Here are some valuable property presentation tips:
First impressions are critical when a prospective tenant inspects your property. There is no doubt that well presented properties achieve top rents and usually attract the best quality tenants. That adds up to a higher investment return, together with fewer and shorter vacancy periods.
- Tend the gardens, mow the lawns and clean the windows, paths, gutters and outside paintwork. These are all things seen from the street, and you don’t want prospective tenants to dismiss the property before getting to the front door.
- Repair or replace leaking taps, sticking doors, broken light fittings, loose door handles, rotten floor boards, leaky gutters and torn flyscreens.
- If you are thinking about painting, only paint those areas that really need it unless you plan on doing the lot. New paint may only make those areas left unpainted look even shabbier. Use light, neutral colours as strong colours may not be to the tenants taste. If paint is generally in good condition, touch up the scruffy bits.
- If your property is in a noisy area (such as a main road) inspection times should occur when the noise is at its lowest.
- Get rid of odours that you may not notice but prospective tenants will, such as cigarette or pet smells. It may be worth having the carpets and curtains cleaned, neither of which is very expensive.
- Open the curtains and blinds to let the sun and the view inside. Nobody likes a dark house, and the view will make the rooms feel bigger.
- Have the property clean, tidy and uncluttered at inspection times.
- If your property has a pool, ensure the pool and the surrounds are sparkling clean. You want the prospective tenants to think it is an asset, not a burden. If the filter or the pool needs professional repairs, it is better to do it now rather than putting it off. The repairs are usually tax deductible.
- Ensure that all electrical wiring and power points are safe. This includes any electrical appliances to be included with the property.
- Take out comprehensive insurance cover on the property (including public liability). You don’t want to be sued by a prospective tenant who accidentally injures themselves while inspecting the property.
What is a property condition report?
This is a report that is compiled at the commencement of a tenancy prior to your tenant moving into the property. This report outlines the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and is used when the tenant vacates to ensure that the property is left in the same condition.
This is the last inspection carried out as soon as possible after the end of a tenancy, when the tenants have returned their keys. The Property Condition Report is used at this inspection and each item is checked off to make certain that the property is in the same condition as when the tenant took possession. It is at this inspection that any items that need to be rectified by the tenant are identified.
What is a Routine Inspection?
Routine inspections are conducted after a tenant takes possession of the property and are conducted every three months. These inspections are essential to ensure that your property is being maintained to an acceptable standard and to identify any maintenance that may be required. A copy of the routine inspection report is forwarded to you after each inspection and if necessary, a member of the Property Management Team will contact you to discuss items noted on the report.
What happens when a tenant stops paying rent?
When a tenant falls behind in their rental payments they are issued with a notice of breach advising them that they are behind and requesting that they rectify the problem. If this is not done within the stipulated time period then a termination notice is issued requiring that they vacate the premises.
How do tenants pay their rent?
Tenants have several options to pay their rent, leaving no excuse for late payments.
- By cheque or money order
- Internet Banking through their chosen financial institution
- Direct debit from their nominated bank account, we will supply the tenant with our account details to arrange an automatic transfer.
At the end of every month all monies held, unless instructed otherwise, is paid to you by way of direct debit to your nominated bank account or by cheque. A statement is issued at the same time outlining the debits and credits for that month.
Before deciding to rent a property there are a few rules and regulations that you need to take into consideration. A Residential Tenancy Agreement or ‘lease’ will be drawn up and is the legal contract that both you and your landlord must abide by.
A lease should include information such as;
- Location of the property
- Total rent
- Amount of the bond
- Commencement and end date of your tenancy
- The landlords’ name
Lease/tenancy agreements differ between states, so please make sure you have the documentation from your appropriate state.
Tip! Never sign a blank form, if you do not understand something, then contact the correct establishments and ask for advice.
Know your responsibilities when renting
When renting, little problems can turn into big problems if you are not aware of who is responsible for taking care of the issues that may arise.
As a tenant you are obliged to do the following:
- Keep the property clean
- Not cause damage to the premises
- Inform the landlord asap if any damage is done
- Ask for the landlords permission to install fixtures or make alterations, renovations etc
- Avoid causing a nuisance to the landlord or neighbours
- Do not participate in any illegal activity on the property
The landlord is obliged to:
- Keep the premises in good repair
- Ensure the security of the property by making sure all doors have locks and windows are secure.
- Immediately provide the tenant with a key after changing any locks
- Avoid disturbing the tenant unnecessarily
Once you have signed a lease / tenancy agreement and paid a bond you should be provided with a Condition Report. This report records the condition of the property. Check this report carefully and immediately discuss any issues you may have with the landlord.
The Leasing Process
For tenants looking for a new home to lease, we have outlined the leasing process in a simple guide for you:
- Firstly you should have thoroughly researched your accommodation needs as they relate to your overall lifestyle pattern and those of any other people involved.
- Work out exactly what you can afford to pay in rent and have evidence of this capacity available together with references if asked to produce them
- Have looked at an extensive range of rental properties before deciding
- Examine the proposed tenancy agreement, the list of inclusions if any and satisfy yourselves that the premises condition report is accurate. If you feel the need to take photographs, do so but to be valid, they must form part of the agreed premises condition report before taking occupancy. It is vitally important at this stage before signing any agreement, that you are happy with its terms.
