Ten Frequently Asked Questions By Investors

By Myra Bloomfield

1. Can I say I don’t want pets at my property

Landlords may choose to specify if pets are allowed or not in a Tenancy Agreement. If you elect to allow pets, the Residential Tenancies Act outlines the tenant’s responsibility regarding 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.

2. Where is the bond held?

Charging of a bond is not mandatory, however it is recommended as a form of security for the Landlord in the event of a tenant breach of the Tenancy Agreement. The maximum bond that can be asked is four times the weekly rent and is held by New South Wales Fair Trading. We will never lease your property without a bond being held.

3. How and when am I paid the rent from my tenants?

All monies received on your behalf are held in our regularly audited trust account. From these monies, we pay all authorized payments relating to your property including council rates, insurance, repairs and maintenance. Invoices are sent to you with your next statement. The trust account period concludes with account processing occurring on the last business day of each month to comply with trust account auditor requirements.

4. Are all repairs done properly?

Work arranged by our agency for your property is carried out by a suitably qualified and licensed tradesperson. If the work required is covered by a warranty, our agency contacts the supplier, or if the work is claimable under your Landlord or any other insurance policy, we can contact the insurer to claim on your behalf. Our agency has access to a wide range of excellent tradespeople who have met and exceeded our expectations when conducting repairs at our properties.

5. Does somebody keep track of rental payments?

Each business day, rent arrears are monitored with action taken as the legislation allows. During the 7 day arrears period, we contact the tenant advising them they are now in breach of the Tenancy Agreement. If rent continues to be unpaid for 14 clear days, we will issue a Non-Payment Termination Notice to all Tenants listed on the Tenancy Agreement the following day as the legislation allows. Of course we maintain contact with the tenant until the matter is finalised i.e. rent is paid or if necessary, we will seek to evict the tenant with an application to Tribunal.

6. What is the average length of a Tenancy Agreement?

The most common tenancy is a fixed term for 6 or 12 months; giving the investor security. We suggest a new tenant’s first Tenancy Agreement be for 6 months to see how the tenant performs. The agreement may be re-negotiated before the end of each fixed term period. If a tenant ends a Tenancy Agreement early, the tenant is responsible to pay a break lease fee as the legislation allows.

7. How often can I inspect the property other than for maintenance?

The Tenancy Agreement specifies that the tenant permits the Landlord/Agent to inspect the property during the tenancy provided the tenant is given notice as required by the Residential Tenancies Act. The act states that unless a tenant agrees otherwise, entry may not be made more than 4 times in one year by the Landlord/Agent.

8. What Insurance is needed for an investment Property?

Before renting a property it is highly recommended to have appropriate insurance cover such as ‘Landlord Protection Insurance’. Packages are typically available from your preferred insurer for cost effective and comprehensive protection. All queries about insurance must be directed to insurance providers.

9. Who pays for water?

If the water is separately metered and the property has water efficiency measures, the tenant can be held responsible for water usage. There is a section on the Residential Tenancy Agreement that details the conditions of water usage charges. From the date a tenant commences and if specified on the Tenancy Agreement, tenants are responsible to pay for electricity, gas, telephone, and water usage charges. The Landlord is responsible to pay council / shire rates, sewerage and drainage rates, land tax and all corporate charges.

10. Do I pay for the telephone connection?

It is recommended that if the property is new or has been vacant for a while and a telephone line is not connected to the property the Landlord pays for a line connection. We recommend the tenant organises the work and submits the account to us for the Landlord to pay. The tenant is responsible to pay for the service connection to the line and all services used.