Rights and responsibilities of a landlord

Over the years, our State Governments have set up residential tenancy authorities to protect the rights of both the landlord and the tenant.

While in the past, many tenants thought the landlords had unreasonable rights, now the pendulum has swung in favour of the tenants and many landlords feel their rights have diminished and their responsibilities have been increased.

As a landlord it is important for you to understand your “rights and responsibilities” so that you don’t fall foul of the legislation.

If you do, you may end up finding yourself facing a hefty fine.

While your property manager will advise you and act on your behalf, as a property investor, it’s a good idea to understand the rules setting out your obligations as a landlord.

Unfortunately many landlords managing their own rental properties are not familiar with the regulations and become disgruntled with owning an investment property because “the tenant is being difficult”.

Rest assured tenants know their rights; the problem is many landlords don’t and the rental process becomes all too hard.

Let’s look at a few facts to help you understand your rights and responsibilities…

The Bond

All landlords should take a bond from their tenants as a security deposit. If tenants fail to keep the premises clean, damage the property or don’t pay rent, the landlord or their agent can claim some or all of their bond at the end of the tenancy.

What some landlord don’t understand is that this bond must be forwarded to their State’s residential tenancies bond authority who will hold the bond on behalf of the tenant and landlord during the tenancy.

In most cases the bond is equivalent to one months rent but this may be increased for some expensive properties or if the rental property was previously the landlord’s own home.

Even if your rent increases during the tenancy, unfortunately you cannot increase the amount of the bond accordingly.

At the end of the tenancy, we occasionally find that the landlord believes he can claim on the bond because the premises is not in the same condition as it was at the beginning of the tenancy.

Whilst costs of rectifying what is commonly called “fair wear and tear” cannot be claimed, as a landlord you can make a claim on the bond for:

  • Damage caused by the tenant or the tenant’s visitors
  • Cleaning expenses
  • The tenant abandoning the premises
  • The tenant leaving the landlord to pay bills that the tenant should have paid
  • Loss of the landlord’s goods
  • Unpaid rent

If there is a disagreement about the division of the Bond, or the landlord wants to claim compensation over and above the bond, the landlord must apply to the Tribunal within 10 business days of the tenant vacating the premises.

This is where having a comprehensive Condition Report at the beginning of the tenancy, together with photographic evidence, is an extremely important. It can be used as evidence helping the landlord or their agent claim all or part of the bond for cleaning, damage or replacing missing items at the end of the tenancy.

The Rent

Rent can be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly however, if rent is paid weekly, the landlord cannot ask for more than 14 days rent at the beginning of a tenancy.

Utility and service charges

The landlord must pay all installation and initial connection costs for electricity, gas and oil supply.

Your property

As a landlord you must;

  • give the tenant a copy of the booklet relevant to their State outlining their rights on or before they move into your property
  • make sure the premises are vacant and reasonably clean on the day the tenant is due to move in
  • keep the premises and common areas in good repair during the term of the tenancy
  • if you need to replace any water appliance, fitting or fixture, ensure they meet Standards Australia ‘A’ rating
  • pay all installation and initial connection costs for electricity, gas and oil supply. If there isn’t a separate meter to the premises (in the case of some units), the landlord must pay all other charges
  • reimburse the tenant if the tenant has paid the costs of any utilities for which the landlord is liable. If bottled gas is provided, the landlord pays for the supply or hire of bottles
  • make sure all external doors have locks and windows can be secured
  • give the tenant a key as soon as possible after changing any lock
  • let the tenant have peace and quiet enjoyment in the premises
  • not enter the premises to carry out a general inspection until after the end of the first 3 months of the tenancy and even at this time, follow the rules regarding proper notice periods.

When can you visit your property?

While you may feel like checking on how your tenant is looking after your property, you can’t just pop in whenever you feel like it. Local legislation will stipulate how frequently you can do this and how to go about it.

For example, in Victoria, a landlord may enter the premises as long as the tenant agrees to the time and was consulted within the last seven days.

