What landlords need to know about tenant rights and responsibilities

Being a landlord involves more than collecting rent and managing repairs. Over the years, the balance between tenant and landlord rights has been a constant pendulum swing; with both parties believing their rights could be improved.

As a landlord it’s imperative to understand both landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities. Knowing the process and protocol in your state will see you navigate your way around legislation correctly, ultimately staying away from tribunals and court mediation.

Here are our tips on how landlords can make sure they and their tenants are meeting their obligations.

Get Educated

In many cases, tenants are diligent with knowing their rights – especially if they’ve rented previously – so it’s important landlords become familiar with the Residential Tenancy Act. The Act aims to respect the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, covering rents, rental bonds and other matters relating to residential tenancy agreements. There is also an abundance of resources available online for free to the public on government websites, Domain or realestate.com.au. The more knowledge you have, the less likely you are to fall foul of the law and end up with unwanted court fines.

Follow the Process

A landlord should always ensure two things at the beginning of a lease; a bond and a condition report. A bond acts as a security deposit to cover any costs of damages or potentially unpaid rent during the tenancy. The bond, however, must be forwarded to the residential tenancies bond authority who place the funds in a trust. Normally worth four weeks rent, the bond cannot increase during the tenancy.

Once the tenancy has been terminated, the landlord can claim the bond if the property is not in the same condition it was at the beginning of the lease (this does not include general wear and tear). If the landlord has no objections to the condition of the property, the tenant receives the full amount back upon moving out of the premises. On the other hand, the landlord can claim damages caused by the tenants, cleaning costs, outstanding bills or unpaid rent which is paid for out of the bond. If there is a disagreement about the compensation or the claim exceeds the full bond amount, an application can be filed to the state’s Tribunal. This is where a condition report will become imperative evidence to use to make a claim.

A condition report is a comprehensive document which visualises and describes the condition of a property at the time the tenant moved in. Accompanied by photographs of existing damage, the condition report is a handy document to refer to over the months and years of a tenancy. During routine periodic inspections, the condition report can be updated and referred to in order to understand the damage to or deterioration of a property.

Hire Help

A property manager will understand and advise on the rules and obligations landlords are ultimately responsible for, and where needed, act on a landlord’s behalf. A property manager can tap into tools and resources to stay up-to-date on changing legislation for both tenants and landlords, monitor the market and the repercussions this may have on rental prices, as well as carry out periodic reports or manage repairs. They are a vital asset to ensure an investment property is receiving maximum returns and as a landlord you’re adhering to your half of the contract.

To engage with a reliable property manager to assist with your investments, contact CPS Property today.

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