Owner's Frequently Asked Questions
With the correct marketing strategies and price set within the market conditions, your property should lease, on average, between 7 – 14 days.
By using the Whitestone’s Free Rental Appraisal, we always strive to get you the maximum rent possible. However, for us to lease your property as soon as possible we also must consider these factors:
- Demand – is there currently a high or low demand for rental properties? This can be seasonal and affected by a number of factors.
- What is available now – we look at properties currently available for rent and consider their location and features for comparison, to calculate a maximum rent for your property.
- What we have rented right now – we compare your property with what we have currently rented, taking into account property location and features.
These factors allow us to give you enough information to set the right rent for your property.
You may place your property on the market at whatever rental amount you wish. However, keep in mind that it is market demand that sets the rent, and if the market (i.e. prospective tenants looking for a rental property) thinks that the asking rent is too high, your property may stay vacant longer than necessary.
With this in mind, be aware your annual rental returns will be reduced by 2% for every week it is vacant!
For residential properties, the fixed term is usually 6 or 12 months.
We look to fix all our tenancies over the Christmas period, then renew for a 12 month period. The idea is to keep your property let over Christmas ensuring the highest possible rent, the best possible tenant, and the lowest vacancy period.
No one can guarantee the performance of the tenant. We can only use our professional skills and experience to verify that the tenant can afford to pay the rent and to form an opinion on whether the tenant will maintain the property to an acceptable standard. Obviously, we can’t accommodate for loss of job, divorce or death.
As the paying of rent and maintenance of the property is purely voluntary on the tenant`s part, we cannot guarantee any tenancy outcome. This is a landlord risk that comes with owning an investment property. We recommend that you take out landlord protection insurance if the risk greatly concerns you.
All tenancies are subject to the Residential Tenancies Act.
The tenancy documentation includes:
- Tenancy Agreement
- Condition Report
- Ingoing photos
- Bond to be lodged online or Bond Lodgement Form
- Smoke alarm, breaking lease early and pool information
- Record of keys in possession of tenant
It’s best practice for our professional staff to sign on your behalf, so we can ensure that all tenants are fully aware of our strict policies, and that we cover any special conditions given. A copy of the signed lease can be sent to you upon request.
Yes. You may give us special instructions in relation to the property and the way it is managed, provided the instructions are lawful. These special instructions will need to be either specified in the Management Agreement or provided in writing to us.
If a pet is permitted we will provide the tenant with strict written conditions.
The major conditions include:
- the pet may not come inside the house.
- the pet must be removed from the property if it becomes annoying or bothersome to neighbour’s (after reasonable warning has been given in writing).
- the tenant must be responsible for any damage caused by their pet, and clean up any mess left by the pet.
- the carpets must be professionally cleaned or the property professionally fumigated at the end of tenancy.
Unfortunately no. Charging a bond in excess of the tenant’s normal rental bond is illegal in Australia.
The Agreement continues on a continuation basis once the Tenancy Agreement expired. Each party will then be required to give the following notice period to terminate the Agreement:
- Tenant: 21 days
- Owner: 90 days
It is not necessary to renew a Tenancy Agreement when the fixed term period ends. In fact, in Australia while we can request that a tenant renew their Tenancy Agreement for a further fixed term, we cannot insist that they do so. Any renewal agreement must be mutually agreed between the parties.
All tenants listed on the Tenancy Agreement are given a full set of keys. This includes keys to all external doors, windows, garage or letterbox locks. We retain a full master set of keys at the office.
This may necessitate having keys cut at your expense.
The law requires that an owner must provide and maintain locks and other security devices in order for the property to be “reasonably secure”.
It is recommended that key operated deadlocks be fitted to all external doors and windows.
If the tenants wishes to alter the existing locks or add other security devices to make the property more secure, the tenant must obtain the owner’s prior consent and pay all costs. The tenant must provide the owner/agent with a copy of any new keys.
From 1 July 2016 it is compulsory under the Residential Tenancy Act to have working smoke alarms in residential rental properties. There must be a minimum of one working smoke alarm within 3 metres of each bedroom door. The landlord is responsible for making sure smoke alarms are in working order at the beginning of every new tenancy. The tenant is responsible for replacing batteries (if required) during their tenancy.
At the start of the tenancy, all light bulbs should be at the property and in working order.
During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for replacing any smoke alarm batteries.
We are not legally qualified to check the functionality and suitability of smoke alarms and, as such, recommend the use of qualified professionals for that purpose.
If there is no individual meter for the rented premises, as in the case of blocks or older style units, a tenant cannot be charged for water usage.
However, the tenant is responsible for any cost of water used during the tenancy if the property has an individual water meter and has legally prescribed water efficiency devices.
Please note water service and sewer service charge cannot be passed onto tenants!
We do recommend that, and for the most part have, properties where water usage is included “within the rental amount” – adjusting the rental figure to reflect this.
Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible for maintaining the lawns and gardens to the standard they were given at the start of the tenancy.
Any major trims, hedges and trees – are the owner’s responsibility.
If the property is provided with watering systems these need to be working and kept maintained during the tenancy.
It is the owner’s responsibility to clear the gutters.
You can, however, the tenant needs to be given between 14 days’ notice.
If the tenant withholds consent we must arrange a time that suits better and, of course, provide written permission for this to occur.
There are 4 main ways that a tenancy can be terminated.
- To end the tenancy when the fixed term of the agreement is due to expire, either party can give at least 30 days’ notice.
- To end a tenancy after the fixed term has expired (i.e. with a continuing tenancy). A tenant is required to give at least 21 days’ notice and the owner must give at least 90 days’ notice to terminate the agreement any time after the fixed term has ended.
- To end a tenancy due to a breach. A 14 days termination notice may be given at anytime if either party breaches a term of the agreement, or if the tenant is more than 14 days in arrears of rent.
- If the owner or the owner’s immediate family or employee wants to occupy the property then the owner can provide 42 days written notice to occupy the property if the tenancy is of a periodic nature.
Residential Tenancy Agreements are legally binding contracts. However, if a tenant wishes to break the Agreement and vacate the property before the fixed term expires, the tenant is responsible for the following:
- Rent until the date a new tenant takes over the property, or until the fixed term expires (whichever happens first) any agreed advertising costs. It is important to note that the owner/agent must make reasonable efforts to minimise any potential losses the tenant may suffer in this situation.
- The tenant pays a break fee of 6 weeks rent in the first half of the fixed term or 4 weeks rent in the second half of the fixed term
The question of what constitutes “damage” and what is considered acceptable “wear and tear” is always an issue in property management.
In cases of damage to a property attributable to a tenant that is not considered normal wear and tear, normally the bond will provide sufficient protection to remedy the damage.
If not, the owner can take action in the Tribunal against the tenant. Also, landlord protection insurance can cover this type of situation.
It may be difficult to contact you on a routine basis, we suggest that you nominate someone locally to act as your representative in case of an emergency and that this person is advised of the extent of their authority.
That person’s name and contact details should be recorded in the Management Agreement or, alternatively, provided to us in writing.
Please notify us in writing as soon as possible. E-mail
You can go to our website: www.whitestoneagency.com.au and use your Landlord’s login user name and password to locate and reprint rent statements.
Alternatively, you can contact us for a replacement statement.
We ask the tenants to forward to us any mail addressed to you, however, they are not always as diligent with this as we would like.
It is strongly recommended that you request Australia Post to redirect your mail to you.
For information on how we can help you sell your property or assist you in buying another property, contact us today.
For further information please call us on 02 8845 4818 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org