is a significant issue.

Regular maintenance and cleaning of gutters makes for an easier process than afterthere is a long-term build up of debris, mould, plant growth or pests. So it’s best to make it a regular event in your Body Corporate’s maintenance schedule. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all formula for the perfect interval between each clean either, with duration varying depending on the location of your home and number of surrounding trees and weather patterns. . However, all properties will need to have their gutters cleaned and checked regularly to prevent damage and potential future issues.

 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEANING GUTTERS?

In strata titles, many understand it to be the Body Corporate / Owners Corporation who is generally responsible for the maintenance of the building. This would therefore include roofs and guttering. However, some States and Territories have legislation that varies a Body Corporate’s requirements and responsibility to do so. As an example, within Queensland they have Standard Format Plans and Building Format Plans determining when and under what circumstances the gutters may actually be the responsibility of the individual lot owner. Lot owners and bodies corporate will therefore need to establish which plan relates and how boundaries apply to their strata title property, to accurately identify who is responsible.

Either way if you notice any of the signs that your gutters may need cleaning or maintenance, as a tenant you should notify your letting agent, or as an owner-occupier your Body Corporate and their Strata Manager, right away.

To get advice on maintaining the gutters in your property, contact your knowledgeable Ace Body Corporate Manager who can provide you with the information you need to ensure you and your property remain protected during the wet winter season.

 

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