Top five tips for new landlords
Know your rights and responsibilities.
Victoria has many new laws and regulations in place, to protect both you and your tenants (renter). The Residential Tenancies Act was updated just this year (2021) to provide clearer guidelines and expectations for all parties. It is important to familiarise yourself with these laws. One key area of focus covered by the Act are the requirements surrounding the safety and security of rental properties. This includes minimum standards within the rental property and safety compliance checks that must be completed.
Document and communicate.
It is important to keep appropriate documentation of all interactions with your tenant, trades and third parties and to ensure that everything is put in writing, in alignment with standards that would stand up in VCAT. Clear and timely communication is key to a successful tenancy. If you decide to engage a property manager then they will do this for you.
Find and retain wonderful tenants.
Finding reliable and respectful tenants is one of the most important elements of minimising cost and headaches associated with your investment property.
It is important to complete thorough checks when processing applications, checking their rental history, work history, personal references, receiving proof of income and photo ID. It helps to meet them face-to-face (perhaps at the inspection) and get a feel for who they are. If you have engaged a property manager, they will be accustomed to separating the best from the pack and also have access to industry databases which flag tenants with a negative rental history.
Once you’ve found wonderful tenants, you will need to do your part to keep them, to avoid the cost of reletting, vacancy periods or ending up with tenants who are less responsible. A good tenant/landlord relationship goes a long way to retaining long-term tenants, so keep the lines of communications open, consider your tenant’s requests and be responsive when maintenance pops up.
Clean up your property before listing it
Being a great landlord begins before you even select the tenant. Take a walk around your investment property and ask yourself ‘would I want to live here?’. If your answer is no or maybe possibly consider small updates to the home that will go a mile when securing a quality tenant and a good rental rate. Things such a fresh coat of paint, new carpets, updated curtains are elements that can make a big impact in the presentation and advertising of your property. Ensure that everything is in working order, no outstanding repairs and the property is clean; this will help responsible applicants to picture themselves settling right in and set a standard for how they are expected to maintain the property. After all, a tenant is less likely to go to lengths to upkeep a property that was unclean and in a bad state when they moved in.
Consider appointing a property manager
If you don’t personally have the expertise or spare time, then it is a good idea to consider engaging a professional property manager. There are many benefits to hiring a professional, from their fees being tax deductible, sound knowledge of the local market and understanding of the rights, responsibilities and laws surrounding the industry. The agent will be able to guide you in the management of your property in relation to all of the above points and set you up for achieving the best results for your property. They will be familiar with finding quality tenants and holding them responsible, ensuring a reliable income stream. They will be able to respond to all maintenance issues quickly, with cost-effective solutions and engaging trusted tradespeople.
If you would like to speak with a local professional, please feel free to call Ji Thornhill at PropertyOwners on 0433 915 454.