Easy, stress-free property management
How to get top rent for your investment property
How easy is it to manage your investment property? Pretty easy most would say.—all there is to do is collect the rent and attend to the occasional repair. And that ‘s right – if you start out right.
A stress-free, easy management begins with a well maintained property — clean and fresh, compliant with regulations, everything in good working order, and gardens, if you have them, neat with no rubbish lying around.
Attract the best Tenants
Most Tenants are looking for a place to call home and a well maintained property attracts the best ones. Keeping it maintained means less overall cost — good Tenants are more likely to stay and that means fewer vacant periods with no rent coming in, less advertising costs, and , if you plan to use an agent, fewer additional fees such as leasing fees , Property Condition Report charges and call-out fees for tradespeople attending to multiple issues that may not be necessary
Stress – free?
Yes, however you must handle management of your property like a business , know the regulations and comply with them or your Tenant can take you to court. The Law applies equally to owner managers and to agents and ignorance is no defence.
This page outlines some, but not all, of your obligations as well as things to do to get top rent..
Here are the 5 main areas
- Safety & Security
Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act were introduced in July 2013. Important changes relate to the paperwork that must be used (prescribed documentation) bonds and rent increases.
You must use lease agreements laid out in a prescribed format as determined by consumer protection outlining your tenants’ rights and obligations and your obligation as a Lessor. You must ensure any special conditions do not ‘contract out’ conditions or parts of conditions of the Residential Tenancies Act.
If you choose to have a verbal agreement with your tenant you must still provide prescribed information.
All rent increases must be recorded at the start of a fixed lease agreement spelling out the amount or method of calculation and the day the increase will commence. Rent increases must be 6 months apart and the tenant must be given the required notice period of not less than 60 days.
All bond monies must be lodged with the Bond Administrator using prescribed forms—no exceptions. You cannot keep bond money anywhere other than with the Government Bond Administrator. Heavy penalties apply for those who don’t comply.
Property Condition Reports (PCR)
Tenancy laws require that a PCR must be prepared at the beginning and end of a tenancy, in a prescribed format, listing the condition of the property.
Other prescribed forms
To inspect your property whilst tenanted or to serve any kind of notice to the tenant you must use prescribed forms which you will find on the DMIRS website.
Today there is more and more emphasis on safety. You may already know about some of these regulations however wide ranging amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act were introduced on July 1st 2013, which may be new to you.
Who is affected
Everyone involved in leasing or renting a property—owners who rent out their property privately ; real estate agents and their property managers and even Tenants. As an Owner you are responsible for ensuring your property complies with the legislation.
Your property must have:-
A minimum of two Residual Current Devices (RCDs) or safety switches must be installed in your meter box as part of the electrical installation. One is to protect the power circuit the other to protect the lighting circuit. Depending on the size , layout or features of your house you may need more than 2—your electrician will advise you.
You may be surprised to learn that your Tenant may not know what these RCDs are for or how they work. It is important that you do know and demonstrate this to your tenant if you plan to manage the property yourself.
Note: Many electricians are offering an annual check of your meter box, Including RCD and smoke alarm testing for a reasonable fee.
These have been around for many years now but often they are in the wrong place—for example in the kitchen where they are constantly set off by burning toast or steam – and are non compliant with the new regulations. Again your electrician will advise how many your property needs and where they should be installed.
Once installed they should be checked at regular intervals, at least annually, and if the you hear intermittent ‘chirping’ it is time to replace the back-up battery. Your Tenant should be advised to regularly check the smoke alarms and RCDs
Power point fasciae—replace if cracked. It’s a common issue in old houses, cracking is often fine and may be difficult to see.
Cooktops—if you upgrade an old cooktop or oven a separate isolation switch may be required.
No more cracked shower screens—doors and fixed panels must be safety glass. Replace cracked windows as well and dangerous ugly cracked soap dishes, with sharp edges, in shower recesses.
Cords—curtains and blinds
Long cords that open, close, raise or lower blinds must now be secured at the side of the window or door to prevent young children becoming entangled in them and strangling themselves
Pools & spas
Must be fenced with self closing gates. This is not new legislation, it has been in place for many years. Check for compliance with your local Council and check that the gate does actually close without you having to push it those last few centimetres.
Get rid of it, Tenants don’t want your junk around. Old pieces of fencing, bricks, doors, panels or offcuts of wood and so on dumped behind the shed, or left inside it, are unsightly and a hazard. If this is you make sure you have plenty of public liability insurance.
Indoors—nor do tenants want to discover cans of paint, rolls of carpet, old lamp shades and general brick-a-brac, that you don’t want at your place, in their laundry cupboard. This is their home now, make it possible for them to feel that it is.
New Regulations demand a minimum level of security
Windows must lock with either a key lock or ‘snap’ locking device that does not require a key but prevents the window from being slid open from outside.
All external doors must either have a deadlock a patio bolt lock or a key lockable security screen door that complies with AS 5039-2008.
An electric light at, or near, the main entry that is capable of illuminating the area, must be fitted and operable from the inside.
Does everything work?
- Do the taps drip?
- Does the toilet flush?
- Does the shower arm stay in place?
- Are door handles loose?
- Do all power points work?
- Are light switches working?
- Are all globes working?
- Are there keys for all locks?
- Do the keys work effectively?
- Do remotes have new batteries?
- Are flyscreens intact?
- Do sliding doors slide?
- Is the reticulation working?
- Are sprinklers intact?
- Do appliances work?
Comfort & Cleanliness
Tenants expect to move into a clean, comfortable house. Most want a place to call home where they can settle down for the time they will spend there. The condition of the property at the outset and the owners willingness to keep the property well maintained are the keys to keeping a good Tenant and achieving top rent .
Heating and cooling—extreme summer heat with no air-conditioning is no fun and barely acceptable these days. Top Tenants expect air-conditioning for cooling if not heating.
Old houses often have no insulation and are very cold in winter. Insulating the roof space will make a huge difference and may prevent mould occurring. if providing reverse cycle air-conditioning is out of the question, install a gas bayonet when possible.
Cleanliness—start with an immaculately clean house and insist it is returned in the same condition when the Tenant leaves. New houses are easier to clean and keep clean. Old houses need poking and prodding to give up their dirt but it makes a world of difference when they do.
We are Tango Property Managers Perth
Call us on 08 9450 3398 when you’re looking for a Perth area property management firm that will help you maximise your returns, protect your investment, and minimise your risks. Click here for a no obligation rental appraisal.