- If there is any part of the agreement which you do not understand or agree with then ask the agent managing the property to explain it and if necessary seek changes from the owner.
- Do not hesitate to seek independent advice from a solicitor or the relevant government organisation in your State or Territory set up to assist in these matters.
- In some instances, competitive demand may preclude this level of detailed check, however, as a tenant you must be aware of and in agreement with your obligations as noted in the agreement.
- If you would like to lease the property you have inspected, the agent will provide you with a tenancy application form. You will need to fill this out and usually provide the agent with supporting documentation for processing including:
- Photo ID – Passport, driver’s license or 18+ card;
- Proof of present address;
- Proof of income – including employment details, pay slip, bank statement or a Centrelink letter;
- Any previous tenant ledger/receipts (if available)
- Proof of ownership of a property (if applicable)
- Proof of savings indicating your ability to pay the rent and associated costs
- Once an application has been submitted and the relevant checks have been carried out, the agent will make contact with the owner to discuss the application. The owner will then decide, based on the information submitted, whether to accept or decline your application. If accepted, the agent will contact you to discuss the monies owing and any special conditions. They will also arrange a “sign up” date and your “move in” date.
It is normal practice in New South Wales for the tenant to reimburse the landlord for preparing the Tenancy Agreement. The maximum cost is $15. A reservation fee is an amount of money (no more than one week's rent) that is sometimes paid to reserve the premises while an application for tenancy is under consideration. However payment of this fee does not guarantee your application will be successful. If your tenancy does not go ahead this amount will be refunded. If your application is successful and you choose not to proceed, this amount will be forfeited to the landlord.
You have the right to use and occupy your home without unreasonable interference from the landlord or their agent. However, they do have the right of access when it is necessary to inspect your home or carry out repairs, so long as you are given reasonable notice. Regular inspections by the real estate agent are generally a legal requirement as outlined in the tenancy agreement. They can also show your home to prospective tenants after notice terminating your tenancy has been given and to prospective buyers if the property is for sale. The Tenancy Agreement allows access between certain times on any day except Sunday or public holidays as long as it is mutually convenient. Access may be obtained at any time however, with your consent or in an emergency.
Vacating the Property
The Tenancy Agreement provides for the notice you must give before vacating the property. In preparing to leave, you must make sure that the property will be left clean. Inside windows, blinds, walls and woodwork should be cleaned. Pay particular attention to the stove, oven and griller in the kitchen. Special attention should also be paid to cleaning the bathroom when preparing to vacate. All appliances and fittings should be left in good working order for the next occupant.
Make sure all of your belongings are removed from the property and that any rubbish is removed. Arrange for an inspection of the premises by the agent, leave a forwarding address and finally return all keys.
Owner’s insurance does not cover the tenant’s possessions; therefore it is the tenant’s responsibility to insure their belongings and furniture.
Rental increases are a common occurrence when renting a property especially in areas of high demand. If a rental increase occurs the real estate agent must do so in accordance with any legislative requirements and issue tenants with the appropriate notice in writing.
Tenant databases provide real estate agents with personal information about the previous tenancies of prospective tenants where there have been problems abiding by the tenancy agreement. This information helps agents to assess if a prospective tenant is likely to be a financial risk to the landlord’s rental property. You are only listed if the tenancy agreement is terminated.
The real estate agent must advise you in writing of their intention to list you and the reason(s) for doing so. The agent must give you a reasonable opportunity to respond, this includes time to review and correct the personal information about you that the agent intends to list on the database. Be sure to keep a copy of all communications.
What Reasons can I be listed on a Tenant Database?
- Owing Money to the landlord for rent or damage caused intentionally or recklessly to the premises. Note: only if the amount owing exceeds the amount of the rental bond.
- Failure to pay a sum of money to the landlord in accordance with an order of the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.
- Where the Tribunal has issued a termination and possession order for breach of the residential tenancy agreement.
- Where the Tribunal has issued a termination and possession order for serious or persistent breach of the residential tenancy agreement
- Where the Tribunal has issued a termination and possession order for serious damage or injury.
Question: What happens if I let my rent payments fall behind?
By signing your lease agreement you are signing a legal document in which you agree to keep your rent payments in advance. We give you enough options of methods to pay rent that there can be no excuses for late rent payments.
We have a strict Arrears Policy that involves checking arrears and following up any outstanding rental payments If you fall more than 15 days in arrears you will be issued with a Termination Notice and we will commence action to recover any outstanding monies.
Question: What happens if I need to break my Lease Agreement?
If you need to vacate the property before your Lease Agreement ends, you will need to give us notice in writing of the date you would like to vacate. We will advertise the property for rent as soon as we receive your notice and make every effort to find a new tenant quickly. We will organize times with you that we can bring prospective tenants through the property.
You will need to pay rent up until the day the new tenant moves into the property, all associated advertising costs as well as 1 week’s rent to cover the Letting Fee. Please note: we will not take any of these funds from your bond. Please contact us immediately if you are concerned that you will need to break your lease and we can discuss these costs with you.
Question: Why do I pay for water?
The Residential Tenancies Authority specifies that the landlord must provide you with a ‘reasonable’ amount of water and the tenant must pay for any “excess” water above the reasonable amount. The excess water amount is charged every three months.
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