FAQ - During the tenancy
When do I get paid my rent?
We will deposit all monies collected into your nominated bank account on the 15th and last day (or next business day) of each month.
How do you collect the rent?
We encourage our tenants to set up automatic payments via internet transfer into our Trust Account so their rent will always be in the account on the correct date. We also offer BPay, post office payments and payments direct into the NAB.
What happens if my tenant does not pay rent?
Paying the rent is a voluntary action on behalf of the tenant. We can not force a tenant to pay their rent. Even the Residential Tenancies Tribunal can only ‘order’ a tenant to pay but can never physically force them to pay.
If a tenant does happen to get behind in their rent, this is the process we follow:
3 Days Behind- Text
5-7 Days Behind- Letter via email (and often a phone call)
16 Days Behind- Serve Termination Notice, Form 2 (This obligates the tenant to pay all monies owed within 8 days)
Approx 4 weeks behind (25-28 days) - Lodge Application with the Tribunal for an order of payment.
Approx 6 weeks behind (40-47 days) - Tribunal Hearing- order given to pay or be evicted.
Approx 7-8 weeks behind- Eviction may occur if payments are not made as per the tribunal order.
As you can see, the legal process can be very drawn out and be quite lengthy.
Unfortunately the bond often does not cover the shortfall in rent.
Without landlord insurance, the chance of recovering owed rent monies above the bond amount is minimal. You may also have cleaning up, re-letting costs as well as outstanding monies like water owed by the tenant. If you have no protection for your rent payments, the bond may be exhausted with rent arrears and all other payments may not be covered. This process can be quite financially damaging! Please view our page on this website about Landlord Insurance.
Is the property inspected at the beginning of a tenancy?
We conduct an extremely comprehensive inspection of your property when your tenant first moves in.
We inspect your property room by room (lounge room, bedrooms, kitchen, front and rear yards, garage etc) and then all items present in each area (walls, ceiling, light fittings, windows, curtains, stove etc).
We use an iPad and special software. We record the cleanliness and condition item by item and room by room then a brief description and detail about the item. This involves recording details of any marks, scratches and dents etc. and all serial numbers on items such as air conditioners and ovens etc.
We also take extensive photos inside and outside the property.
How often do you inspect the property during the tenancy?
We inspect the property approximately every 12 to 16 weeks but it is not as detailed as the start of tenancy inspection. It is more of a walk through, as we check room-by-room making sure the tenant is keeping the property reasonably clean and damage-free. We will also take photos of the property, inside and outside. Any repairs or concerns are observed, however, please note that due to privacy reasons, if requested by the tenant, we may be unable to take photos inside involving tenant belongings.
We also note any repairs reported by the tenant or observed by us and any other recommendations needed to assist you in keeping the property in the best condition possible.
We send you a copy of the inspection by email or post and if there are emergency items, we will phone or email you as soon as possible for instructions.
What do you tell the tenant at the start of the tenancy?
We provide our new tenants with our Tenant Induction Handbook and go through the most important expectations, this insures that we are all on the same page. For example, how they must pay their rent on time every time, where to pay rent and what we do if they do not pay their rent. We discuss our open door attitude so they feel they can contact us and feel free to discuss and issues with us. It is better to have all problems out in the open. We discuss our repairs and maintenance procedures, what happens in an emergency repair situation and how often inspections occur. We supply them with two copies of the ingoing inspection form, explain how they must check, sign and return one copy of the form within 14 days.
In accordance with legislative requirements we also give them a Consumer Affairs booklet that explains some of their tenancy rights and obligations.
What do the tenants sign?
We prepare a Tenancy Agreement (lease) covering the details of the tenancy, with terms and conditions.
We go through each section and explain the particularly important parts of the agreement to the tenant before they sign it. We will send you a copy of the tenancy agreement and ingoing inspection for your records. If you would like, we can also give you a copy of the photographs (this will need to be put on a disk as we often take large amounts of photos).
When do tenants get keys and possession of the property?
After all the forms have been explained and signed, all bond monies and the first two weeks rent paid, we will then grant them the keys and possession of the property.
Who is responsible for repairing my property?
Under legislation it is the responsibility of the landlord to repair the property which means it is at the landlord’s expense.
Who is responsible for general wear and tear?
General wear and tear occurs in all properties and tenants are no different. It will occur from tenants just living in a property and legislation says that it be allowed. A few extra marks and scuffs on the walls, some chips and scratches to doors and doorways will occur over time, along with the gradual wear to carpets and flooring.
The only time a tenant is held responsible for wear and tear is when it is considered ‘excessive’ for the time frame that the tenant has been in the property. For example, a newly painted property with walls severely marked after 2 years resulting in the walls having to be painted again may not be considered as ‘reasonable’ wear and tear. In a tribunal this type of situation, if proved, could result in the tenant paying for the painting to be done (minus any depreciation for the age of the paintwork at that point in time when it was repainted again).
What if the tenant is at fault?
