If you are managing your own rental property, there are things you can do to ensure a tenant meets your expectations. If you have engaged an estate agent, communicate these tips with them.
Provide the guide
You must give your tenant a copy of the New Tenant Checklist on or before the day they move in. This guide, available on the NSW Fair Trading website, informs your tenant of their rights and responsibilities.
Respond immediately to urgent repairs
Repairs are your responsibility – but the onus is on your tenant to notify you about any repairs before further damage occurs. You must respond immediately to your tenant’s request for urgent repairs.
When your tenant moves in, give them an urgent repair contact available to answer calls at any time. You should also consider providing the direct number of your electrician or plumber.
To prevent the need for repairs, create a manual for your property (similar to those found in hotel rooms) containing clear instructions on using the various amenities such as heaters, cooking appliances, and spa or swimming pool equipment.
Conduct regular inspections
Exercise your right to conduct regular inspections of your property, so you can identify problems and address them before it’s too late.
General inspections of premises (no more than 4 times per year) require at least 7 days written notice; or at a date and time agreed with your tenant.
Your tenant must keep your property reasonably clean, not cause any damage or nuisance, and not use it for illegal purposes. If you find your tenant is not meeting these requirements, send them a written notice to fix the problem.
Conducting regular inspections of your rental property can save you time and money.
Consumer Affairs Victoria recently inspected a property a tenant had vacated – 74 old tyres had been left behind in the back yard. The landlord had to pay $30 per tyre to have them removed. Had he exercised his rights to inspect the property earlier, he may have discovered what was happening long before the situation got out of hand.
Maintain smoke alarms
The residential tenancy agreement states that the landlord will install and maintain smoke alarms according to the standards in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
You should change the smoke alarm batteries at least once a year; it’s a good idea to co-ordinate this with your inspection of the property. For more information, visit changeyourbattery.com.au
How NSW Fair Trading can help
Find out more about the rights and responsibilities for you as landlord, and your tenant, plus all the forms you will need, at fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Tenants_and_home_owners.html.
You can also contact them on 133 220.