- What is an Inspection Report?
- What is a Routine Inspection?
- How do Tenants Pay Their Rent?
- What happens if my tenant stops paying rent?
- When does the rent money get paid into my account?
- Repairs and what is an Urgent Repair?
- Can I say I don’t want pets at my property?
- Are smoke alarms required?
- Do I need insurance?
- How do I end a tenancy?
- What happens if the tenant does not want to renew the tenancy agreement when it expires?
- The tenancy agreement is about to expire and we want to move back into the property will the tenant automatically have to vacate the property?
- Can I charge for water usage?
- This is a report that is compiled 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 at the end of the tenancy to assess the condition of the property at the time of vacating.
- The tenant has 7 days from commencement of tenancy to sign, complete and return the condition report.
- When a tenant moves out the inspection report is used at the outgoing inspection and each item is checked off to assess the condition compared to that at tenancy commencement. It is at this inspection that any items that need to be rectified by the tenant are identified allowing for reasonable wear and tear. The outgoing inspection will be carried out as soon as possible after the end of a tenancy, when the tenants have returned their keys.
- At Elders Real Estate Toongabbie our property condition reports are complemented by a range of digital photographs of the condition of your property to help alleviate any disputes at the finalisation of the tenancy. This service is complementary to our clients.
What is a Routine Inspection?
A routine inspection is an inspection carried out regularly during a tenancy.
We carry out our first routine inspection 3 months after a tenant takes possession of the property and six monthly thereafter. 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 should it be necessary, a member of the Elders Real Estate Toongabbie Property Management Team will contact you to discuss items noted on the report. You will be invited to attend your routine inspection, should you wish to do so where possible the time will be made to suit you (during our normal business hours).
We offer tenants several options to pay their rent, leaving no excuse for late payments. We offer the following payment options:-
- BPAY/DEFT Payment systems 24 hours per day, 7 days per week using a credit card (charges apply), or from your bank, building society or credit union account. This is our preferred payment method.
- EFTPOS debit card at our office
- EFTPOS credit card (charges apply VISA & Mastercard only)
- Cheque or Money Order either via mail or at our office
We do not accept cash at our office under any circumstances.
A fee of $30.00 will be payable by the tenant for any dishonoured payments. We reserve the right to refuse any payment method following more than 2 dishonours.
Elders Real Estate Toongabbie has a zero tolerance on rental arrears. It is the tenants responsibility to ensure as per their Residential Tenancy Agreement that their rent is paid by the due date.
From the time rent is overdue we contact the tenant to advise them that the rent is in arrears. We will contact tenants by whatever means we are able, this includes but is not limited to sms messages, email, telephone calls and mail.
We use the DEFT rental payment system, all tenants have been issued with a DEFT code number and instructions booklet on how payments can be made. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES NO CASH IS ACCEPTED AT OUR OFFICE.
When a tenant falls more than 14 days behind in their rental payments they are issued with a notice of termination advising them they need to provide vacant possession of the premises with 14 days. To discuss the process after this or for further information on our handling of arrears and what you can expect from our team, please call on 9896 2333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the 25th day of every month (or next business day) all monies held, unless instructed otherwise, is paid to you by way of direct debit to your nominated bank account.
A statement is issued at the same time outlining the debits and credits for that month, the statement is sent to you via email with all accounts attached.
Repairs and what is an Urgent Repair?
It is the Property Investors responsibility to make sure that the premises are reasonably clean and fit to live in at tenancy commencement. The property must then be maintained in a reasonable state of repair giving consideration to:-
- The age of the premises
- The amount of rent payable by the tenant
- The potential life of the premises.
All necessary repairs should be dealt with as soon as practical, however the Property Investor is not required to immediately attend to every small matter during the tenancy.
As a Property Investor you are required to organise any urgent repair as soon as reasonably possible after notification by the tenant.