If a tenant has caused any damage to an item that is not the result of normal break down or wear and tear, the repair or replacement will be charged to the tenant (as long as we can prove the damage was made by the tenant).
Usually, a tradesperson will let us know that the repair was normal or was influenced or caused by the tenant.
Who is responsible for smoke alarms and light globes?
Both of these are a landlord responsibility as governed by Consumer and Business Services. We will only worry about replacing globes in the case a tenant insists, or they are not physically able to reach them. Smoke alarms and smoke alarm batteries are definitely the responsibility or the landlord and one that should be taken seriously. We recommend all properties be added onto our annual smoke alarm service list where our trusted tradesperson will inspect and replace batteries annually.
If your property contains a slow combustion or working open fire place we also insist that the flues are cleaned once a year. This ensures the safety of all our tenants and keeps your investment safe as well.
What happens if a repair is needed after hours?
If a repair is urgent we will have an ‘after-hours’ contractor attend and rectify the issue. If the repair is not urgent, it would be held over until the next business day. We negotiate with the tenant to see if they can wait until the next working day and also advise that if they are found to be at fault the bill will be forwarded to them. Water pipes have broken or burst. Urgent repairs range from blocked or broken toilet (if a second toilet is not available), serious roof leak or gas leak, dangerous electrical fault, serious storm, fire or impact damage (i.e. impact by a motor vehicle), breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises, breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the premises for water or cooking, hot water service failure on a weekend, or long weekend, damage that makes premises unsafe or insecure.
Who is responsible for maintaining the gardens and lawns?
Unless otherwise agreed and noted in the lease agreement, the tenant is responsible to maintain the lawns and gardens. These need to be kept at the same standard they were in at the start of the tenancy. If the property is provided with watering systems and it is noted in the initial lease or advertising, these need to be working and kept maintained during the tenancy.
What about cleaning the roof gutters and pruning of plants?
According to legislation it is the landlord’s duty to ensure the gutters are cleaned and that trees are pruned. We can arrange gardeners for pruning on your behalf and we also have a quarterly gutter cleaning contractor who will add your property to his list if required. This will ensure the long life of the gutters at your investment property.
Who decides if the lease will be renewed?
You do! We will contact you by email or phone 2 to 3 months before the lease is due, and seek your instructions on if you wish to renew or not renew the lease. Once we have your approval we will then approach the tenant to have the lease renewed or alternatively let the tenant know that they will need to vacate.
What about when the tenant vacates the property?
When the tenant advises us in writing that they will be vacating, we send them a Final Inspection Guide which has detailed information on our expectations of how the property should be left. We will sometimes send photographs to remind the tenants of how the property was when they entered into the lease.
When the tenant has vacated and all keys have been handed back, we complete our Outgoing Inspection. We compare the property to the ingoing inspection report which includes our notes and photos completed when the tenant moved into the property.
As with the Ingoing Inspection, we carefully check through the report item-by-item, ensuring it has been left in the same condition as when the tenant moved in (taking into account reasonable wear and tear for the period of time they have been in the property). This is a legislative requirement, under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.
We ensure the property has been left clean and the gardens are left neat and tidy. We ensure that the property looks as close to how it did at the start of the tenancy (if a tenant has lived in the property we do need to take into consideration reasonable wear and tear). We check the smoke alarm, if power available and also read the water meter (if applicable) for the final water account.
Who pays for electricity and gas charges?
These expenses belong to the tenant. If there are charges relating to the rental or supply of these services to a property, then these charges are at a landlord cost (unless otherwise stated in the lease).
Example: A property has bottled gas supplied, which most Hills properties do. The tenant pays for the gas in the bottles; however the landlord would be responsible for the gas bottle rental. This is a charge associated with the supply of the gas.
Who pays for water charges?
The landlord can charge the water supply charge and the water usage only. We recommend SA Water accounts be directed to our office so we can pay them for you and invoice the tenant in a timely manner. New legislation requires the tenant to be invoiced no later than 3 months after the bill is issued. We will not be able to invoice the tenant for water accounts dating back past 3 months.
Water charges are agreed between the landlord and tenant at the time of signing the lease or lease renewals. Some landlords wish to charge the tenant all water costs while some believe that an incentive should be given to the tenant to ensure the garden remains healthy (eg. Paying half the usage charge or a dollar amount in the hot, dry summer months).
What about council and sewerage rates, and the emergency services levy?
All council rates, sewerage charges and emergency services levy costs must be paid by the landlord as specified by legislation. We can pay these from the rent monies on behalf of you, the landlord, if you would like.
When do I receive my statements?
We issue both monthly and a yearly financial statements accounting for all monies we have handled and disbursed for you.
You will receive your monthly statements together with any tax invoices from tradespersons or other disbursements paid during that month after the end of month payment. The end of year statement will come to you at the beginning of July ready for tax time.
What do I do if I misplace a statement?
Call us and we will reissue another one to you.