Concrete in its various forms has been around for approximately 3000 years. It’s literally everywhere, from buildings to driveways and monuments. Every year more than 10 billion tonnes of concrete are manufactured worldwide. New constructions consistently replace old ones, but what happens with concrete when it’s served its purpose?
When concrete structures are being demolished, the rubble usually goes into landfills. Around 850,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste ends up in New Zealand landfills each year, the majority of it being concrete. Concrete disposal can be extremely costly and because the concrete doesn’t just decompose, it pollutes the environment and takes up valuable space. In fact, demolition waste makes up 50% of all waste in New Zealand, even though this number can easily be reduced by recycling materials such as concrete rather than dumping them.
Having your concrete recycled is not only environmentally friendly, it is also more economical as it keeps operation costs for the construction industry low. Whether it’s leftover aggregate from a demolition project or an old driveway that has outlived its purpose, if it’s made of concrete it can be reused in a sustainable way. The benefits are plentiful. Concrete disposal for recycling takes the pressure of already overflowing landfills, and recycled concrete is a cheaper source of aggregate for building projects than manufacturing or purchasing new materials.
When the concrete has been disposed of, the recycling process can begin. This includes crushing the debris into smaller portions, sorting and screening it for dirt and other foreign particles. In order to keep it as cost-effective as possible, concrete should be clean and free from contamination at the time of disposal. Eliminating waste such as clay, wood, metal, plastic and organic material and even asbestos makes the recycling process unnecessarily long and increases the cost.
Once recycled, old concrete can then be reused for building retaining walls, in roading and drainage projects or as aggregates or mixing new concrete. It can even offer an alternative to traditional landscaping mulch or build the foundation for corals in oceanic reef habitats.
So far we know that the brightline capital gains tax is going to take a third of the inflation gains off you when you sell in under five years. Do not think this tax only applies to nasty property flickers in Auckland. If you have been letting out your home whilst you have been overseas for a while you might be caught out. We know pretty clearly that if you are a beginner investor with only one or two rentals you will be making a loss and will have to fund those losses out of your other income but not be able to offset the costs off your tax unlike anyone else starting up a small business. What people do not understand is money in the hand today is worth a lot more than money in the future so the accumulated losses will not be worth as much in the future. Put simply the tax will increase from say 33% to perhaps 40% (this figure is a guess because it is almost impossible to calculate.)
Capital Gains tax is spattered all over the media. I have stopped reading all that has been written. Too depressing and too many variables and what if’s to fully understand it. I have been trying to find a speaker to come to our May meeting to talk about it.
RTA review and suggestions that you will have to permit dogs, cats, and perhaps other animals in your flats. Notice provisions for tenants when you need to reoccupy when returning from out of town or when the tenants start damaging the property and scaring the neighbours looks bad. The final decisions are still pending on this. When the Minister of Housing stops smiling you will note that perhaps he has softened his approach like Jacinda has when talking about CGT.
Submissions were invited on both the Healthy Homes and the RTA review at the same time. I and I suspect most other people concentrated on the RTA amendments and did not take as much notice on Andrew Littles act. Well the Minister of Housing has made some more definitive announcements on the Littles Act and on my simple calculations think this will hurt investors a lot more than all of the other acts being introduced.
The announcements indicated that extractor fans are required in bathrooms and kitchens. I decided to install two fans on the little Murphy Street flat that I mentioned previously. Naturally I did my best to make them as cheap and fool proof as possible. Sure the off the shelf cost is not great but what an effort to install them. I have read somewhere that they will cost $1000 each to be installed. I can believe that! From the brief details about the cost to Housing NZ it looks like it will cost an average of $4000 across their portfolio. Many of their properties will already be fitted with heat pumps and log fires so it will not cost much to bring those homes up to speed. Bearing in mind the $4000 is an average it is clear some will cost perhaps $8000. These costs will be counted as capital improvements so will not be tax deductible. If you sell the property you might even have to pay 33% or more of the installation cost to pay the extra CGT the improvements have created in additional value of the property.