An urgent repair as classified by the residential tenancy agreement is any of the following:
- A burst water service
- An appliance, fitting or fixture that uses water or is used to supply water that is broken or not functioning properly, so that a substantial amount of water is wasted
- A blocked or broken lavatory system
- A serious roof leak
- A gas leak
- A dangerous electrical fault
- Flooding or serious flood damage
- Serious storm or fire damage
- Failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
- Failure or breakdown or any essential service on the premises for hot water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundering
Any fault or damage that causes the premises to be unsafe or not secure
The Residential Tenancy Agreement states that the tenant at your property may spend up to $1,000 on rectifying urgent repairs and must be reimbursed within 14 days by you if you fail to undertake the repairs as a matter of urgency. The tenant would be required to use properly qualified trades people as nominated by us in the Residential Tenancy Agreement.
Can I say I don’t want pets at my property?
Landlords may choose to specify if Pets are, or, are not allowed in Tenancy Agreements for your property.
If you elect to allow pets, the Residential Tenancy Act outlines the Tenant’s responsibility with having them at a rental property. Our Agency can provide practical suggestions for your consideration before deciding if you will allow a pet or not.
Are smoke alarms required?
Smoke alarms are required to be installed in all residential buildings. There is strict legislation in regards to their placement throughout homes and how they are to be maintained.
The Residential Tenancy Agreement states that ‘The Landlord agrees to ensure that smoke alarms are installed and maintained in the residential premises in accordance with section 146A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 if that section requires them to be installed in the premises.’
We strongly suggest the use of a fully licensed and insured Smoke Alarm company to ensure your ongoing obligations are met under this legislation.
We use and recommend Smoke Alarm Testing Service, a company many of our Property Investors have employed to attend to their smoke alarm requirements for a minimal annual cost. We consider this an essential risk management tool.
Do I need insurance?
We strongly recommend to all Property Investors that they are adequately insured. Whilst we cannot provide you with insurance advice as this is not our area of expertise we strongly advise you contact your insurance broker/ company and discuss your individual needs with them.
Our Management Agency Agreement states
‘The Principal must have legal/public liability insurance and be covered for a minimum of 10 million dollars. Such policy must be maintained for the term of this Agreement and the Principal must, upon request, provide a certificate annually confirming the currency of such policy’.
Other insurances you may wish to investigate are:-
- Building Insurance (if your property is part of a strata plan this should be held by the strata managers).
- Basic contents insurance (to cover such things as blinds, curtains, light fittings etc).
- Landlord insurance which can include things such as loss of rent, malicious damage etc.
Most insurance companies provide all these type of policies and there are some insurance companies that specifically deal with insurance for investment properties. As with any type of insurance what is covered varies greatly between policies.
How do I end a tenancy?
A tenancy can be terminated by either the Landlords agent or the tenant giving the relevant notice to the other party.
A notice of termination must:
- Be in writing
- State the address of the premises
- Be signed and dated
- Allow the required period of time
- Give the actual date on which the tenant is requested or intends to vacate the premises
- Give details of breaches (if applicable) or reasons for ending the agreement
- When given to the tenant, include a statement that information about their rights and obligations can be found in the tenancy agreement.
The notice can be posted (allowing at least 4 working days for service) or given personally. The notice period is counted from the day after the notice is served.
The required notice periods are as follows:-
- In the last 30 days of the fixed term of the tenancy agreement the Landlord can give 30 days notice to vacate to the tenant, or a tenant can give 14 days notice to vacate to the Landlord.
- Once the fixed term has ended the tenant is required to give at least 21 days notice, and the Landlord must give at least 90 days notice.
- If the premises are sold and the contract stipulates vacant possession is required the Landlord must give the tenants at least 30 days notice after contracts have been exchanged (applies to continuing tenancies only)
- Serious or persistent breaches by either party or if a tenant is more than 14 days in arrears, at least 14 days notice.
- Immediate eviction can be applied for through the Tribunal under certain circumstances which are clearly outlined in the legislation, your Property Manager will discuss this with you if required.
If a tenant does not vacate in accordance with notice given and order from the Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal must be obtained before possession can be taken by the Landlord. There are extremely heavy penalties for Landlords breaching this part of the law.
What happens if the tenant does not want to renew the tenancy agreement when it expires?
This is a more common situation than you may think. As the owner of the property it is important to understand that when a fixed term agreement comes to an end, there is still a tenancy in place and the same tenancy agreement terms and conditions apply.
