Residential Property

Residential property – a landlord’s checklist

Choose the right agent

It is important to have the right agent managing your property. Get a few quotes from local agents, compare their management fees and weigh up their included services. Agents can be very competitive and may offer you a lower management fee over another agent to secure your business. Don’t be afraid to go between agents to secure the best deal for you. Websites such as Local Agent Finder and Agent Select can assist with comparing agents and choosing a suitable one. If you are dissatisfied with your choice in the long-run don’t hesitate to change agents at the end of the lease period

Check the lease agreement

Peruse the lease agreement carefully before signing. Ensure the agreement includes important terms and conditions such as payment of bond, pet clauses, garden maintenance rules and routine inspections. You may wish to seek legal advice before entering into a lease agreement to ensure it protects your rights as landlord. NODCO’s property and business lawyers can assist you with legal advice if necessary.

Property condition report

Ensure your agent completes a thorough condition report prior to the commencement of the tenancy. This report outlines the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and is referred to at routine inspections and when the tenant vacates, to ensure that the property is being maintained or left in the same condition. Ask your agent for a copy of the condition report to ensure you are happy with its contents.

Routine inspections

Pursuant to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic), a landlord or their agent is permitted to inspect the property twice in each 12-month period. It is usually recommended that a landlord conduct an inspection at the 6 month and 12 month period of the Lease. Your agent should prompt you when the inspection is due and make necessary arrangements with the tenants. You can request to be present at the inspection. Ensure you or the agent undertake six-monthly routine inspections which would allow you to became aware of any matters which may breach the terms of lease agreement and require rectification by the tenant sooner rather then later.

Direct debit for payment of rent

When tenants are signing a lease, encourage the agent and tenant to set up a direct debit for deduction of the rental payments. This will avoid the necessity of manual or personal attendance payments being made by the tenant, which can cause delay in the landlord receiving the payment. If a direct debit is in place all the tenants will need to do each month is ensure they have sufficient funds in their account to avoid a dishonour.

Follow up unpaid rent

If rent isn’t received on the due date and you have had no contact from the agent, don’t hesitate to follow up with the agent to ensure they are being proactive in chasing the tenant for the missed payment. If the missed payment is not received by the further requested date the agent could then proceed to issue a Notice to Vacate to the tenant for unpaid rent on your behalf. It’s best to jump on late payments early to ensure they are just a once-off and not a recurring event.

Rent Review

Every 12 months, undertake a review of the rental payments to ensure the rent being paid reflects the current market. A review will establish from the regularity of payments that your tenant will continue to make regular payments.Your agent can advise you what the current market rent is and discuss with you if there are grounds for a rent increase if there has been movement in the market. If you wish to increase the rent you would be required to provide the tenant with sufficient notice pursuant to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) and any other terms noted in your lease agreement. Your agent should serve the necessary rent increase notice on the tenant on your behalf.

If you require any legal assistance in any areas relating to a residential or commercial landlord or tenancy matter please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9607 8100.