Occasionally you may need to enter your property on short notice. In Victoria, a landlord has the right to enter within 24 hours after having given written notice to the tenant in order to:

  • Carry out duties under the Residential Tenancy Agreement’ the ‘Residential Tenancies Act 1997′ or any other Act.
  • To value the property
  • Show prospective buyers or lenders through the premises
  • Show prospective tenants through the premises
  • Verify a reasonable belief that the tenant has not met their duties as a tenant
  • Make one general inspection in any 6 month period, but not within the first 3 months of the tenancy.

Under these circumstances, the landlord is allowed to enter the premises if the tenant is not home providing the requirements regarding written notices have been met. The landlord does not have the right to enter in an unreasonable way or stay any longer than necessary unless it is with the tenant’s permission.

Repairs

Occasionally you will be contacted by your tenant or property manager advising that you are going to have to repair an item in your rental property. While some of these may not be urgent, there are others than will need to be attended to promptly.

You will need to respond to urgent repairs without delay.

If nothing is done, your tenant has the right to arrange for these repairs to be done up to the value of $1000 – at your expense.

If you are unsure of what is classified as an “urgent repair”, consult your property manager or your local Consumer Affairs office.

Non-urgent repairs must be carried out within 14 days, but obviously I would recommend you do it sooner. If not non-urgent repairs are not attended to, your tenant may apply to the Tribunal for an inspection and subsequent report.

After 60 days, the tenant can apply to the Tribunal for a repair order.

Even though they may feel like it, legislation prevents tenants from withholding rent while waiting for repairs to be done.

When can I increase the rent?

Tenants always think their rent is too high but most landlords are wanting to take advantage of the tight vacancy market to maximise their investment returns. The problemis you just cannot increase the rent whenever you want to.

For example, if you have a standard lease, you cannot increase your rent until the end of the fixed term unless your agreement states otherwise.

In any case, you cannot increase the rent more than once every six months and you, or your agent, must give the tenant at least 60 days notice of any proposed rent increase using the correct form.

How do I end the tenancy?

There are set ways of ending all tenancy agreements and these vary slightly from State to State.

Even if an agreement has a fixed end date, you will need to give notice to end the tenancy.

Because the tenants rights to remain in the property are protected, if you want to end the tenancy, you should check:

  • The reasons allowed for giving a notice in your State to end a tenancy agreement
  • Whether the notice needs to be given on an official notice or form
  • How much notice you need to give before the end of the tenancy agreement
  • Discrimination

As a landlord you have the right to choose the tenant you consider the most suitable for your property but the Equal Opportunity Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against or harass people. What this means to you is that you cannot select your tenant based on their age, race, religion, sex or a whole host of other discriminatory reasons. If you do, you could be liable to pay damages or fines.

This is only a short summary of your rights and responsibilities of a landlord and that is why to maximise your investment returns and to minimise your headaches, you should have a professional property manager manage your assets.

That way, all contact with the tenant should be through them shielding you from the day to day hassles finding tenants, completing agreements, organising maintenance, and if necessary, sorting out problems at the Tribunal.



Want more of this type of information?


Michael Yardney

About

Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au


'Rights and responsibilities of a landlord' have 167 comments

  1. February 15, 2008 @ 7:49 am Nick Lockhart

    Go Pam, great article! How are you? It was really nice to meet & spend time with you & Michael in Fiji. It looks like you have both “hit the ground running” since your return. Chat soon.

    Reply

  2. February 16, 2008 @ 7:47 am neil c

    great article…….clear, concise and to the point.
    thanks

    just 1 question: what are “landlord’s gods” ?? (like roman idols?) (ha,ha)

    Reply

  3. February 16, 2008 @ 11:57 am Michael

    i found this article really easy to read and to understand….very informative…thank you

    Reply

  4. December 4, 2008 @ 12:17 pm Emma

    Yeah good article i am a renter and my landlord wont do anything at our rental house we have no gate and the house is falling apart the houseis only 6 months old and no side gate with a 15 month old son who is starting to walk i need a gate can anyone help me

    Reply

  5. September 22, 2009 @ 4:18 am Jarad

    fantastic article, this really helped me alot thx heaps :)

    Reply

  6. October 1, 2009 @ 11:45 am Sheryl

    Excellent article. I am a landlord and I do try not to have headaches. Unfortunately my tenants are always behind with the rent no matter how many chances they are given and the promises they make…but I suppose that is life. Thanks for the easy to understand article.