Both the tenancy agreement and the Act allow for a fixed term to revert automatically to a continuing/periodic tenancy at the end if it is not ‘renewed’ for a further fixed period.
While there are some differences in the notice periods required for the two types of agreements, there are no other differences. In other words, if the tenant does not meet their obligations the same remedies apply to both fixed term and continuing/periodic.
The first step in the renewal discussion process should always be to ask the tenant why they do not want to renew. Often there is a legitimate reason such as they are in the process of buying a property.
If a tenant does not agree to a renewal of a fixed term at the end of a tenancy, then there are only two options that exist – either terminate the tenancy or allow the tenant to stay on as a continuing/periodic tenant.
Remember, while there are advantages to owners knowing that a tenant is secured by a fixed agreement, it may be better to have a continuing/periodic tenancy than no tenancy at all.
In deciding the outcome you should look at how long the tenants have resided in the property, have they paid rent on time and are they a quality tenant. We also suggest all our Property Investors are aware whether their Landlord Insurance is subject to their tenants being on a fixed term tenancy.
The tenancy agreement is about to expire and we want to move back into the property will the tenant automatically have to vacate the property?
For a tenant to lawfully vacate the property the tenancy must be terminated in accordance with legislation requirements.
There have been situations where both the tenant and landlord have assumed that when the tenancy agreement has an end date then the tenancy automatically terminates. This is not the case.
A tenancy can be terminated if:
1) The agent/landlord gives the tenant notice
2) The tenant gives the agent notice
3) The property is abandoned
4) The Tribunal orders
5) By mutual agreement
There are also different notice periods (as discussed in How do I end a tenancy? above) that must be given at different times of the tenancy and depending on the reason – i.e. end of fixed-term tenancy, periodic agreement, property sold or landlord moving into the property. If you want to move back into your investment property it is important that you discuss this with our Property Management Team.
There are many fact sheets relating to tenancy matters available on the NSW Office of Fair Trading website https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
Can I charge for water usage?
For a tenant to lawfully vacate the property the tenancy must be terminated in accordance with legislation requirements.
You may only charge the water usage charge from your Sydney Water account if your property is fitted with water efficient measures. The water usage charge is shown as a separate figure on your water bill and relates to the total amount of water which flows through the water meter on the property.
The current requirements for water efficiency as quoted of the website for Fair Trading NSW is;
|Water efficiency devices||Minimum standard required|
|Internal cold water taps and single mixer taps for kitchen sinks and bathroom hand basins||A maximum flow rate of nine litres per minute|
|Showerheads||A maximum flow rate of nine litres per minute|
|No leaking taps||No leaking taps anywhere on the premises at the start of the tenancy or when the other water efficiency measures are installed|
Additional water efficiency measures implemented as of March 23, 2020 state that all taps and toilets on the property need to be checked at the start of a tenancy so that any leaks are fixed. Taps and toilets must also be checked whenever any other water efficiency measures are installed, repaired or upgraded and any leaks fixed. This requirement applies to existing and new tenancy agreements from 23 March 2020.
From 23 March 2025, all toilets in rented properties must be dual flush with a minimum three-star rating in accordance with the Commonwealth Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme. The WELS scheme uses a rating system to help consumers make informed choices about the water efficiency of products they buy.
Landlords who intend to replace or upgrade existing toilets in their property should consider installing dual flush toilets with a minimum three-star WELS rating to meet the water efficiency requirements by 23 March 2025.
If we pay the water account on your behalf we will automatically charge the usage amount to the tenant when we receive the account, the tenant is given 21 days to pay the usage amount and are sent a copy of your water bill (as required by legislation). If you are paying your own water account you will need to email/fax/mail us a copy of that account (both sides) to enable us to invoice the tenants. It is appropriate that you do this as soon as possible after receipt of the account, as you must seek payment within 3 months of your receipt of the water bill. If faxing or mailing please ensure you confirm receipt with our office.
We will take a water meter reading at your property both at commencement and termination inspections to ensure the correct water usage amount is charged to each tenant.
It is appropriate to note that if your property has ongoing plumbing problems e.g. leaking taps, running toilets etc and you have been advised but have either not made or were slow to make the necessary repairs the tenant may request a reduction in the next water usage bill.