I have calculated that the new standards will cost over 2 Billion dollars to implement throughout New Zealand. I would love to think this will mean some little children will be healthy. I spent a fortune changing log fires a decade ago to improve child health. I installed insulation at the same time then increased it a few years later to help the little children. Now I have to do it all again. Yet still children are getting sick, going hungry, and are being poorly clothed. Are property investors really the cause of children getting sick? Are the children of owner occupiers not getting sick? As with most health issues the problems are complex but society needs to look at the bigger picture which is not happening today.
A few well respected commentators have started to point that many of the new laws and regulations coming in are not achieving the desired outcomes. In fact they are making things worse for the tenants. For instance when properties become so well insulated and draught proof carbon monoxide becomes a serious health risk.
Glenn Morris – Nelson Property Investors Association
For many, having a clean house mostly refers to chores such as vacuuming, mopping, dusting and keeping the floor clean. However, washing the outside of your house is just as important, yet often gets neglected. Exterior house washing is more than just making sure everything looks good. Giving your house a regular wash on the outside also helps save money in the long run. You will need to repaint less often and you keep away mould and other headaches such as lichen, moss and mildew as well as pollution particles from vehicles and rain. Furthermore, each time you wash your exterior walls and cladding you can check for damages and repair them before it gets costly.
How often is necessary?
Depending on the size of your house and your location it is recommended to have your exterior washed every 1 to 2 years. This frequency will increase if you live in a coastal area, if your property is exposed to high winds or if you live next to some kind of processing plant or factory. The higher the risk of deterioration from the elements, the more often exterior wall cleaning becomes necessary.
What’s the best way?
Waterblasting or pressure-washing the exterior of your house from top to bottom will ensure you get rid of all the nasty bits of grime and mould without stripping off the paint. You could attempt to do this yourself, however, common pressure-washers often use too much pressure which results in damage to your exterior as well as the paint.
It also gets tricky and more dangerous when you have a multi-story house. Calling in the experts is usually the better option. They have the right tools and techniques to get the job done properly in a safe and efficient manner. Commercial companies can scrub down even the most stubborn dirt without causing damage to your property. They also use gentle detergents that help loosen and neutralise build-ups without causing too much harm to the environment.
How does it work?
The concept is simple. Pressure washing or water blasting uses high-pressure water spray to remove dirt and other residues from the exterior walls of a house as well as from concrete driveways and paths. With the right setting, it is powerful enough to get rid of fungus, mildew, mould and moss, but not strong enough to cause damage to the surface it’s used on.
Pressure washers usually have a range of settings that can be adjusted to the purpose of each project. Softer surfaces such as wood only need between 1200 and 1500 pounds per inch (psi), while stronger surfaces such as vinyl can be sprayed with up to 3000 psi. Commercial water blasters will have additional detergent dispenser attached to ensure your house gets more than just a hose-down with water.
Exterior wall cleaning is more complex and dangerous than it might appear. Property can be easily damaged and injuries occur if the nozzle is pointed in the wrong direction, the person holding the nozzle isn’t prepared for the kickback or the wrong pressure is applied. To protect fixtures such as lights or plants ensure they are covered or secured with duct tape. Children and animals should be kept out of sight when water blasting and ladders properly secured.
Wash before you paint
In addition to protecting your property from the elements, dirt and grime, exterior wall cleaning is also recommended before you are planning on painting the outside of your house. This will help the paint go on much easier and will also ensure it stays on a lot longer. Once your house has been water blasted, simply let it dry properly for at least 2 days before you start painting.
Without regular cleaning, you might have to repaint your house exterior as often as every 3 to 4 years. With proper maintenance this timeframe can be extended up to 7 or 8 years, depending on your location.
Shelterbelts are a great way to increase the privacy of your property, provide excellent shelter for people and animals, they protect your land from wind and erosion and even hold nutrients in the soil longer. However, without the proper maintenance, they soon lose their good looks and functionality.
In general, shelterbelts should be trimmed every 1 to 2 years. This helps keep your trees and shrubs healthy, it improves the density and ensures that your shelterbelt works effectively. With the right expertise, a professional trim can also encourage more growth and train the hedge into the shape you want it.
