You successfully acquired finance and purchased an investment property. Once you have tenants in the property you now have the legal responsibilities of a landlord. The Residential Tenancies Act applicable in each Australian State outlines rules and regulations not only for your protection, but also the rights of a tenant.
Important Landlord Responsibilities and Rights
- You must provide and maintain the premises in an acceptable and reasonable condition.
- Most repairs are your responsibility.
- The tenant has the right to privacy.
- It’s important that your investment property complies with all the necessary building, health and safety standards that apply.
- Rent increases can be applied only after the existing agreement term ends.
- Eviction is allowed under extreme circumstances, such as for not paying the rent
- If you have any intention to sell the property, you must inform tenants
- Right of Entry. While you might own the property, that doesn’t mean you can come and go as you please. There are certain protocols in place and that you must follow.
- Repairs and maintenance require adequate notice.
- Property inspections require at least 48 hours’ notice.
There are also different stipulations that apply to each state.
Australian Capital Territory
- The tenant must be provided with a copy of the Office of Fair Trading booklet, The Renting Book. This must be handed over before the commencement of the tenancy agreement.
- A receipt must be issued when the tenant pays the bond. The money must also be lodged with the Office of Regulatory Services. This must be done within two weeks.
- Tenants must be issued with two copies of the Conditions of Premises Report. This must be provided within one day of the tenant moving in and the tenant must complete and return the form within two weeks.
New South Wales
- A copy of the New Tenant Checklist must be provided to tenants before the rental agreement is signed,
- Landlords must also be up to date with what qualifies as discrimination, fair trading laws, and good practices.
- A Guide to Renting in the Northern Territory must be given to new tenants.
- The landlord must organise the tenancy agreement and provide the tenant with a copy,
- A condition agreement must be completed in front of the tenant and a copy of the report must be supplied to the tenant.
- Allow the tenant to review and sign the tenancy report. The landlord must then sign this and a copy must be given to the tenant within seven days.
- Ensure that the premises are in a good state of repair and fit to live in.
- The landlord must ensure a reasonable standard of security and keys to each lock must be provided to the tenant.
- Nobody should be on the property when the tenants take the tenancy and move in.
- It is also the landlord’s responsibility not to interfere with the tenant’s peace or use of the property. In a situation where the landlord needs to enter the property, written notice must be given to the tenant in advance.
- Landlords must hand over the property in a clean and reasonable standard.
- Proper receipts must be provided and all transaction records must be maintained.
- Ensuring the property’s security by maintaining locks.
- Landlords must also lodge the bond with the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs.
- The booklet, Renting in Tasmania must be provided to tenants before they sign the tenancy agreement or move into a property.
- A tenancy agreement should be completed in writing, along with a condition report, security deposit, and rent in advance.
- Between 14 and 28 days notice must be given to tenants to end a tenancy.
- There are strict guidelines relating to when a landlord is allowed to enter their rented property. The date and time must be agreed with the tenant and it must be made within seven days prior to entering.
- There are exceptions to this rule. Twenty-four hours notice is needed in cases such as:
- Carrying out duties listed in the tenancy agreement of the Tenancy Act
- Valuing the property
- Showing the property to potential purchasers
- Showing the property to potential tenants (it cannot be more than 14 days before the current lease is terminated)
- Confirming a reasonable belief that the tenant is not maintaining his or her duties as outlined in the agreement
- General inspections in any six-month period.
These are just some of the basics of landlord responsibility and rights. Most of these cannot be changed by any tenancy agreement, so it pays to talk to a lawyer before you write one up if you have any concerns. Remember that the happier you keep your tenants the better relationship you will have and the less problems you will encounter. Landlords who understand these regulations enjoy higher occupancy rates and less lost income.