Discover Everything You Need To Know With The Most Frequently Asked Questions By Landlords
As a landlord, it pays to be clued-up on your professional obligations, as well as the services that can help you to meet them.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by landlords like you in the Bacchus Marsh area.
Why Should You Use A Property Manager?
A property manager is an invaluable resource for any landlord looking to save time and maximise their rental returns. Here’s why:
Property managers will have a full understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act, meaning they’ll take care of the legal details of your rental so you don’t have to.
They’ll have a firm grasp on the current state of the rental market, too. This means that, when appraising your property, they’ll have an accurate perspective of market value. This, in turn, will help you to secure the highest possible rental returns.
Thorough tenant screening
Any good property management firm will operate a thorough tenant screening process. Not only will this allow you to attract the precise tenant demographic you’re after, the property management firm will also help you to select a tenant based on the longevity of their previous tenancies. This will help to ensure you’ll receive smooth, consistent returns.
Property maintenance and income management
Property managers will manage your property’s rental income, run regular inspections, schedule required maintenance, and keep a finger on the market pulse to make sure your rental charge is an accurate reflection of the market.
They’ll also handle the property as tenants vacate and can even help with taking the tenants to VCAT if required.
How Much Do You Charge?
We offer a competitive pricing structure so you get true value for money.
Please note: our fees are a reflection of market costs and are therefore subject to change. All of our fees are fully tax-deductible.
At 7.7% (including GST) of the rental, our management fees are highly competitive. For example, if you charge $150/week, the collection fee is $10.50 plus the GST of $1.05, making the total $11.55 per week.
A statement fee of $1.10 also applies to each payment made to you. This charge covers the costs and time of preparing your statement, as well as any applicable transfer costs.
Our charge for letting your property is 1.65 weeks’ rent (including GST). This fully covers any costs commonly associated with letting a property, including:
- Digital advertising
- Window displays
- Locating tenants and tenancy database checks
- Lease preparation
- Room-by-room condition reports
- Lodgement of the bond with the RTBA
- Providing tenants with “Tenant Rights and Duties” booklet, as legally-required
How Your Property Should Be Promoted?
Advertising your property is an essential part of the listing process, as it’ll significantly boost its exposure to your target market.
As your property manager, we’ll list your property on realestate.com.au, our own website, and a series of other hand-picked listing websites.
At your request, we can also attract street traffic by placing a board outside your property. This can be particularly effective if your if your property lies on a main road or busy street.
What Is A Tax Depreciation Schedule?
It’s a fact of life – buildings depreciate over time. As a result, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allow you as a property owner to claim this depreciation as a deduction. This deduction can be claimed by anyone who earns income from the property.
Key facts about depreciation:
- You can adjust your previous year’s tax returns and claim missing deductions from the ATO
- Older properties – as well as newer properties – can have depreciation potential.
- Claiming depreciation on your property means you pay less tax.
Maximising your depreciation schedule will help you to boost your rental profit. To obtain a depreciation schedule, we can help you to hire a quantity surveyor. You should, however, ensure a tax depreciation specialist like BMT Tax is used to prepare your depreciation schedule.
What Do I Do If A Tenant Stops Paying Rent?
Technically, paying rent is a voluntary action for the tenant. Even with a court order, the tenant can only be told to pay, never forced.
At Arbee Real Estate, we tackle the problem before it becomes a full-blown legal issue with our step-by-step no-payment process:
- 3 Days Behind – SMS sent to tenant
- 5-7 Days Behind – SMS and phone call to tenant
- 10 Days Behind – Letter sent to tenant
- 15 Days Behind – Serve Notice to Vacate (this obligates the tenant to vacate the property within 14 days and/or pay all monies owed at the discretion of the property owner)
- Approx 18 Days Behind – Lodge application with the Victorian & Civil Administration Tribunal (VCAT) for an order of payment & a warrant of possession if necessary
- Approx one month behind (30-35 days) – Tribunal hearing and order given to pay or be evicted
- Approx 5-7 weeks behind – Eviction may occur if payments are not made as per the tribunal order and owner’s instructions
The legal process surrounding lack of payment can be lengthy and it’s often difficult to reclaim the full amount owed. For this reason, we strongly advise all investors to take out landlord insurance. Otherwise, the eviction, cleaning and re-letting process can have a heavy financial impact.
How Do You Handle Urgent After Hours Repairs?
If an urgent repair is needed to your property, tenants should contact our office. Their call will then be forwarded to one of our team members who will assess the urgency of the repair.
If we agree the need for repair is urgent, we will do our best to contact you for approval. If we can’t reach you, we’ll get one of our pre-approved tradesmen on-site as soon as possible.
What Are My Responsibilities As a Landlord?
