Wednesday, 26 October 2016

General Meetings within a Body Corporate

We get that this subject might be a bit bland…. However, it’s a topic that may need clarification. It could always be worse though… we could be discussing Workplace Health and Safety – Eek!

Introducing…. GENERAL MEETINGS. There are two kinds of meetings relevant to running a body corporate: committee meetings and general meetings. General meetings are open meetings for all lot-owners, or their representatives, and all lot-owners must be invited to attend a general meeting. There are detailed provisions in the Act and the Modules about how a general meeting must be called and held.

General meetings are the means by which the body corporate deals with matters of business that are beyond the powers of the committee to determine.

Once a year, the body corporate must hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM).
All other general meetings are called Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs). The AGM must be called and held each year within 3 months after the end of the scheme's financial year, and must consider certain specific motions ('statutory motions'). An EGM may be held at any time in compliance with the time limits and procedures set out in the Act and the Modules, and a group of owners may request the committee to convene an EGM which will be a requested extraordinary general meeting.

At a general meeting (whether an AGM or EGM), motions proposed on an agenda are put to the vote. Only those motions on the agenda can be voted on, and therefore the business of managing the body corporate is by previously proposed motions, and not by discussion and proposals put from the floor.

One vote only may be exercised for each lot in the scheme.

However, we think you know all of this already. Despite this being so incredibly…. um, riveting (cough), why are we bringing this subject up?  All too many times we attend an AGM or EGM and the body corporate does not achieve a quorum.  A quorum is the minimum number of votes that a body corporate requires to hold a General Meeting.

So all the work that goes into putting a General Meeting together, has to be held over to a reconvened meeting 7 days post the date of the original meeting. How does this affect you? Well there is always a cost involved for holding another meeting. This, in turn, boosts up levies. Something that all committees try to keep at a manageable cost to all lot owners.

So next time when you see your AGM papers come through the mail, please make sure you complete them. If you can’t make the meeting, then send them through to your Body Corporate manager or even your Building Manager and they will lodge them on your behalf at the meeting.

Remember, every vote counts!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Rental Property Viewing Checklist

You know where you want to live and you’ve found a few properties worthy of an inspection, but now what do you look for? It can be daunting to take the first step in finding a rental property. The key is to be organised. After all, this could be your home for quite some time.

While you know the look and feel of a home that you’re after, there are also some key points to note that will ensure those practical aspects don’t get overlooked in the rush of an open home.
Choosing the right home for you can be very personal and take a lot longer than you think. We’ve compiled a list of items to think about when you inspect your next property.

Lists keep everyone organised, right? We suggest creating two different lists when it comes to finding the right home for you. A list of “must-haves” and a list of “like-to-haves”. Providing you can tick off everything on your “must-have” list, then anything else on the other list is a bonus!

You should check there is the appropriate amount of security for your needs. Are there deadlocks and window locks? Is there secure car parking? If it’s in a complex, is the building secure with resident-only access?

This may not be a deal-breaker for some. But for others, it might be. Is there enough internal and external storage space? Is there a lock-up garage or shed? Are there built in robes or extra linen cupboards? 

Whether you end up renting at one of Rent Central’s complexes around Brisbane or a free standing house, you want to know what amenities are available to you. Does it have a pool? Does the complex have a gym?

Measure up
The fridge! Does the fridge fit? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve moved into a new home only to realise the fridge doesn’t fit there, ah! Not only the fridge, but does the bed fit giving you enough space for the bedside tables etc? Be sure to take a measuring tape with you to your next inspection.

Other factors
There are also some other factors to keep in mind. Do you need a pet friendly home? If you’re looking at an apartment, what’s the water and electricity billing situation? Is your potential new home in close proximity to the things you need like work, schools, shops etc?

If in doubt about anything, ask the property manager. Avoid making assumptions which may lead to you not being completely satisfied with your decision.

So, what are you waiting for…. Start searching your next dream home right here…. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

What makes a good neighbourhood GREAT?

You’ve seen the movies where the gardens and pathways are immaculately manicured, kids playing safely in the street, that man who brings your rubbish bin in each week and, of course, that friendly neighbour who delivers freshly baked treats. Imagine that in your street, huh?

