Common Questions Landlords Ask

What do you explain to the tenant before they move into the property?

Before the tenant is given access to the property, we go through a 15 – 20 minute Tenant Induction with them face to face.

We explain:

  •         Rent payment dates and methods
  •         Rent arrears policy
  •         What to do in an emergency maintenance situation, who to contact etc
  •         General repairs and maintenance requests
  •         How often routine inspections will occur, how they will be advised and what we look for
  •         General expectations during a tenancy
  •         Renting a Home, A Guide to Tenants booklet from Consumer Affairs
  •         We also provide them with a Living Here Booklet which provides them information about Living Here’s expectations and processes.

Who pays for water charges?

House: Upon the tenant being approved for the property, we advise My Connect of the tenant details and move in date. They contact the tenant to set up an account in their name so the Water Usage is invoiced directly to the tenant. Owners are to pay for the Fees & Tariffs which can be sent to the owner directly, or to our office to pay from their rental account.

Unit: The property must be individually metered to on-charge water usage to a tenant. If the property IS separately metered, the tenants are responsible for paying the Water Usage, and the owners are to pay for the Fees & Tariffs.

If you own a unit block and the water charges are issued through a body corporate billing service (meaning the property is not individually metered), the tenants are not required to cover this fee. You may wish to find this out prior to setting a rental price and factor it into the rent.

Who is responsible for garden maintenance?

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, there are no references to responsibilities for garden and lawn maintenance, however it is a general responsibility of tenants to maintain gardens and lawns. Pruning of trees and hedges or other large maintenance jobs are to be maintained by the landlord.

If there is not an agreement of a regular maintenance paid by the landlord, it is best not include a provision in the tenancy agreement that it will be the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the lawns and gardens.

We advise that in properties with large gardens or those that require more maintenance than usual, landlords should consider the option of maintaining this as a part of the weekly rent to make sure standards are kept at an acceptable level long term.

Do I need insurance?

Although it’s not a legal requirement, we advise all landlords to have comprehensive insurance to cover both your property and the tenancy, as these are often two different policies. It’s important for landlords to insure chattels such as carpets, blinds and curtains, stove and other white goods that a tenant may be using, and to maintain a current insurance certificate. Always remember to tell your insurance company the property is tenanted to ensure you’re covered.

At Living Here South Yarra, we recommend Property Insurance Plus for your Landlord Insurance. We have a great relationship with Property Insurance Plus and would be more than happy to provide you with brochures regarding their comprehensive landlord insurance and/or to have them speak with you directly about their services.  

Who’s responsible for mould?

Mould in rental properties is a common issue throughout Australia and it is a landlord’s responsibility to rid properties of mould prior to any tenancy beginning. Properties should include security catches on windows so that the house can be aired. It is advised that exhaust fans should be installed in bathrooms or flyscreens on windows to allow tenants option to ventilate the room as this is a room as this is a room that sees daily moisture. Mould can be a serious health and safety problem so it is best to keep a regular treatment schedule if your property is prone.

Can you guarantee the tenant?

We can never guarantee a long and happy tenancy however we do have an extensive application process which covers the applicant’s tenancy history, tenancy database checks, employment confirmation and previous employment along with personal references. We check all references to be able to determine if the applicant is going to be a suitable fit for you and your property. We will provide you with as much information as we can about an applicant so you can make a decision.

I want to view my property but it’s currently tenanted. When can I see it?

A property owner or property manager can enter the property at any stage. This can either be arranged via an agreement with the tenant when the time comes, or an official Notice of Entry can be served. See page 25 of the Renting a Home Guide for notice periods.

What happens if a repair is required after hours, or on weekends?

In the tenant induction process, we explain what is required of the tenant if there is Urgent Maintenance. We request they call the office phone and their call will be diverted to a mobile if it is not answered and they are to leave a voice message. If they do not hear back from one of our staff members, they are advised to visit our Maintenance page on our website.  If the matter is UGRENT as stated on our website, the tenant is allowed to contact one of our trade’s people. We have educated our tradespeople to determine if the matter can be resolved over the phone or can wait until the following morning/ to avoid an after hours cost.

How long will you take to rent out my property?

The length of time it takes to tenant your property will largely come down to market demand at the time, the current condition of your property, and an effective marketing and pricing strategy.

We put together a proactive marketing campaign for each individual property, coupled with our strong tenant liaison and communication skills which results in low vacancies and happy clients.

How often can my rent be increased?

A property manager is prevented from increasing the rent during ‘fixed term tenancy’ unless stipulated in the lease agreement. A rental increase can occur every 6 months if requested by the owner. Any increase must be provided with a minimum of 60 days written notice to the tenant and at a fair market level. The notice must:

  •         specify the proposed new amount of rent
  •         specify the date from which the increased rent is payable
  •         be signed, dated and properly addressed to the tenant