The information below is intended to provide landlords a brief summary of answers to common questions and serve as general guidance.
Should you have any specific queries regarding the management of your investment property, please contact Michelle Kaunitz direct on 0408 237 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss your property management needs.
How do you determine the best rent for my property?
There are three factors we consider in determining the best rent for your property: i) demand for your property (or similar properties); ii) availability of similar properties on the market; and iii) what we have rented currently. Our goal is to strive to get you the maximum rent possible and these factors will give us sufficient context to price your property.
What if I want a rent amount that is higher?
If you place your property on the market and prospective tenants think your rent is too high, the property may stay vacant longer than necessary, reducing your annual rental return by 2% for every week it is vacant. This is an important consideration, should you choose to place your property on the market at a higher rental price than what we advise.
How do you advertise my property?
After signing a Management Agency Agreement authorising us to act on your behalf, we will prepare a listing of your property (including professional photographs). Once the property is available and ready for inspections, we advertise your property listing on five websites and on Rental Listing Brochures.
How does someone apply for my property?
We always ask that the prospective tenant fill in an application form, provide sufficient information to enable an identity check to be performed and give us permission to check the information provided.
How do you check an applicant?
From the information provided, we verify their identity, perform an employment history check, as well as check and confirm their tenancy history from their current or previous landlord/agent. We also check the National Tenancy Database for any record of the applicant being reported as a defaulter by any previous landlord.
Who selects the applicant for my property?
You do. Having reviewed details of all applicants, we use our professional experience and judgement to recommend preferred applicants to you, but it is ultimately your decision on which applicant to select as your tenant.
How much bond do you take from the tenant?
For both unfurnished and furnished premises the bond is set by legislation at a maximum of four (4) weeks rent.
When do you pay back the bond monies?
After the tenant has vacated and returned the keys, the property has been inspected and is in a satisfactory condition when compared with the ingoing inspection report, and once all monies have been paid, we can then refund the bond.
If the tenant has a pet, can I ask for a pet bond?
Unfortunately no! We are legally only allowed to take one bond, as specified above.
If I allow pets at my property, what expectations will be given to the tenant?
If the tenant wishes to have a pet included as part of the lease and you approve, an additional clause is included in their residential tenancy agreement stipulating: i) the number and type of pets; ii) the responsibility of the tenant for any damage to the property caused by the pet; iii) the requirement for any carpet at the property to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy; and iv) the requirement for the property to be fumigated at the end of the tenancy.
How clean should the property be when a new tenant moves in?
As it is a legislative requirement for the tenant to leave the premises at the end of the tenancy “as nearly as possible in the same condition, fair wear and tear excepted, as at the commencement of the tenancy”, it is in your best interest to ensure that the property is as clean as possible prior to the tenant moving in. Doing so not only assists in identifying any issues or damage that may occur during a tenancy, but also helps set an expectation for the tenant in how the property needs to be maintained and returned at the end of the tenancy.
Do you inspect the property at the beginning of a tenancy and how often during the tenancy?
Prior to a tenant moving in, we conduct a comprehensive inspection of every area of your property. The report from this ingoing inspection forms the basis of comparison with the outgoing inspection report at the end of the tenancy in determining whether any damage was incurred during the tenancy. During the tenancy, the property is inspected approximately 3 months after the tenant moves in, after which, inspection is done every 6 months thereafter. According to legislation, we are allowed to have a maximum of 4 inspections per year.
What do you explain to the tenant before they move in?
Once you have selected an applicant, we prepare a tenancy agreement which we go through with the applicant in detail prior to them signing. We also go through the most important expectations ranging from when and where to pay rent, to our repair and maintenance policy. This information is also covered in our tenant handbook which we provide to tenants of all properties we manage, at the time of their lease signing. Finally, a copy of the ingoing condition report from your property is provided to them that they must check, sign and return within 7 days.
When do they get keys and possession of the property?
Keys and possession of the property are only granted once the tenant has signed all forms, first payment and bond monies have been received, and the lease start date has commenced.
How do you collect the rent?
We receive rent by electronic funds transfer directly into our trust account.
When do I get paid my rent?
Rental monies, less any management fees and reimbursements, are deposited into your nominated bank account on the last working day of each month which means the funds will appear in your account on the next working day. After each payment into your account, you will receive a monthly statement along with copies of any property-related invoices that we have paid on your behalf.
What happens if my tenant does not pay the rent?