    Reply

  7. November 19, 2009 @ 8:08 pm Mike

    my tenant has just told me that there is not sufficent air conditioning in the restaurant to do the job properly. i bought the property with these air cons in it. The evaporator cooling system were not working when we purchased the property as well. In regards to buliding codes do i have to make sure there is sufficent ventilation in the ceiling. Thanks Mike

    Reply

    • March 7, 2014 @ 11:23 pm be

      One short answer, yes. When ppl move into yr premisis all items are to be in in fair and good working condition.

      Reply

  8. December 16, 2009 @ 8:13 am Peter

    Quick question: Im the landlord of a property in Victoria, since the law doesnt allow me to charge rent in advance (more than 14 days?), can i demand interest calculated daily for every day rent is late until it is paid?
    As why should i be made to pay interest on the money i need to borrow to keep the mortgage going, just because my tennant is late in paying me.

    Reply

    • December 22, 2011 @ 8:22 am Richard

      How about actually owning your property before renting it out and not renting out the bank’s property.

      Why should YOUR RISK be the tenants problem.

      Sheesh. Amateur businessman.

      Reply

      • December 22, 2011 @ 8:22 am M

        I’m a landlord with a mortgage… I’m sure most people have mortgages, unless mummy and daddy helped them out. Don’t see a problem.

        Reply

  9. December 16, 2009 @ 10:29 am Peter

    Quick question: Im the landlord of a property in Victoria, since the law doesnt allow me to charge rent in advance (more than 14 days?), can i demand interest calculated daily for every day rent is late until it is paid?
    As why should i be made to pay interest on the money i need to borrow to keep the mortgage going, just because my tennant is late in paying me.

    Reply

  10. December 17, 2009 @ 12:15 pm Cathy

    I have a question: Hope this is in the right place.
    I have a tenant in my property (1 half of a duplex building) when I visited it the last weekend no lawn/yard maintenance has been done, the managing agent now tells me that I have to supply the equipment (ie: lawn mower/whipper snipper)to maintain the yard. I have rented a property for nearly 10 years and never heard of this before is this correct?

    Your advise is appreciated thanks

    Reply

  11. January 16, 2010 @ 11:55 pm offshoreoildude

    I find it shocking that the RTA in Australian states prohibits landlords from charging a penalty or fee for late rent payments. I rent out properties in the USA and this is standard -$25 late fee. For repairs we also have a clause that states the first $50 is to be paid by the tenants – this stops ridiculous call outs (and fees) for blown light bulbs, dripping taps etc.

    Reply

  12. January 22, 2010 @ 9:11 am Kate

    Can anyone tell me whose responsibility it is to clean and maintain the gutters on a rental property? Also, what about the presence of asbestos? I have seen some factsheets about lead on the tenants nsw website, but none on asbestos. The property we are renting is about 50-60 years old, has an asbestos roof and guttering (all in pretty poor repair) and we are on tank water…?

    Reply

    • October 7, 2012 @ 9:22 am Danielle

      Great site, very helpful. Thank you.

      Reply

  13. February 4, 2010 @ 2:06 pm Marilyn

    The retail tenant abandoning the premises:

    how can landlord establish that retail premises are abandoned, and what are legal steps landlord should take, to get lawfull posession and to terminate the lease in such situation.

    Reply

  14. February 4, 2010 @ 10:04 pm Jack Thompson

    Hello Kate,

    I am a lanlord also and recently cleaned out the roof gutters from leaves that had composted and also repaired worn out downpipes.
    It is the landlords responsibility to maintain the building; the tenant has nothing to do with roofs or guttering unless for some reason they incur breakages and damage which then they are liable for repairs out of their own expense.

    Reply

  15. February 12, 2010 @ 1:11 pm Kate

    Thanks for your reply Jack. We offered to provide the labour to pressure clean the roof and gutters if the landlord went halves with us on the associated costs of hiring the cleaning equipment. We also offered to go halves on the cost of having the rainwater tank professionally cleaned out and the broken first flush fixture repaired. Seems this was a pretty reasonable offer after all! Disappointing then that we haven’t had a response in over three weeks….

