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.