It is important that you cut back your shelterbelts evenly and straight. A professional can advise you on the suitability of your shelterbelt, for instance, what species best suit your requirements and how to ensure growth, long-term strength and when it’s best to remove a shelterbelt.
Timing is vital
Your shelterbelt should get the first trim just after the trees have been planted and established (if mature enough). Usually, some of the roots will be lost in the transplanting process, and pruning the plant will compensate for that. It will also begin to ‘train’ the tree how and in which direction to grow. This first prune should not be more than a third of the tree’s total top growth.
Depending on the functionality of your shelterbelt, your trees need to be further trimmed along the trunk. If you want to develop a strong framework to withstand the elements, prune the plants back to a few strong limbs. However, if you need shade rather than wind protection, focus your pruning on the lower branches of the trees.
Deciduous vs evergreens
Deciduous trees and shrubs are best trimmed when they are dormant, preferably in early spring before you can see new growth. Not only is the healing process at this time of the year a lot faster. But pruning deciduous plants in spring also effects their general growth a lot less.
Some trees should only be pruned in certain times of the year to avoid the spread of diseases such as Dutch Elm Disease. However, other species are actually better trimmed in mid-summer when it’s easier to locate dead branches or to avoid the excessive loss of sap.
Trimming is also necessary when you detect weak, sick or dead branches and plants among your shelterbelt. Otherwise, diseases and insects can easily spread between plants and eventually affect your entire shelterbelt to the point where it might have to be completely removed. If you don’t want to start from scratch, I recommend an annual check-up on your shelterbelt to see if and where it might need a tidy up.
Maintaining your shelterbelt is hard work and requires the right gear, equipment and machinery. You have to be especially careful when your shelterbelt is growing near fences, power lines or other health and safety hazards. Doing it yourself might save you money, but can easily put your life and property at risk. A professional will ensure that nobody gets harmed during the trimming process.
Clean up service
After your shelterbelts have been trimmed, a professional should also dispose of the trimmings. However, they can make great firewood and are also perfect for shredding and mulching. So consider your options for the branches if they are suitable and you have the need. I do not recommend you go down the cheap option of having a shelterbelt trimmed (perhaps only a few hundred dollars) and then tidying up yourself. The sheer quantity of branches can be enormous. I once had a 30-metre shelterbelt trimmed professionally and spent the entire weekend tidying up afterwards…. 45 trailer loads!
If you’ve had a tree cut down or a tree on your property has fallen over, you know what an eyesore a tree stump can be. If you leave the stump behind it not only poses a safety risk and attracts weeds and grass to grow on it. The remaining roots could also sooner or later start sending out new shoots and before you know it, you have new trees sprouting up. Removing a tree stump is the best and safest solution.
However, getting rid of a tree stump is much more complicated than simply cutting down a tree. There are several ways to remove a tree stump, depending on the kind of tree, your budget and your preferred time frame.
Digging it out
Depending on the root system of the tree, digging out the tree stump could take 1 to 3 days to complete. First, dig a deep hole around the stump to expose the largest of the attached roots. Using a saw, cut those roots up into manageable pieces and pull out as much as you can.
The remaining roots and those embedded deeper into the ground can be yanked out with a backhoe or digger if you have the machinery available or can hire it. Continue this process until the majority of roots have been removed. Only then is it safe to remove the tree stump by dislodging it. For smaller trees, you may get away with a spade and an axe but for larger trees, the roots will be far too large to practically remove them without heavier equipment.
The chemical solution
This option takes longest and does involve chemicals, so you need to ensure that neither animals nor children come anywhere near the stump during the entire process. Using chemicals will help soften the wood so it rots faster, making it easier to remove the tree stump.
You begin by drilling holes into the tree stump through which the chemicals will be absorbed. Once the solution has been poured into the holes, carefully following the instructions, it will take a few weeks until you can proceed with the final step.
By then the wood should be soft enough for you to chomp down the stump with an axe and dispose of the debris.
Burning the stump
Again, this method involves a higher risk, which is why I don’t recommend you attempt removing a tree stump without professional help. Burning down the stump is only an option in the colder months when there are no fire restrictions in place.