As a landlord, you have certain moral and legal responsibilities to your tenants, your property, and any prospective tenants who may be interested in your property.
These are the official legal terms covering your responsibilities as a landlord. Although one of our property managers will guide you through them, it’s advised that you take the time to understand them yourself.
Discrimination Against Tenants With Children – Sec 30
1. A person must not –
a) Refuse to let rented premises: or
b) Instruct or permit that person’s agent to refuse to let rented premises to another person under a tenancy agreement on the ground that the other person intends to live on the premises with a child.
Penalty: 5 penalty points
2. This section does not apply to –
a) Premises proposed to be let by a public statutory authority or body corporate for which the authority or body receives financial assistance for the provision of housing for lone persons or childless couples under an Act or an Act of the Commonwealth; or
b) Premises that are the principal place of residence of the person refusing or instructing or permitting that person’s agent to refuse to let the premises to a person intending to live with a child; or
c) Premises that by reason of their design or location are unsuitable or inappropriate for occupation by a child.
3. A person who claims that premises are not, by reason of their design or location, unsuitable or inappropriate for occupation by a child may apply to the Tribunal for an order declaring whether or not the premises are unsuitable or inappropriate for occupation by a child.
4. In this section “child” means a child under 16 years of age.
Limit of Rent In Advance – Sec 40
1. A landlord must not require a tenant to pay rent under a tenancy agreement more than 1 month in advance
Penalty: 10 penalty units
2. Sub-section 1. does not apply if the amount of rent payable for each week under the tenancy agreement exceeds –
a) $350: or
b) if a greater amount is prescribed for the purposes of section 31, that greater amount
Rent in advance under weekly tenancy agreement – Sec 41
Despite section 40, a landlord must not require a tenant to pay rent under a tenancy agreement more than 2 weeks in advance if the period in respect of which rent is payable under that agreement is not more than 1 week.
Penalty: 10 penalty units
Security at the Property – Sec 70
- A landlord must provide locks to secure all external doors and windows of the rented premises.
- A party to a tenancy agreement who changes any external door or window lock must as soon as practicable give a key to the lock to the other party.
- A tenant who wishes to change a lock in a master key system must obtain the landlord’s consent before changing that lock.
- A landlord must not withhold unreasonable consent to the changing of the lock.
Providing the Property Clean – Sec 65
Landlord’s duty in relation to provision of premises
- A landlord must ensure that on the day that it is agreed that the tenant is to enter into occupation, the rented premises are vacant and in reasonably clean condition.
- A tenant is not required to enter into occupation of premises which do not comply with sub section (1)
- If premises do not comply with sub-section(1), the tenant is not required to pay rent for the rented premises in respect of the period beginning on the agreed day on which the tenant is to enter into occupation of the premises and ending on the day on which the tenant actually enters into occupation.
Repairing The Property – Sec 68
Landlord’s duty to maintain premises
1. A landlord must ensure that the rented premises are maintained in good repair.
2. A landlord is not in breach of the duty to maintain the rented premises in good repair if –
(a) damage to the rented premises is caused by the tenant’s failure to ensure that care was taken to avoid damaging the premises; and
(b) the landlord has given the tenant a notice under section 78 requiring the tenant to repair the damage.
3. If a landlord owns or controls rented premises and the common areas relating to those rented premises, the landlord must take reasonable steps to ensure that the common areas are maintained in good repair.
Landlord Right Of Entry Into The Property – Sec 85
Entry of rented premises
A landlord or the landlord’s agent has a right to enter rented premises together with any persons who are necessary to achieve the purpose of the entry-
a) At any time agreed with the tenant if the tenant has consented not more than 7 days before the entry; or
b) For a purpose set out in section 86, at any time between 8am and 6pm on any day (except a public holiday) if at least 24 hours notice has been given to the tenant in accordance with section 88
Landlord Right Of Entry Into The Property – Sec 86
Grounds for entry of rented premises
1. A right of entry in respect of rented premises may be exercised if –
a) before giving notice of entry, a notice to vacate or a notice of intention to vacate the rented premises has been given and entry is required to show the premises to prospective tenant; or
b) the premises are to be sold or used as security for a loan and entry is required to show the premises to a prospective buyer or lender; or
c) entry is required to enable the landlord to carry out a duty under this Act, the tenancy agreement or any other Act; or
d) entry is required for valuation purposes: or
e) the landlord or the landlord’s agent has reasonable grounds to believe that the tenant has failed to comply with his or her duties under this Act or the tenancy agreement; or
f) entry is required to enable inspection of the premises and entry for that purpose has not been made within the last 6 months.
1. A right of entry for a purpose set out in subsection 1. (a) may only be exercised in the period of 14 days before the termination date specified in the notice to vacate or notice of intention to vacate.
