Investing in property and then renting it out, is a little more involved than just then collecting rent. As a landlord, you must exercise due diligence and keep up-to-date on regulatory updates and changes. Strict adherence to your state’s rental legislation might come in handy when settling any dispute with tenants and avoid hefty fines altogether. Below is the beginners guide on your basic rights and responsibilities when dealing with tenants renting your property.
Be aware who your tenant is
When you rent out your property, you are essentially leaving your most valuable possessions in the care of complete strangers. Always made inquiries for a rental reference and review tenancy databases for any issues such as financial capacity and damages to property. If you don’t have the time or resources to look after this yourself consider employing the services of a good Property Manager who can do these things for you. You will also be covered in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Looking to rent out your property? Read our article for more information on ways to reduce property damage.
To safeguard your property against unexpected incidents like fire, flood or storms, it is advisable to take out insurance to cover any damage to incurred by accident or malicious damage. Some insurance policies can even cover repare or replacement costs for the wear and tear of internal fittings for things like carpets, built-in wardrobes and kitchen equipment to reduce help reduce the costs of replacing your valuables. Before you take out any policy, make sure you read the fine print to be aware of exactly what you are covered for.
As long as the fixed lease term expires and the tenants wish to continue the tenancy, you are permitted to increase the rent, however, you must inform your tents of your intention to increase the rent beforehand by issuing them a ‘notice of rental increase’.
Tenants who fall behind in their rent for more than 14 days, as a landlord, you can issue a termination notice. For more information on rental disputes, mediation or advice you can also refer to your state’s Consumer Affairs office.
Tenant Checklist and entry condition report
Just as you wish to keep your belongings in good condition, tenants too, want to live in a well-kept property. Provide tenants with a copy of the new tenant checklist prior to signing a residential tenancy agreement. This is a crucial step to take, especially for a furnished property with white goods included, alternatively take photos for proof of condition.
Ideally, all landlords should take bond equivalent of one month rent from their tenants as a security deposit and lodged immediately with the state’s residential tenancies bond authority.
Keep your property in good repair at all times and act promptly to exterminate pests and resolve maintenance-related issues.
Resist any urge to conduct a sudden ‘inspection’ on your property. This is against the law. In most states, Landlords and Property Managers must give tenants at least 24 hours notice before entering the property. In Victoria, for example, Landlords must use a ‘’Notice to Tenant’ form, specifying the date and time that they plan on entering the premise. You can arrange a general inspection with the tenants once every six months with prior notice.
Safety and Security
Prior to tenants moving in, you ought to thoroughly check the condition of the property to make sure it is safe and in good liveable condition for your tenants. This includes things like checking fire alarms are operational, heaters and air conditioning systems are clean and in good condition and that windows and doors all work properly.
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