PREPARING TO RENT YOUR PROPERTY
Here are some of the matters involved in renting out your property. This is not an exhaustive list, but aims to help both you as the landlord, as well as tenants.
Please contact us for additional professional advice.
Property laws and regulations
• Rental properties need to comply with a wide range of laws and regulations – from smoke detectors, safety switches, swimming pools, and pests, to building compliance.
• These matters can be complex, and the relevant laws can change rapidly.
• We are here to assist you.
Repairs and maintenance
• Because of legislative requirements and health and safety obligations, rental properties must be well maintained, and maintenance work carried out promptly.
• However, repairs and maintenance are excellent investments; they maintain the value of your property and keep tenants happy.
• Russell Walker, our Rental Manager, is highly experienced in all of these matters.
• Landlords should have insurance, including public liability, landlord protection, building insurance, and contents insurance.
• Although we take every care to select suitable tenants, a change of tenant circumstances, e.g. sickness or loss of employment, can change everything. This is why your landlord insurance policy should include provisions for loss of rent, the costs of clean-up and flood damage, contents cover (including for accidental damage), and legal costs cover.
Starting a tenancy
• Every type of tenancy requires a tenancy agreement. It sets out the parties’ obligations, understandings, and entitlements, and the procedures to be followed. A tenancy agreement is not a tick and flick document, and every agreement is different.
• Tenants of units should be provided with the body corporate’s community management statement and any local rules relating to the property.
• Issues, such as who will pay excess water charges, must be considered before signing a tenancy agreement. A clear understanding between landlord and tenant must be noted in the tenancy agreement. Other matters to be noted include instructions for care and maintenance of special items, e.g. polished timber floors, or gardens.
• Keys, including for windows, letterbox, and garage, must be provided for both tenants and agent.
• A substantial rental bond is taken with each tenancy to protect the owner’s interests. It is calculated based on the weekly rent, and must be paid to the Residential Tenancies Authority for the duration of the rental lease.
Entry condition report
• The entry condition report is a vital document.
• For both landlord and tenant, an accurate entry condition report is a necessary safeguard. If both parties have a clear understanding and agreement about the property’s condition, the potential for disputes at the end of a tenancy are minimised.
• The completed report is provided to both parties for future reference.
Rental property inspections
• We inspect rental properties on a regular basis, usually three-monthly, or as set out in the tenancy agreement.
• We assess the condition of the property, consider the need for any repairs or maintenance, ask tenants to correct any outstanding items, and report back comprehensively to owners.
• Repairs and maintenance can be authorised by the agent, but only if the type of repair or maintenance is covered under our rental management agreement.
• More substantial matters require the owner’s approval before work can be carried out.
• The tenancy agreement will clearly state the amount of rent to be paid, when it falls due, and the accepted payment method.
• Action can be taken when rent is 7 days in arrears.
• A breach notice will be issued on the 8th day.
• The tenant is then given a further 7 days to correct the overdue rent situation.
• We will keep you, the owner, fully informed of any developments, and issue overdue notices promptly.
• If the rental arrears remain unpaid, we will diligently follow the prescribed procedure.
• The possibility might arise to increase your rental return by carrying out cost-effective improvements or upgrades to your property.
• We are always happy to help you consider these matters, in order to help you decide whether your investment will be worthwhile in the particular market.
Ending a tenancy
• Under a periodic, that is, ‘month to month’ rental agreement, the tenant must give two weeks’ notice in writing to vacate the premises.
• The lessor or landlord, however, is required to give the tenant two months’ notice in writing to vacate the premises.
• Under a fixed term rental agreement, a tenant who breaks their lease is required to pay for a new letting fee, as well as the rent, until a new tenant is accepted and starts paying the rent.