What If I’m Not Happy With My Current Property Manager?
It might seem like a hassle, but if you’re not happy with your current property manager, you’ve got options. Here’s how simple it can be to migrate your property management service from your current provider to our team at Arbee Real Estate:
1. Contact our office
Get in touch with a member of our team and explain your situation. We’ll be happy to help. We’ll take your details, including info about you, your property, and the firm who currently manage it. We’ll also ask you to sign a managing authority document.
2. We’ll contact your current property manager
We’ll get in touch with your property manager and explain we’re taking over management of the property. We’ll request any and all documentation pertaining to your property and ask that they cease management immediately.
3. We’ll take over your property management
Our team will contact your tenants and let them know we’re now managing the property. If they have any issues, we’ll advise them to get in touch with us instead.
Do I Need Insurance?
As society becomes more litigation-conscious, the insurance industry is growing increasingly strict for both landlords and property managers alike.
To ensure we at Arbee Real Estate have the right indemnity insurance protection, we’ll need information on your buildings and landlord protection insurance for the properties we manage for you.
As a business, we require all buildings we manage to have public and legal liability cover. We may also require additional cover if you have a strata title building, as your strata insurance may well only apply to the outside of the buildings and their communal areas.
To stay safe and remove risk from the equation, our insurer advises you check your current coverage thoroughly. Your landlord insurance should cover you for a minimum of $10,000,000, but the ideal amount for maximum protection is $20,000,000.
What Should Your Insurance Policy Cover?
You should ensure you have adequate cover for the following:
- Damage to other people’s property
- Death or bodily injury to other people
- Malicious damage cover for tenants and their guests
We can help you find the right quote
If you check your current cover and find it doesn’t offer enough protection, we can help you to source better quotes. If you’d like more information on the policies we use at Arbee Real Estate, we’ll be happy to send it over.
What your landlord insurance should cover
Your landlord insurance should cover the following:
- Loss of rent
- Rent default
- Malicious damage
- Accidental damage
- Property contents
- Legal liability
If you already have contents insurance, you can cancel this and usually attain a refund. Most landlord insurance carriers provide contents coverage, so you won’t need the surplus contents insurance.
Landlord insurance is fully tax deductible and is now commonly regarded as essential protection. If it’s easier for you, we’ll be happy to have your insurance come through our office and automatically deduct the cost from your rent.
Be aware of differences between landlord insurance policies
The last thing we want is for you to get caught out on technicalities. We’ve had clients in the past who’ve thought they were covered for accidental damage, but when damage occurred, it turned out they were only covered for damage they’d caused themselves.
How Does The Renting Process Work?
We’ve got a clear process laid out for getting your property on the market and getting tenants through the door.
1. Initial appraisal
Our expert property managers will visit your property and conduct a rental appraisal. During this visit, we’ll be able to discuss our fees with you and ask you to complete some documentation. We’ll also take some photos for the online listing and answer any questions you may have about our service and process.
2. Property listing
After the initial appraisal, our team will list your property on our hand-picked listing websites, as well as on the high-traffic Arbee Real Estate website. We’ll also add it into our agency window to attract the eyes of those passing by.
Once the enquiries start to roll in, we’ll book viewings for prospective tenants on your behalf.
3. Application processing
After your successful listing, we’ll begin processing the applications. We’ll pick the best tenants and provide you with their applications for you to make your final selection.
4. Database checks
After you’ve selected a tenant, we’ll run NTD and TICA database checks. If they produce no records, we’ll then contact the tenant to advise them their application has been accepted.
5. Payment of rent and bond
We’ll then arrange for a convenient time for them too visit the office and sign all necessary paperwork. Rent payment in advance and bond payment will also be arranged.
6. Property condition reports
Once a move-in date has been agreed, a member of our team will attend your property to conduct a property condition report.
What Do I Need To Do Before Renting My Property?
In addition to legal and insurance obligations, you also need to pay particular attention to the condition of the property you’re letting. Here’s a checklist of the items you need to cover prior to letting your property:
- Have your mail redirected – please ensure that all mail is redirected to your new address.
- Utilities – please ensure all accounts are advised and cancelled accordingly. The only services to remain in your name (with your new postal address) is water and council rates.
- Appliance manuals – please leave them on the kitchen counter.
- Keys – please ensure all locks have keys. Please supply 2 full sets of keys (one for our office, one for the tenant)
Here’s what you should cover when cleaning your property:
Inside the Property
- Walls – please clean off any dirty marks, removable scuff marks, finger or food marks etc.
- Ceilings – please remove any cobwebs
- Ceiling mould – please clean off, particularly in wet areas and bedrooms.