In order to burn the tree stump, you will have to cover it with wood to ensure it’s fully enclosed. You will also need to supervise the fire the entire time. For emergency situations, have the proper gear and equipment to extinguish the fire straight away before it gets out of hand.
Once the tree stump has burnt down completely, fully extinguish the fire, dig out the remains of the stump and dispose of the ashes. Ensure that you don’t leave a hot stump overnight that can reignite and cause an out of control fire.
Grinding the stump
Though this is the fastest and easiest way to dispose of a tree stump, the necessary equipment should only be used by a professional. A stump grinder reduces the stump down to small chips, almost like sawdust, which you can later use as mulch in your garden. It’s also a great filler for the gap the stump leaves behind once it’s been removed.
Whichever option you choose. Once the tree stump has been removed, ensure that the hole is adequately filled to avoid the hole from collapsing. Safety comes first!
If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, consider using a professional arborist! Along with tree felling, an arborist will take care of this for you in a safe and professional manner. Simply ask for a free quote and discuss your options.
While you may not know your tenant’s reasons for choosing to relocate, a small gesture can go a long way to helping their situation.
If you’re a landlord, you most likely want to be breaking the stigma that tenants typically don’t have good relationships with their homeowners. While it’s true that some relationships can be trying, if you put in a little effort at the beginning, during their tenancy, and at the end, you’ll find the entire process can go smoothly. If you want your tenant to respect you and your home, then a little respect for them, too, can go a long way.
Here’s how thanking tenants with a gift basket could be the best way to achieve that goal.
When They Move In
Whether you’re new to the world of being a landlord, or you’re welcoming new tenants into your rental property, you may find that a gift basket can be the perfect welcome gift and icebreaker. Rather than arrive empty handed on your first visit or inspection, you can turn up with a hamper packed full of goodies they are sure to appreciate.
As you well know, moving can be a stressful time. While you may not know your tenant’s reasons for choosing to relocate, a small gesture can go a long way to helping their situation.
When They Move Out
If your long-term tenant has decided to move out – whether it be to purchase their own home or leave the area, you may find that thanking tenants with a gift basket can be the perfect way to end the tenancy agreement. Finding the ideal tenant can be challenging, so if you end up with one who treats your home like it’s theirs, then rewarding them for such actions is sure to be appreciated.
While it might be bitter-sweet to see them go, thanking tenants with a gift basket, such as one filled with gourmet goodies, could be a sweet gesture they’ll remember for many years to come. What’s more, it establishes a bond that enables both landlord and tenant to receive a generous reference that might come in handy for years to come.
Christmas is a typically festive time of year. It’s a time when you take a moment to be thankful for all you have, treat people who may need to be treated, and spread your joy to those who may need a lift. If you’re a landlord, thanking tenants with a gift basket could be the perfect way to end their year – and yours. You get the satisfaction of knowing you surprised them in the best way possible, and they get to enjoy a Christmas gift basket prepared with love and featuring all kinds of festive treats.
What’s more, thanking tenants with a gift basket can also mean more to them than you think. They may appreciate being able to live in a comfortable and warm home, and they may also be thankful for having such a generous and thoughtful landlord. The relationship can go both ways, and you may have just made their Christmas all the more special with your selfless gesture.
Solving a Problem
Houses are not all that dissimilar to vehicles. With age, they become prone to wear and tear, and every now and again something may need to be repaired. If you find that a repair on your home is taking longer than it should, or your tenants are experiencing inconvenience as a result of a renovation, thanking tenants with a gift basket can go a long way. You’re able to thank them for their patience, for bringing the damage to your attention, and use a gift basket as an apology for the inconvenience as well.
While the repair might be an inconvenience to you as well, given the extra cost, it can often save you a significant amount of money down the line if they didn’t let you know about it, and let it get worse.
While a relationship between a landlord and tenant, or property manager and tenant, can often be strained, it doesn’t have to be. If you put steps in place in the beginning to form a rewarding relationship, you may find the entire tenancy process is stress-free and seamless.