    Reply

  16. February 24, 2010 @ 2:25 am Ann

    I am a landlord living overseas. I recently had a request for a new antenna on the roof of property. I live on a complex & not sure if this is a communal arial. When I lived at property I was told that the area was not good reception, so just wondered where I stood with this, also had a complaint that garbage disposal unit was broken (only a couple of years old) is this the landlords problem & shower not draining (due to hair in drain) surely this is a cleanliness problem of the tennant? Anyone able to help me .

    Reply

  17. September 16, 2010 @ 10:39 am Julia

    I am a renter, and in previous properties i lived in the landlord always paid the sewerage removal for the property and as a result my water bill was only ever for usage. In my current property my bills are for both usage and sewerage disposal.
    Can anyone tell me who is responsible for payment of the sewerage disposal fee?

    Reply

    • September 25, 2014 @ 1:59 pm Mike B.

      Hello Julia. I am a landlord, and it is my responsibility to pay all water rates – except usage. The tenant is only responsible for the amount of water they use. Hope this helps. :)

      Reply

  18. September 25, 2010 @ 1:12 pm Nicole

    I am a tenant in a rental property. When we were shown the property by a property manager she stated that the air conditioner ‘didn’t work well’ (i have this in writing) and in the conditional report it states it is in ‘good working’ condition. When we filled in the conditional report i stated within that it was broken and needed repair. I would like to know if it is ours or the landlords responsibility to repair the air conditioner?

    Reply

    • September 25, 2014 @ 2:02 pm Mike B.

      Hello Nicole. As a landlord, it is my responsibility to ensure that all appliances, fittings and fixtures that belong to my property are in good working order. The fact that you have it in writing is your trump card – the landlord cannot blame you for the condition of the a/c. It is definitely NOT your responsibility.

      Reply

  19. October 13, 2010 @ 8:58 pm Rob

    Hi, I have a quick question. I’m a renter and recently our dishwasher broke down. The landlord got a quote to fix it and it is going to cost quite a bit. Because a dishwasher isn’t a necessity, does the landlord have to fix it?

    Very informative and to the point article by the way.

    Reply

  20. February 1, 2011 @ 6:36 pm Mitcheel saba

    Hello great web site,im a landlord and last week my tenant vacated the propertyl eaving some damage,to the sliding door,the tenant attempted to fit a lock himself ,he is not a credited lock smith mind you,do i have the wright to with hold bond till the door is back to as i was? thanks for your help,is there a booklet on landlord wright i can purchase?

    Reply

  21. February 24, 2011 @ 12:19 pm Kate

    Hi Michael, we have a tenant who is seeking reimbursement from the landlord because at the beginning of her tenancy, the water tanks and bottled gas were not full. We are of the understanding that the landlord is responsible for the supply of the water tank and gas bottles and hire, but are they also responsible for having these items full for the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy? Your advice is appreciated.

    Reply

  22. February 28, 2011 @ 8:49 am LeeAnne

    Hi I am a landlord, i have been charged by a local electrician through agent manager to tune in the tennants tv, can someone please advise as to is this my responsibility as a landlord

    Reply

  23. March 4, 2011 @ 12:38 pm Jack

    I am a landlord. My tenant is oveseas but in the renting flat someone
    else is living. It was arraged without my consent.
    At this momet the who is actually staing in the flat does not let
    buider to enter the flat to do repair storm water damage.
    What should I do?

    Reply

    • July 16, 2014 @ 11:55 am kelly

      your original tenant has broken the lease agreement by sub letting the property out. you are quite within your rights to evict both the original and subsequent tenants.

      Reply

  24. March 10, 2011 @ 2:55 pm Julie

    Hi. We have always made ourselves available to our tenant when she broke the oven door, needed the batteries changed on her smoke alarm, reconnected the electricity to her alarm (after she accidentally disconnected it) cleaned her rangehood because it was very greasy, fixed all of the fans when they seemed to break down at the same time, amongst other things. Our agent has now reported that the venetians and the rangehood are dirty/dusty amongst other minor things. It is becoming quite onerous and costly for us when things break down due to not being properly maintained. Should the tenant be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of these things? Thank you for your assistance.

    Reply

    • April 9, 2013 @ 5:00 pm sd

      absolutely. It is entirely the tenants liability to maintain things. You have been doing WAY too much for her.

