When you rent your investment property out to a tenant then you take on all the responsibilities of a landlord. Because each state or territory’s Residential Tenancies Act covers landlord and tenant issues, your duties will vary depending on where your property is within Australia. If you plan to manage your property yourself you will need to become familiar with all of the relevant rules and regulations. On the other hand, if you choose to use a professional property management company then they will take care of all the necessary details for you, and ensure that you are fulfilling your landlord responsibilities.
One of the most important responsibilities of a landlord is to keep their investment property in good condition, and respond to emergency requests within an acceptable time frame. Landlords must ensure that the exterior and the interior of the property are maintained and liveable. For the outside of a property this might include having an ongoing maintenance schedule such as gardening, gutter cleaning and regular roof inspections.
On the inside of a property landlords need to ensure that any fixed appliances are working and maintained and any necessary repairs are carried out promptly. Emergency requests – for example, to fix a broken water heater or a leaking toilet – must be dealt with quickly, and each state and territory has different rules about the period of time in which a landlord must respond to a tenant’s requests.
Other general responsibilities of landlords include:
- Providing an appropriate tenancy agreement
- Finding tenants and setting the deposit or bond, rent and rent increases. Every state and territory has different rules about these issues. In Victoria, for example, a landlord can increase the rent after a period of 6 months, but they must give the tenant 60 days notice of the increase.
- The landlord should also be aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to ending a tenancy agreement. As an example, in NSW if a tenant is 2 weeks in arrears with the rent, the landlord may provide notice of the ending of the rental agreement within 14 days. If the property is being sold then the landlord must provide at least 14 days notice, even if the fixed term of the rental agreement has ended.
In the case of disputes over the investment property maintenance, rental increases or any other issue relating to landlords and tenants, there are many different bodies across Australia that can review cases and provide legal judgements. These include the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal in NSW, the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection in Western Australia and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
It is easy to see why the majority of property investors choose to use professional management companies to take care of the day-to-day responsibilities of having tenants. A company such as Ironfish provides one point of contact for tenants and any issues they may have, and they will be able to assist you with all issues including finding good tenants and setting and monitoring the rent. A professional investment property management company can help give you peace of mind, knowing that your property is being looked after, leaving you free to focus on your long-term property investment strategy.