Landlord Frequently Asked Questions- 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?
Our preferred rental collection is via internet transfer into our Trust Account. We encourage our tenants to set up automatic payments so their rent will always be in the account on the correct date. We do collect cash in office if needed.
What happens if my tenant does not pay the rent?
Paying the rent is always a voluntary action on behalf of the tenant. We can never force a tenant to pay their rent. Even a tribunal can only ‘order’ a tenant to pay but can never physically force them to pay.
If a tenant does get behind in their rent payments, this is the process we follow.
3 Days Behind- Text
5-7 Days Behind- Letter via email or post and a phone call
16 Days Behind- Serve Termination Notice (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 full legal process can be very drawn out and lengthy.
Unfortunately the bond (4 to 6 weeks rent- depending on the weekly rent) will never cover the shortfall in rent.
Only if you have landlord insurance will there be a reasonable prospect of covering the rent payment shortfall, in the case of your tenant defaulting in their rent payments.
Without landlord insurance, the chance of recovering owed rent monies is minimal. If you have no protection for your rent payments, the problem is further compounded with the fact that the bond will probably be exhausted with rent arrears. You will then most likely have cleaning up and re-letting costs, as well as outstanding monies like water owed by the tenant.
Therefore without landlord insurance, this process can be quite financially damaging!
Do you inspect the property at the beginning of a tenancy?
We conduct a comprehensive inspection of your property when a tenant first moves in.
We inspect your property area by area (lounge room, bedrooms, kitchen, front and rear yards, garage etc) and then all items present in each area (walls, ceiling, light fittings, curtains, windows, stove etc).
We record their condition and cleanliness item by item, room by room and then a brief description and detail about the item. This would involve recording details of any marks, scratches and dents etc. and all serial numbers if available
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 weeks. This inspection is not as detailed as the start of tenancy inspection. It is more of a walk through, checking room-by-room making sure the tenant is keeping the property damage-free and reasonably clean. We will also take photos of the inside and outside of the property, and any repairs or concerns observed. However, please note that due to privacy reasons we may be unable to take photos inside involving tenant belongings, if the tenant refuses permission- this is a Tribunal ruling.
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 about when the tenant vacates the property?
When the tenant advises us they will be vacating, we send them detailed information on our expectations of how the property needs to be presented. (Final Inspection Guide)
Once the tenant has fully vacated, we compare the property to the ingoing inspection report, this includes our notes and photos completed when the tenant moved into the property.
We carefully check through the report item-by-item, ensuring it has been left in the same condition as when they 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 as amended.
We ensure the property has been left reasonably clean. We check the smoke alarm, if power available and also read the water meter (if applicable).
What do you explain to the tenant when they move into the property?
We provide our new tenants with our Tenant Induction Handbook. We go through all of the most important expectations, this insures that the tenants are very well informed of our procedures prior to taking up occupancy, ie we are positively proactive in your best interests. For example, how they must pay their rent on time, where to pay their rent, what we do if they do not pay their rent. We discuss our repairs and maintenance policy, what happens in an emergency repair situation, how often inspections occur and what we look for. We also 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. We explain and get them to sign the Bond Lodgment Form.
We also hand to them a Consumer Affairs booklet that explains some of their tenancy rights and obligations. We must issue them with this booklet in accordance with legislative requirements.
What do the tenants sign?
We prepare a Tenancy Agreement covering the details of the tenancy, with terms and conditions.
We explain the particularly important parts of the agreement to the tenant before we get them to sign it. We will then send you a copy of the tenancy agreement together with a copy of the ingoing inspection report, for your records.
When do they 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. This means it is at the landlord’s expense.
Who is responsible for general wear and tear?
General wear and tear that occurs from tenants just living in a property is expected and legislation provides 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 of everything that is in the property.
The only time a tenant can be held responsible is if wear and tear is considered ‘excessive’ for the time frame that the tenant has been in possession. 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 allowed 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.
Please also refer to our Residential Tenancies Act quotes in section 2 of this handbook for specific legislation on this issue.
