If you’re choosing to manage the rental of your investment property/properties yourself, it’s imperative that you familiarise yourself with relevant legislation surrounding the legal rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. Please find below a short list outlining some of the steps that you will need to take when self managing your property.
Prepare all necessary documentation, ensuring you have a strong knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act (1997)
The lease is a legal contract between the tenant and the landlord. It covers the amount of rent to be paid, the length of the agreement, any additional rules and conditions, and the security bond.
There are two types of tenancy agreements – fixed term and periodic term. A fixed term agreement is for a set period of time. Even though the lease has an end date, it is still necessary for the tenant to give notice in writing when they wish to move out, or if the landlord wants to remove the tenant after the end of the lease they must provide the tenant with a “notice to vacate” within certain time frames. A periodic term lease is set from either week-to-week or month-to-month. Again, the landlord or the tenant needs to give an appropriate amount of notice in writing that they wish to end the lease.
Before signing a lease, the tenant must be provided a copy to review. When both parties have signed the lease, the tenant should be provided with a signed copy within 14 days.
Make Sure You Cover All Of Your Bases
You will need to keep exhaustive and faultless records to regulate rental payments and maintenance requests. Rent receipts should always be issued, as well as records of bond lodgement and refund, plus detailed condition reports.
These documents are essential, as they will all be required if you have a dispute with your tenant and need to resolve it through a tribunal (VCAT).
Find The Apropriate Tenant
Finding the “right” tenant can be a hard process. You need to market your property, arrange and conduct inspections, carefully check your applicants references, rental history and ability to meet payment deadlines. High risk tenants often seek out private landlords in the hope that they will be less thorough with the application process.
Before a tenant moves in, you will need to ensure that the property is clean and secure and that every appliance is in safe, working order. Once the tenant moves in, you will need to ensure that all repairs and routine maintenance requests are carried out quickly and satisfactorily.
Conduct Regular Inspections
You will need to conduct a routine inspection three months after the tenant moves in, and every six months after that. You should take a detailed condition report accompanied by photographs and provide clear feedback and a copy of the report to the tenant. Take note of any potential maintenance issues during this inspection.
When deciding what monthly rental amount to charge, you need to closely monitor the market to ensure your expectations are reasonable. Inspect as many similar properties as you can to gauge what other properties in the area are renting for
You and your tenant will need to decide on a payment method and frequency, and you will need to establish strict measures to avoid arrears.