What are my rights and responsibilities as a landlord?

Being a landlord involves more than collecting weekly rents and maintaining the property.

A landlord must provide a secure, safe, and reasonably clean property for tenants. This also means providing fittings and fixtures such as carpets, blinds, and kitchen appliances such as stove tops and ovens that are in good working order.

Also, the property must present in a reasonable condition based on its age and the rent charged to a tenant.

You must also ensure the connections for essential utilities such as water, gas, and electricity are in place. Light fittings and smoke alarms must be functioning at the beginning of the tenancy and fully maintained. Landlords must supply sets of keys for every tenant who signs the lease contract, as well as fully operational locks throughout the property for the duration of the tenancy.  

A landlord is given some financial security through the taking of a bond from the tenant, which is equivalent to four weeks rent. A tenant will also be required to pay two weeks of rent upfront, however, a landlord can’t ask for more rent in advance than this.

On the expiry of your tenancy, a landlord can issue a rental increase if it meets the minimum requirements according to your state or territory. However, to do so, you must abide by regulations as stipulated by the relevant legislation in your state or territory. In NSW, for example, a landlord must give 60 days’ notice.

There is no hard and fast rule to determine how much you can increase the rent. However, be aware that if a tenant feels the increase is excessive, they have two options. They can either leave or take the rent increase to a residential tenancy tribunal in the state or territory where they reside.

As a landlord, you are also able to attend the regular, scheduled inspections of your investment with the property manager. However, you can’t turn up to the apartment or house unannounced. Nor can you interfere with the reasonable enjoyment, comfort, or privacy of the tenant.

If you are planning on selling the property, you must let the tenant know. Also, if there is some major maintenance scheduled to the property that will cause significant disruption to the tenants, they must be notified before the works commence.

To find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, contact your Raine & Horne Property Manager.