Landlords and the Law: Top 5 Tips for Landlords

Date: May 02, 2010
Document Type: Newsletter

1. Check out your potential tenants

Make sure that your property is in safe hands and search the National Tenancy Database which will tell you:

  1. Whether a tenant is recommended for their next tenancy by a Real Estate Agent;
  2. Whether a tenant has ever abandoned a property without notice or vacated a rental property owing money for damages or cleaning;
  3. Whether a tenant has ever vacated a property owing rent; or
  4. Any unpaid Court orders against a tenant and referrals on any previous tenancies.

2. Do a property condition report

A Property Condition report is done at the commencement of a tenancy and outlines the state of the property at the time of commencement of the lease. This report is then used at the end of the tenancy to ensure that the property has been left in the same condition, taking into account normal wear and tear.

3. Make sure you do routine inspections.

Landlords are allowed to conduct routine inspections of their rental properties while they are tenanted to ensure that the property is being maintained to an acceptable standard and whether any maintenance is required.

4. Know the difference between an urgent repair and a non-urgent repair.

Urgent repairs are repairs that are required to be done within two or three days and as a landlord, you need to know what repairs are considered urgent so that you comply with your legal obligations.

Urgent repairs include:

  1. Burst water services;
  2. Blocked or broken toilets;
  3. A serious roof leak;
  4. A gas leak;
  5. A dangerous electrical fault;
  6. Flooding or serious flood damage;
  7. Serious storm or fire damage;
  8. A breakdown of any essential services or appliances required for water, hot water, cooking, heating or doing laundry;
  9. A failure/breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply;
  10. Any fault or damage that makes the premises unsecured or unsafe; or
  11. A breakdown in any appliance or fitting supplied by you that will result in large amounts of water being wasted.

Non-urgent repairs are any repairs not considered urgent. These repairs may be brought to your notice during a routine inspection or you may be informed by the tenant. There are time limits on non-urgent repairs although fourteen days is generally considered a reasonable period of time in which to attend to non-urgent repairs.

5. Follow the rules if your tenant stops paying rent.

If your tenant stops paying rent than you need to follow the correct legal process before you can terminate their tenancy. This includes issuing a notice of breach to the tenant advising them that they are behind in their rent and requesting them to rectify the problem within a certain period of time. Only if the tenant fails to rectify the problem are you able to terminate their tenancy.

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