If a tenant gets behind in their rent by more than 3 days, we contact the tenant to determine the circumstances behind their arrears and confirm when payment will occur. You will be notified if payment will be more than 5 days in arrears and we will continue to monitor the situation, keeping close contact with the tenant. If the situation persists and the tenant gets behind in their rent by 14 days, we will then formally serve a Termination Notice. Please note that 14 days is the minimum legislated timeframe that must pass before a Termination Notice can be issued for failing to pay rent.
When do you review the rent during the time that you manage my property?
Rental reviews are conducted normally every 6 months for tenancies based on a periodic agreement, or 2-3 months prior to the end of a lease for tenancies based on a fixed-term agreement.
Who is responsible for repairs to my property and general wear and tear?
It is your responsibility as a landlord to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair. As a managing agent acting on your behalf, we will utilise a network of preferred tradespersons to perform any required works, in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost. The cost of repairs can only be charged to the tenant in the event that the repairs are required as a result of damage caused by the tenant that is beyond general wear and tear.
What happens if a repair is required after hours, or on weekends?
In the event that an “urgent repair” (as defined in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010) is required, the tenant is permitted to arrange for such work to be carried out without your approval. As a landlord, not only will you be responsible for the cost of these repairs (as normal), you will also be responsible for any call-out or after hours charge. In the event that the tenant incurs expenses for after hours repairs that are not classified as an “urgent repair”, while you may still be liable for the cost of the repair, you will not be liable for any additional charges that are incurred as a result of the after hours timing of the repair.
Who is responsible for maintaining the lawns and gardens?
Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible for maintaining any lawns and gardens of the property during their tenancy. However, if the property is fitted with any watering system, it is your responsibility as a landlord to ensure that this system is maintained in good working order during the tenancy.
How much notice do I need to give my tenant if I want them to vacate the property?
The minimum notice period you are required to provide as a landlord on any Termination Notice varies quite significantly depending on the nature of your tenancy agreement (fixed-term or periodic) and reasons behind you needing your tenant to vacate the property (e.g. sale of property, breach of agreement by tenant etc.). Legislative constraints on when you can issue a Termination Notice can also have an impact on the effective notice period you need to give. For a more specific answer for your circumstances, contact us at MJK Property Management.
How much notice does my tenant need to give if they wish to vacate the property?
The tenant needs to give 14 days’ notice in writing to vacate at the end of a fixed term of a Tenancy Agreement. For a periodic agreement, the tenant is required to give 21 days’ notice in writing if they want to vacate.
Why do I need landlord insurance if I have an agent and what does it cover?
Landlord insurance covers some particular tenant-related risks that are not typically covered by home and contents or strata title insurance policies. These risks may include loss of rent due to tenant default and malicious or accidental damage to your property by a tenant, their family or their invited guests. While an agent plays an important role in minimising some of these risks through careful review of applicants and maintaining oversight of your property, they cannot totally eliminate the risk. Landlord insurance is important as even though a rental bond is taken at the start of an agreement, it will unlikely be sufficient to cover the costs or loss that will be incurred should some of these risks eventuate. Before selecting a landlord insurance policy, be sure to understand precisely what it will cover (and what it won’t) as well as any particular sub-limits or excesses related to the policy as these vary quite substantially between insurers in the market.
Who pays for electricity and/or gas charges?
These are normally a tenant’s expense. However if there are charges relating to the supply of these services to a property, then the supply charges are at the landlord’s cost.
Who pays for water and sewerage charges?
The payment of water charges in their entirety are your responsibility as a landlord. The only circumstance where a tenant can be charged for water usage during the tenancy period is if the property is separately metered and certain water efficiency measures, as detailed in Clause 11.4 in the Residential Tenancy Agreement, have been implemented. Even in these cases, the landlord is still responsible for any fixed charges relating to the provision of services (like sewerage service) to the property.
What about council rates?
The payment of council rates is your responsibility as a landlord. However, any charges for excess rubbish or sanitary charges and any charges for pumping out a septic system can be charged to the tenant.
What happens to the tenancy if I wish to sell my property?
Before any action is taken to sell or market the property for sale (e.g. prepare sales contract, advertise, open for inspection etc.), the tenant must first be given 14 days’ notice of your intention to sell your property. Failure to do so will breach the tenancy agreement and may result in your tenant being able to end their tenancy without providing you with the normally required notice period and break-lease charges.
If there is any fixed-term lease agreement in place during the sale of your property, then the tenant may stay until the end of their lease, meaning that the buyer must acquire the property as an investment property. For tenants on a periodic agreement, if vacant possession is being sought by the buyers, once contracts have been exchanged, you as the landlord and seller must give the tenant a minimum of 30 days’ notice to vacate.