- Light fittings – clean off dust and remove any dead insects inside
- Ceiling fans – wipe fan blades and tops of fittings to remove dust build up
- Skirtings – wipe down with a damp cloth
- Doorways, doors – wipe off finger marks and any other removable marks
- Windows – clean inside and out – please note – nearly all modern sliding aluminium windows can be lifted and pulled out for easy cleaning. Also, sills and runners should be wiped to rid of dust build up and any dead insects. A vacuum cleaner and paint brush can really help here.
- Flyscreens – brushed and dusted down. Please be aware, most modern sliding aluminium windows allow for the flyscreens to be taken off from the inside only, once the sliding part of the window has been moved first. Attempting to take them off from the outside may result in damaging them.
- Screen doors – front and back including frames – wiped clean and screen wire brushed
- Stoves – clean stove top, control display, knobs, panels around knobs, pull out or in-built drip trays, griller racks, trays and any inserts, oven racks, trays and oven bottom, walls and oven roof. A good oven cleaner will clean most ovens – however it’s important you read the instructions on the product carefully. Some cleaners can actually hinder oven surfaces, and also some products have dangerous caustic fumes. Please use these products with caution.
- Kitchen Rangehood – clean pull out filters and framework.
- Bathroom – clean basin, mirror, cabinet, vanity unit and drawers, shower recess, glass screen and screen doors, bath and wall tiles. Please ensure both the basin and the bath have a plug available.
- Toilet – clean cistern, seat, bowl inside and also outside around the base. Don’t forget the skirting tiles around the toilet.
- Laundry – clean both the inside and outside of the trough, and underneath. Please ensure a plug is present.
- Tiling – all tiling and grouting to the kitchen, toilet, bathroom and laundry areas are clean.
- Exhaust – vents and fan covers are clean of any dust and dirt.
- Air-conditioners – front vents and filters cleaned of built up dirt. Modern systems (Wall Type) filters easily pull out and can be brushed down with a hand brush. If there is a ducted reverse-cycle air-conditioner unit, the air intake filter should be cleaned. This is usually on the ceiling in the passage area.
- Air-conditioning ceiling duct vents – please clean down if dusty or dirty.
- Curtains – wash any washable curtains and netting. If other curtains are visibly dusty or dirty, consider dry cleaning.
- Blinds – if you have venetian blinds, clean off the blind slats. Any other type of blinds should be able to be wiped down.
- Floors – to be mopped/washed if needed. Please ensure corners and hard to reach areas are also cleaned.
- Carpets – to ensure a greater chance of the carpets being returned by a tenant professionally cleaned, we ask also that the carpets be professionally cleaned. Phone us for details of who we recommend and use.
Outside The Property
Here’s what you need to cover outside of your property:
- Lawns – freshly mowed and edged (best done a couple of days before the tenant takes possession).
- Gardens – remove any weeds, any rubbish and built up leaves etc.
- Guttering – please ensure that the gutters are freshly cleaned of any dirt/silt and leaves/twigs.
- Rubbish – remove any rubbish that you have placed at the property. Be sure to check behind sheds, under shrubs and trees. This includes lawn clippings piled and compost left.
- Paths and paving areas – please sweep prior to tenant taking possession.
- Oil spillage removal – check and clean carport and garage floors, paths and driveway. If you have used a barbeque, check for any grease spots and spillages etc.
- Cigarette butts – if there are cigarette buts lying around, please pick up and remove.
- Cupboards/drawers – please clean/wash inside and out. Also doors and door frames, front and back of doors need to be cleaned.
If You Have A Pet
If you have a pet, here are the points you need to check off your cleaning list:
- Pet droppings – please remove from gardens, lawns and any out of the way areas. Please dispose of in the bin – please do not bury them.
- Dog urine – remove/clean where your pet may habitually urinate.
- Dog stains – to outside walls- check where your dog regularly lies down, there maybe ‘tell tale signs’ on walls etc.
- Dog/cat claw damage – check screen doors, flyscreens and curtains. Please replace the screen wire if required.
- Dog chew damage – please ensure watering systems are free of dog chew damage and are repaired accordingly.
- Pet hair – Please ensure any visible pet hair inside is removed.
What Happens When A Tenant Vacates?
When the tenant makes us aware they’ll be vacating the property, we’ll send them detailed
information on our expectations of how the property needs to be presented. Once the tenant has fully vacated after their 28-day notice period, we compare the property to the property condition report completed prior to them moving in.
We’ll carefully inspect the property on an item-by-item basis, ensuring it’s been returned in the same condition as it was left.
How Often Do I Get Paid My Rent?
Either fortnightly or monthly (depending on how often you’ve asked for), you’ll be sent a property rental statement. This statement will cover the rent collected, rent period, management fees and all reimbursements made on your behalf. Along with this, your rental profit will be deposited into your nominated account.