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Landlord responsibilities and obligations

By Urban Springs Marketing

If you are an investment property owner, keep reading for a brief overview of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (the Act) and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989 (the Regulations). As a landlord, it is important you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as property managers, it’s our job is to help you navigate the act and help you minimise any risks.

Getting started

Your rental property is ultimately a business, and it is just as important when considering your finances for purchasing the home to account for unforeseen circumstances that may occur. This also includes researching home and contents insurance and rental protection insurance providers to cover potential rental income losses and vacancies between tenants.

If you are planning on managing the property by yourself, it means you are responsible for finding new tenants, collecting the rent, bond, and performing rental inspections, to name a few. Using an agent will free up the time you would have to spend on these processes every month. The benefit of an agent allows an objective third party to manage any issues between the tenant and yourself as the landlord.

Once the tenancy begins

We mentioned earlier that your investment property can be treated like a small business. If this is the case, then your tenants become your customers. It is important to keep your customers happy to get your desired financial return.

Both you as the landlord and your tenants have shared responsibilities. The premises must be in a habitual state for the tenants to move in. Once the tenants move in, it is their responsibility to keep it clean and maintain the state of the property.

Any problems concerning the property, such as living conditions and any complaints from the tenant, must be dealt with promptly and respectfully. Ensure all requests and complaints from both parties are in writing (this is also where an external property manager is beneficial). Getting the paperwork right is half the battle won!

When things don’t work out

Sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope. Even if expectations are agreed upon at the start of the tenancy in some instances, it can go south. Minimising problems during the tenancy with clear communication and respect is the best way to deal with unpleasant situations but if the need arises, it is necessary for the landlord and tenant to know their rights.

If the landlord and tenant do not agree on a solution, there are formal notices each party needs to fill out if a breach of the tenancy has occurred. Some other points to consider before issuing a formal notice is whether the tenant is a repeat offender or if they have fallen into unforeseen temporary circumstances; the same applies to the tenant in regard to you as their landlord.

Going to court

Some of the most common disputes are refusal to return bond money, overdue rent, damage to property and problems when ending tenancy agreements.

Both the landlord and tenant need to keep records of all contact and requirements in relation to the tenancy agreement. If the case is escalated and taken to court each party is entitled to be represented by a property manager. These types of hearings typically go to the Magistrates court under a special minor cases category. They are relatively informal, so the tenant and landlord are also able to represent themselves.

Ensuring you follow all the correct procedures is the most effective way to build your case.

A final checklist for landlords

  • Ensure you have adequate funds for both the purchase and maintenance of the investment property
  • Decide whether to use an agent/property manager or whether you will handle matters yourself
  • Choose your tenants carefully
  • Make sure your property is in good condition for future tenants to move in
  • Make sure requests and or complaints are communicated clearly and in writing

Deal promptly and fairly with all disputes

If you would like to know more about the acts, read the full article here:

If you are purchasing an investment property or planning to purchase an investment property, our property management team is here to assist you in making the best returns on your rental property and minimise and risks or pitfalls that may occur during a tenancy. Contact our business development manager, Deborah Horder on 0422 098 029 or for a friendly chat anytime.

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