9 Ways to Settle in as a new Landlord

With property a top investment choice for many Australians, more of us than ever before are becoming landlords.Truth be told, the life of a landlord consists of time-consuming legal responsibilities. Here are some tips to help you feel at home as a new landlord.










1. Remember, your property is a business, not your home.

When you make decisions about your property, it’s only natural to put on your tenant hat and imagine yourself living there. What would you want? How would you decorate?
The reality: If you’d really like to get the most out of your investment, you’ll want your property to attract the most diverse selection of renters possible (some of whom might not like a red kitchen, for instance). So, keep your interior simple and standard, with a neutral background that will suit all tastes — not just yours.

2. Know your rights and responsibilities.

Australian law has many regulations in place to protect you as well as your tenants. It’s crucial to familiarise yourself with these laws. See the Residential Tenancies Act. Rights and responsibilities do vary by area, but the one requirement that holds true for all landlords is the assurance of the safety of your property, its appliances and other items.
A short course in property management can help get you up to speed.

3. Set a reasonable rental amount.

The best way to come up with a monthly rent amount that’s fair to your tenant and yourself is to assess your property as conscientiously as possible. Take into account its size, whereabouts and appearance, and weigh these against the neighbouring properties.
Once you’ve set your amount, establish a budget that will let you squirrel away some of the rent to finance both your income and property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

4. Advertise!

When you advertise for tenants, make it your mission to create as much rivalry for your property as possible. After all, the more applicants you get, the better your odds are that you’ll find a top-notch tenant. Check out popular sites like realestate.com.au and domain.com.au and review existing rental adverts for ideas on what to include or how to format your ad.
When you sit down to write, consider that renters look for location, convenience of transport and schools — and of course, all of the fabulous features of your property. Engage in a professional photographer to take photos of your property (indoors and out), they can capture your property in the best light for potential tenants to view.

5. Enlist a property manager.

You’re more than welcome to take on the responsibilities of a DIY landlord, but if you really want to get the most out of your investment and save yourself a whole lot of hassle, employ a property manager.
A property manager can handle the tenant search, legal paperwork, maintenance, inspections and all communications. Another advantage of their expertise is the ability to foresee potential problems and nail them from the get-go.
The cost of a property manager is usually subtracted from the rental payment, in the end you’ll capitalise on returns, and make life much easier, especially if you live a distance from your property.

6. Put agreements and communications in writing.

It’s wise to ensure all of your tenant agreements are documented in the form of a lease agreement. This will protect both of you in the event of a legal issue, and means you mutually understand what’s expected from one another.
Your lease agreement will formalise important aspects like monthly rent, bond amount, inspections and damage reporting, to name a few. You’ll also have the opportunity to clarify what’s OK and not OK for your tenant, such as whether pets are allowed or whether repainting the walls is permitted. And of course, you can spell out the consequences of breaking the agreement. Remember, a property manager can assist with this entire process, should you choose to employ one.

7. Keep up repairs and maintenance.

The upkeep of your property is vital for new landlords. This is directly linked to your tenants’ legal rights which concern repairs and maintenance under Australian law, so it’s important to fully understand what tenants are entitled to.
Just as you should be proactive about repairs and maintenance, so should your tenants.
You’ll want to make sure you have tradespeople on-hand who will answer problems quickly and affordably. Property managers can be heroes in this area, with their access to many cost-effective services.
It’s also smart to modernise appliances and apply fresh coats of paint regularly, to limit property value deterioration.

8. Don’t be afraid to raise the rent.

Certainly, there’s always the risk of a good tenant moving out when the monthly rent is increased. But if you don’t raise your rent when the market goes up, you’re being unfair to yourself by throwing income — the purpose of an investment — out the window.
Think of it this way: Part of your job as a landlord and investor is to keep an eye on the market. It’s just part of the process to raise or lower the rent based on fair market rates. In most cases, tenants expect this at some point and should be prepared for rent increases from their move-in date if the market warrants one.

9. Get landlord insurance.

One of the most common misconceptions among new landlords is the assumption that their building insurance will cover them in the event of damage or loss of rent. The truth is, building insurance does not cover any rent default or destruction by your tenants, which is why it’s best to invest in landlord insurance.
Also, insure yourself for ‘acts of nature’, which can pose a real threat to your property value. Let’s face it, Australia is no stranger to storms, floods or earthquakes. Even if where you live poses a small risk, it’s much riskier to take the chance. So, sign up and save yourself the stress, and extra expenses.

Contact us if you would like more information on any of these points. (03) 98261399