      Reply

  25. March 26, 2011 @ 12:30 pm Donna

    I’m a landlord and tenant happens to be a property manager. Tenant said she would deal with sending bond off to RTBA. 6 months later and bond still not lodged. Electrical works were carried out as we agreed but she ignored our request of having the works invoiced in our name and instead had it in her name. The electrical company were rather non-compliant with our queries concerning invoice and basically gave us the run around. Same company she calls on to do work elsewhere apparently. Whilst we were trying to get to the bottom of the invoice business, she emailed informing us that she had paid electrician and that it has come out of the rent. Always 14 days arrears with rent. Is very hard to contact and has stated that she will only correspond by email. And it’s only been 6 months into a 12 month lease!

    Reply

    • July 16, 2014 @ 11:57 am kelly

      find out where she works and take the fight there. im sure her employer would love to hear all about it :)

      Reply

  26. April 10, 2011 @ 9:13 pm tamara furey

    hi i’m renting i have move into this house just over 12 months and from day 1 i have ask for the fence to be fix it has not been fix due to costs i have a small dog and child is there anythink i can do to get somethink done about it i have no fence out all and it will cost the owner $4000 dollars but he wont get it done because it cost to much is there anythink i can do to get it done

    Reply

  27. April 12, 2011 @ 3:57 am Chris

    Hey all, i have just left a property and have done all required of me by the landlord to suffice return of the bond. Two weeks later, one week after i was due to recieve return of the lease, i get a phone call from the realestate saying that i must pay the for garden to be weeded (not mowed) and all three weeks after i left the property. Do not plants continue to grow after tenants leave? I have resigned to the fact i’ll probably have to do it but i believe this request is not of the landlord but one requested by the real estate. Ps. When the landlords change agents mid lease, read everything.

    Reply

  28. May 9, 2011 @ 1:55 pm Eileen

    Hi there, we have just moved into a flat that has no curtains. Is it part of the landlords responsibility to provide curtains?

    I would have thought this should be provided as part of the flat. Any ideas?

    Reply

    • May 9, 2011 @ 8:25 pm Michael Yardney

      Eileen. What was the condition of the property when you inspected it?

      Have you asked the property manager about the curtains? What did they say

      Reply

      • September 22, 2014 @ 12:51 pm Mandi

        Hey there ,
        This is my question too. We have recently moved into a home where they have blinds but not curtins
        Who is meant to install the curtins ?
        The blinds dont block the heat and I have a 6month old who has one of the front rooms and it gets very hot in there , even with the blinds so I have tied up some sheets
        until we hear back from the agent.
        But who is responsiable to supply them ?

        Reply

  29. March 21, 2012 @ 6:47 am Roger

    Hello
    My tenant wants to end the fixed lease agreement (due on Agust 2012).
    In a email sent to me he states the following:
    “We have applied to rent another property from early-April and intend to leave Halpin Street soon after. It is not yet official, we have not yet signed the new lease agreement, but we intend to do so once the real estate agent has organised the appropriate paperwork. You don’t need to be concerned, we are honest and will not do anything which jeopardizes your unit or the rental payment, and of course, we will not do anything that breaches any laws. I want you to be informed of what is happening, which is the reason why I am writing this email now, prior to us signing any new lease agreement.

    We intend to find someone suitable to transfer our existing lease over to. We will do our best to ensure this person is of acceptable financial character and whom you will find suitable (e.g. we will give preference to non-smoking, no pets, working people, etc.). We believe that transferring our lease is the simplest, cheapest and safest way to ensure that Halpin Street remains occupied and there is continuity in the rental payments.

    If we can’t find someone whom we all agree is suitable, then we will need to break the lease and it will then be up to you to re-advertise the unit and seek a suitable tenant. Under this approach, we would be obligated to compensate you financially for your losses associated with re-advertising the unit and the loss of rent while the property is vacant, but you would be obligated to make a genuine effort to find a suitable tenant. I think you understand the process, but it remains our preference to find someone to transfer the lease to, rather than breaking the lease.”