What if the tenant is at fault?
If a tenant has caused damage to an item that is not the result of normal break down or wear and tear, this will be charged to the tenant.
Normally, a tradesperson would let us know that the repair was normal or was influenced or caused by the tenant.
What about the smoke alarm and light globes?
These are both a landlord responsibility as governed by Consumer and Business Services. However we find that most tenants will replace the light globes themselves. We will only worry about replacing them in the case a tenant insists, or they are not physically able to reach them. Smoke alarms and smoke alarm batteries are the responsibility or the landlord and one that should be taken seriously. We recommend all properties be added onto our annual smoke alarm/RCD service list, to ensure that your duty of care is not compromised.
What happens if a repair is required after hours, or on weekends?
If a repair is deemed urgent we will have an ‘after-hours’ contractor attend and rectify the problem. If it is not deemed urgent, the repair would be held over until the next business day. We proactively explain and 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.
Who is responsible for maintaining the lawns and gardens?
Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible to maintain the lawns and gardens to the standard they were in at the start of the tenancy. If the property is provided with watering systems 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 responsibility to ensure these are done. Of course, we can arrange gardeners on your behalf to do these for you. We also have a quarterly gutter cleaning contractor who will add your property to his list if required. This will ensure the longevity of the gutters on your investment property.
Who decides if the lease will be renewed?
You do! We will contact you by email before the lease is due, and seek your instructions if you wish to renew or in fact not renew the lease. Once we have your approval we will then approach the tenant to have the lease renewed.
If I do not wish to renew the lease, do I have to give a reason?
If you do not wish for the lease to be renewed you are not obligated to give your tenant a reason.
Who pays for electricity and gas charges?
These are a tenant expense. However if there are charges relating to the rental/supply of these services to a property, then the supply charges are at a landlord cost.
A good example of this is if a property has bottled gas supplied. The tenant pays for the gas in the bottles; however the landlord would be responsible for the charges related to the gas bottle rental. This is a charge associated with the supply of the gas.
Also if you are moving out of your property and you have your own gas bottles remaining, please remove them as there is a high chance that these bottles will be accidentally removed by a gas bottle supply company. Avoid a dispute with your tenant and missing gas bottles. Let the tenant arrange their own gas bottles, for which you will only pay the rental charge on each bottle.
Who pays for water charges?
Water consumption charges are agreed between the landlord and tenant at the time of signing the lease or changed at lease renewal. The landlord can charge the water supply charge and the water usage only.
In South Australia, metropolitan and most regional townships have water supplied by SA Water. SA Water charges a lower usage rate per kilolitre for the first 120 kilolitres used in a yearly period. Water used over and above this is charged at a higher rate.
Some landlords wish to charge the tenant all water costs. This is optional; however we do believe that an incentive be given to the tenant to ensure the garden remains healthy.
In some cases where gardens and lawns are involved, the property owner may choose to contribute an amount (eg $40 per quarter) for usage on the garden. This would be deducted from the quarterly invoice during the dry quarters.
We recommend SA Water accounts be directed to our office, due to new legislation requiring the tenant to be invoiced every 3 months. If this is not done, you will be unable to recover monies owing to you for the quarter.
What about council and sewerage rates, and the emergency services levy?
All these costs must be paid by the landlord as specified by legislation.
Why do I receive statements?
We will issue you both monthly and yearly financial statements, accounting for all monies we have handled and disbursed to you on your behalf in accordance with legislative requirements.
You will receive your monthly statements together with any tax invoices from tradespersons or other disbursements paid during that month on your behalf. Your end of year statement accounts for all monthly statements accumulated, for accountancy ease.
When do I receive these statements?
Your monthly statement will be sent to you on the last day of each month, and the end of year statement will come to you in July of each year being the month immediately following the end of the financial year.
How do I understand these statements?
You will be sent/given a guide on understanding your monthly statement.
What do I do if I misplace a statement?
Call us and we will reissue another one to you.