Alas, the perfect neighbourhood only exists in the movies. But having a great neighbourhood is certainly not out of the question!

When choosing where to live, it’s important to find the ideal lifestyle match. Is there public transport close by? Is it within the school catchment area? Are there restaurants and bars within walking distance? Close to work? Is the place secure?

We’ve put together some top tips that we think make a good neighbourhood great:
  • Location – close to the things that matter to us. It may be close to work, close to public transport or close to shopping centres
  • Outdoor spaces – facilities (pool, gym etc), green spaces and outdoor areas to relax.

  • Security – a secure home where your loved ones and belongings are safe.
  • Community – a sense of community where the neighbours are friendly and there are local events happening.
  • Comfort – storage space, open plan living, nice views and good entertaining spaces.
  • Onsite management - Jay Walljasper, author of The Great Neighbourhood Book by the Project for Public Spaces says “Eighty percent of the success of any good place is due to how well it is managed after the project is done.” Amen to that! Our onsite managers are testament to this and ensure our good communities are made even greater once the project is completed.

And of course, great people form the basis of an even better place to live. Given we’re onsite managers at seven complexes across Brisbane, we work towards a healthy community and neighbourhood that we live in.

We get that the place we live in has a fundamental impact on our well-being, therefore at Rent Central, we pride ourselves on managing complexes that are on-point with characteristics of a great neighbourhood. Ideal location, open outdoor spaces, sense of security and community and proximity to Brisbane’s best is what makes our complexes popular choices for renting.

What makes your neighbourhood great?

Monday, 21 March 2016

What are my responsibilities as a landlord?

You’ve taken the plunge into real estate investing and now, all of a sudden, you’re a landlord.

Being a landlord is much more than just finding a tenant and collecting rent. It’s a world full of legislation, rights and responsibilities. This is where we, as knowledgeable property managers, come into play. As part of our role to manage your investment, we’re also here to guide you through your obligations as a landlord.

Smoke Alarms
It is the law in Queensland for property owners to install smoke alarms in all domestic dwellings. As a landlord, you must also ensure the smoke alarms are tested and cleaned; as well as battery replacement within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy. For a minimal fee, all Rent Central property managers are able to check and re-battery the smoke alarms on your behalf.

Bond Management
Typically, the bond amount is equivalent to four weeks rent – this is the maximum amount you can charge. Your property manager will issue the tenant with a Bond Lodgement form and once the bond has been paid, a receipt will be issued. This money is held by the Residential Tenancies Authority(RTA).

As the landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure the property is fit to live in. And the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean and undamaged – or in the same condition it was when they moved in.
If any repairs or maintenance needs attention, ideally the tenant would notify the property manager and then repairs would be carried out. This is generally paid for by the owner. In the event that a tenant damages the property, there are circumstances where they are required to pay for repairs. For example: when moving in, they accidentally put a hole in the wall with their fridge – the tenant would need to pay for the repair to the wall.

Routine inspections can be carried out once every three months. Your Rent Central property manager will email through an entry condition report once the inspections have been carried out. In order for the landlord or property manager to inspect the premises, seven days’ notice is required. This does not include repairs or maintenance to the property; 24 hours’ notice is required for this type of entry.

Rent can be paid in numerous forms including: cash, cheque, credit card, EFTPOS, or any other way agreed by you and the tenant. Rent can be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
For rent to be increased, it needs to be at least six months since the last increase. Rent cannot be increased during a fixed term unless stated in the tenancy agreement.
In a nut shell, you must:
·         Ensure your property is vacant, clean and in good repair at the start of the tenancy.
·         Ensure the smoke alarms are tested often and always working.
·         Comply with all health and safety laws
·         Provide reasonable security with locks in good working order and supply keys for each lock
·         Pay all charges, levies, premiums, rates and taxes for the property and cover the costs of preparing     the tenancy agreement
·         Lodge all bond money with the RTA
·         Not increase the rent within six months of the last rental increase.

If at any time you are unsure about your responsibilities as a landlord, our very clever property managers at Rent Central are always there to help!

Information in this blog has been derived from the Residential Tenancies Authority Managing General Tenancies in Queensland booklet.