    This person is ‘very complex’ is always ‘cooking something’. Please advise me how to handle this situation. I would greatly appreciate it.
    Roger

    Reply

    • March 21, 2012 @ 8:48 am Peter O'Brien

      Hello Roger,

      I have read your tenants comments… As far as his legal obligations go, I could not put it better myself. He has pretty much quoted fropm the text book of property management.
      The only thing I think you should be aware of, is, if he breaks his lease, and it takes too long to secure a new tenant, a registrar could allow him out of the lease without charges after a “reasonable” amount of time

      Reply

  30. March 21, 2012 @ 8:54 am Peter O'Brien

    Hi Marian,

    You can only provide your tenants with a notoice to vacate for a specified reason. This is notmally 60 days, depending on the reason. Or you can provide them with a notice to vacate for “no specified” reason, which is 120 days notice.
    If you have a signed condition report and photographs as evidence you maybe successful at the Tribubnal when seeking compensation for plants. A registrar will consider type of plants, water restrictions and climate before making a decision.

    Reply

  31. March 22, 2012 @ 10:09 am Shyrene

    Hi,

    My partner and I bought our first investment property Oct 2011 – it wasn’t long til we got a tenant however, at this point it’s been 1 issue after another. I can guarantee I’ll get a call from the Property Manager at least 2-3weeks with another complaint/fix etc.
    Basically, a condition report was signed off by the realestate agency & I received a copy initialed by the tenant. The only thing we needed to get done was steam clean the carpet and it was deemed OK to live in. We cleaned an scrubbed the place down, re painted, maintained the garden etc until the tenant moved in. However, the requests to fix/ change things doesn’t end.

    1) Week 1 into the tenancy we get a complaint and needed to send in cleaners twice.
    2) Week 2Then there was a complaint about pests which we happily dealt with.
    3) Week 4-7 I get a list for of 5 issues. We fixed 3 of the 2. Called pretty much everyday whilst I was at work.
    *There is tin, wood and other items in the cubby out the back and in the backyard
    The mentioned there is meant to be glass support beam in the bathroom
    One towel rail is broken (she also mentioned there is 3 others so it’s no big deal)
    *Little side door to garage- permanently locked and they don’t have a key
    *Bathroom tap- leaks badly.
    4) Week 9 My partner and brother came by one weekend to remove the cubby and remove the rubbish. 1 week later we get a request to remove rubbish that was left over and allowed a tip trip & taken out of the rental.
    5) Week 10 They installed a cubby in the backyard without formal consent. I was just advised by the property manager that they were putting one up. Shouldn’t we get a formal letter?
    6) Week 11 A few days later I get another request – assuming it was remnants of their cubby build. I agreed to another tip trip which was taken out of our rental.
    6) Week 13 Advised there is still rubbish so I blunty told them I’m not paying for removal of their personal rubbish – so NO.
    7) Week 18 Backdoor broken and need urgent repair! Which we did.
    8) Present – now I get asked about installing a clothesline. I checked the photos prior to renting and there was a make shift one from the previous owner. Do we have to install a clothesline? They did sign a condition report.
    9) Find out today an inspection was conducted and we were not informed of this. It was just done with the property manager but we wanted to be at the inspection. When I asked why I wasn’t informed they couldn’t answer and advised I had to wait until next week as they were just filling in whilst the actual property manager is on leave.

    I need help! I continually refer back to the agent completing a condition report & the tenants signing one as well. They keep ignoring me when I mention this and the property manager cannot manage the tenant. They even said it themselves they were having issues with the tenant.
    I don’t think the tenants are taking care of the house. It was sound and in excellent condition and had someone check everything prior to renting and yet they keep finding faults.

    It’s been just shy of 5mths with these tenants and I’m getting quite agro. It’s either we
    - increase the rent after the 6 month mark
    - or vacate the tenant with 120days notice

    Ta
    Shyrene

    Reply

  32. May 3, 2012 @ 4:52 pm HYeyleyho

    Hi,
    Just wondering who is meant to change light bulbs, especially when the light fittings are screwed in and we would have to stand on a ladder to fix.
    Additionally, the roller security doors in our lounge room and bedrooms have baterry operated remotes. We were told it was our job to fix but we cannot open the remotes with any normal screwdrivers and have been living in darkenss for 3 weeks.
    Finally, when we move out, do we really have to clean insects out of the light fittings? and clean the oven exhaust fan?
    Thanks
    HYeyleyho

