Your rights as a landlord and how to protect them
POSTED BY John Ireland ON 18 Dec 2020
Owning an investment property is a strategy for securing personal wealth, however it can backfire if you do not have good tenants. This is why it makes sense to have an understanding of your rights as a landlord and to know what your tenants are responsible for.
Here’s a look at some of the provisions in New South Wales that protect those who own or manage properties.
In NSW, tenants are required to keep up with the day-to-day maintenance of the home or apartment they are renting. This includes things like changing light bulbs, ensuring that there are working batteries in all smoke detectors, changing air conditioning filters and other similar tasks. They must also take care of outdoor areas, gardens and swimming pools, making sure they are in good condition. This means mowing lawns and keeping pool water clean.
If a tenant damages your property significantly, it is up to them to repair the damage out of their own pockets. This applies to unusual damage, like punching a hole in a wall, staining the carpet or breaking a window. It does not apply to normal wear and tear, like foot tracks in high-traffic areas. When repairing damage caused by tenants, you can ask them to have it fixed themselves, or you can choose a repair company to do it for you, taking the cost out of the tenant’s security deposit.
Often misunderstandings result in conflict between tenants and landlords. This is why it is important to provide your tenants with a checklist to ensure they fully understand what is required of them.
As a landlord, remembering all the rules can be confusing. For a small monthly cost, it makes sense to hand the responsibility to an experienced property manager. They will be able to communicate with your tenants, enforce the rules and liaise with necessary tradespeople and suppliers. Your property manager will also be completely across all your rights as a landlord and will be up to date with changes in legislation.
Why inspection reports are worth the effort
Regular inspections are another important factor when you have an investment property. Having the state of the property reviewed a few times a year will prevent issues going from bad to worse without you realising.
After the previous tenant has moved out and before a new tenant moves in, take the time to complete a detailed inspection report. This way, you’ll have a description of the current condition of the property to compare when the next tenant moves out. Don’t forget to check often-overlooked areas, like air filters, baseboards, light fixtures and drains.
When completing your inspection or having a property manager do this on your behalf, get photos of all damage. While you may think you’ll be able to remember the details from a written description, time has a funny way of messing with your memory. With photos, you’ll be able to see exactly what everything looked like when the tenant moved in so that you know exactly what damages they are responsible for.
Why you need landlord’s insurance
Landlord’s insurance policies are designed to protect you in the event that a tenant defaults on their rent payments. If furniture is included in your rental, it also covers any theft when the tenant moves out. Finally, it protects you if your property is damaged by a natural disaster, like an earthquake or cyclone. Not all policies are exactly alike, so make sure you fully understand what is and is not covered under a particular policy before you purchase it.
Of course, you hope you will never need to make a claim on your policy, but it is far better to be protected and not need it than to not have protection when you need it most.
The importance of clear-cut contracts
Whenever a new tenant moves in, even if they are friends or family members, it is crucial that you provide them with a detailed contract to sign before starting their tenancy. This is the best defense you have to protect your landlord rights and avoid disputes with tenants down the track.
If you have questions about your rights as a landlord on the Northern Beaches, get in touch with One Agency Ireland today.
As Principal of One Agency Ireland in Avalon Beach, I’m passionate about both running the real estate agency and being an active selling agent. Combining my extensive property background with a commitment to providing a premium service, I offer home sellers and property investors in-depth advice, such as low-cost home improvements to strategies that will maximise your sales result. If you are looking for a down-to-earth, passionate and detail oriented real estate team, let’s connect!
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