Making your property 'Rental Ready'
At Edge Property Agents we pride ourselves on ensuring that tenants leave properties as they found them, if not in a better condition! To ensure that tenants leave the property in good condition, property owners must ensure that they have the property ‘Rental Ready’.
Some things to consider;
The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act states that while a tenancy continues, the lessor;
- Must maintain the premises in a way that it remains fit for the tenant to live in
- Must maintain the premises and inclusions in good repair
- Must ensure any law dealing with issues about the health or safety of persons using or entering the premises is complied with
- If the premises includes a common area, this area must be kept clean.
It is important for lessors to understand that if they supply an inclusion such as a dishwasher or air-conditioner in the property when a tenancy commences, they must maintain it throughout the entire tenancy.
A COMMON MISCONCEPTION
Some lessors believe if the appliance breaks down they don't have to fix it. However, in this instance the lessor must repair or replace the item or they may negotiate a rent decrease due to the loss of an amenity.
As property managers we cannot offer you any advice when it comes to insurance but we can let you know that you need to have the following insurance covers on your property
- Contents (this covers items like blinds, carpets, internal inclusions)
- Public Liability (a minimum of $10,000,000 cover is required
A number of building insurers will offer a landlords insurance policy as part of the overall premium. If you have this cover in place please check things like what excesses are payable in different instances and make sure you are happy with the level of cover this type of policy offers. We would strongly recommend a Landlord Insurance specific policy is taken out as additional peace of mind. You will find a brochure included in this document of an insurer who we see used in the market place quite regularly.
For a number of years there has been a legal requirement in Queensland for owners of rental properties to have the smoke alarms tested prior to a tenants lease commencing. This doesn’t just mean the first time they sign a lease and move in, but also when they sign a lease for a further term (commonly referred to as a renewal). This could mean that as a property owner you could be responsible for having smoke alarms tested 2 or 3 times a year. To minimise the risk against you as the property owner our company policy is that all properties that are managed are checked by a professional company. For small annual fee your smoke alarms can be tested as many times as required.
Corded Window Furnishings
Australian homes often feature blinds, curtains and other window coverings that have cords and using the cords, a person can raise, lower, open, or close the blinds or curtains.
Blind and curtain cords can present a strangulation hazard to children, as they may become entangled in them while trying to use, play with or play around window coverings. Even with raised coverings, children can climb onto window sills or furniture and access the cords. Cords can also strangle infants sleeping or playing in cots placed near windows where cords are within reach or hanging into cots.
In recent years, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission ("ACCC") recognised the major hazard of risk of strangulation of young children with loop cord systems. As a result, Mandatory Standards known as The Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard - Corded Internal Window Coverings) Regulations 2010 ("The Trade Practices Mandatory Safety Standards") now regulate the design, construction, installation and labelling of corded window furnishings.
From 1 July 2011 all premises (residential and commercial) which are leased/rented by their owners must comply with The Trade Practices Mandatory Safety Standards in relation to any corded window covering including (but not limited to) Vertical, Venetian, Holland and Roman Blinds, and Curtains (including pencil pleat "ready mades" and pencil pleat tape) and any fitting containing cords, such as Curtain Rods and Tracks.
If your property includes a pool, whether unique to your particular property or shared with other properties, you must ensure that there is a current Pool Safety Certificate available to give to the tenant when they sign their lease.
If the pool associated with your property is a shared pool (e.g. in a body corporate environment) you will need to ask your Body Corporate manager for a copy of the current certificate. For more information about the pool safety laws visit www.dlgp.qld.gov.au
Getting back water costs from your tenant
The Queensland tenancy law allows an owner of a rental property to recoup the cost of water consumption from the tenant provided the property meets certain criteria, namely;
- The property MUST be individually metered
- Where the property doesn’t meet 3 star WELS rating the owner must supply a ‘reasonable’ amount of water before asking the tenant to pay for any consumption
- Where the property is 3 star WELS rated, the property owner has the ability to charge the tenant for all water consumption costs
- If you are unsure whether your property meets the 3 star WELS requirements it is recommended that a plumber inspects the property and reports their findings.
Keys for the property
Residential tenancy law states that an owner of a rental property in Queensland must provide a full set of keys (this includes swipe cards, passcodes, remotes etc) for the property as well as an ‘entrance’ set of keys for each tenant.
Our company policy is that property owners provide our office with a full set of keys to hold at the office. The reason for this is so that we can enter the property in an emergency situation or to conduct regular inspections.
Body Corporate Information
It is vital that you provide our office with all contact details of your body corporate AND a copy of the body corporate by-laws before your property is advertised.
It is important for prospective tenants to understand what is expected of them under the by-laws before they apply for the property
Storing goods at the property
We are often asked by property owners if they can store personal belongings at the property while it is rented out.
Our recommendation is that as a property owner you should always be able to provide the ‘entire property’ to the tenant to use.
Storing goods in a secured area of the property can pose delays in connecting and disconnecting electricity for the resident. In some instances we have seen where electricity providers don’t connect power if this happens.
Please contact us for further information.