    Reply

  33. May 11, 2012 @ 11:21 am Marian

    how much time must I give my tenants notice of vacancy- I am in victoria and the 12 month contract has finished
    Also they have completely cleared the front yard of all my plants where do I stand – can i take the cost of this from their bond?
    thanks marian

    Reply

  34. May 18, 2012 @ 11:28 am mark

    i was wondering who is responsible for cleaning out the gutters on the property i’m renting? i live in NSW and my house is 2 storey dwelling and i believe it is too dangerous to clean them myself. I cannot work at these heights without a safety harness if i am at work. my property manager has suggested that maybe i might have to pay someone to do the job, but i dont believe it is my responsibility. i am not risking my life to clean the gutters which have trees growing out of them now as i have lived in the property for 5 years now and each time it rains they overflow. I have never cleaned the gutters on any rental property and have been renting for 20 years. Can anyone help me?

    Reply

    • June 21, 2012 @ 2:21 am Rochelle

      you DO NOT have to pay or clean gutters. if the pipe gets blocked you will have house water leaks this will then be the fault of the landlord.

      Reply

  35. July 9, 2012 @ 9:07 am adam

    I have a friend next door renting my unit , there is a adjoining door to my unit , when it is opened i have access to both units . It is closed all the time and she lives in one unit .
    This woman pays rent on a week to week basis , long story cut short ,she is to noisy , i need to ask her to vacate , she has paid no bond , can she just refuse to not move out , what do i do ?

    Reply

  36. July 25, 2012 @ 4:02 am Sand

    Hi I´m a landlord and had many problems with my agent. We had the same agent for over 12yrs but it´s time to move on. I have contacted another agent and sent my current one a letter of termination. The thing is that I do not know what the period stipulated should be, as it was not apparent in our contract, so I stated that the dissolution should be actioned right away.
    I asked the current agent this question, but he is still yet to inform me and it´s been over two weeks. Of course they are not going to reply! We live in NSW. Does anyone know? I need to co-ordinate with new agent when files should be picked up.
    Many thanks!

    Reply

  37. July 28, 2012 @ 5:39 pm Nicky York

    Hi. We are ‘VIP’ tenants’ according to our previous Property agent!! Our current agent says we are model tenants. I am retired and my husband is long distance truck driving. We live on a semi rural property of 2/3 acre, which in turn is on a 50 acre property. We love peace and quiet. When we first arrived the garden was very bare and so we have planted trees and shrubs (with owners permission) and it now looks very nice. Trouble is our Landlord lives on the acreage and told us when we first moved in that they are very fussy and will check each time they drive past (which is daily – several times sometimes). He has arrived on our door step several times without warning, saying he wants us to get rid of this or that. Even our caravan. He has phoned my husband on several occasions asking if we are running machinery or making such and such a noise. My husband has no machinery and he received this calls when he was at work, or even when he just arrived home!! Now he is demanding that no truck or trailer is to be on the property at any time. We have a 6×4 box trailer! No cars to be parked on the grass. No caravans allowed on the property. We recently had interstate visitors staying with us for 3 nights and as it was raining we had them parked as near to the house as possible, which is the only level piece of ground. No more caravans. We now have my aged disabled mother-in-law who is wheelchair/walker needy and he refuses to put a ramp (there are 4 steps to the house and even though a veranda back and front, there are no handrails or balustrades. The veranda is 1.1 mtr from the ground at the highest point. My husband has made a makeshift sturdy ramp himself (not attached to the house in any way) but sufficient to enable M-I-L to get in and out of the house and into our car. Landlord wants it removed immediately!! How pray, does my M.I.L get access to the house. Being a heavy woman and 84 years young, this would be no mean feat for even the strongest!! The agent is shaking her head at landlord’s unreasonableness and dreads him coming into their office as he comes in and demands things, I feel she is out of her depth with this one and wonder who we can go to. She says it will probably have to go to the Rental Tribunal. He now informed us through the agent (as I told him never to come again and to go through the agent) has put up the rent another $30 a week commencing with the new lease in September. We love it here and will not go with out a fight, my husband is a truck driver but not even allowed to bring the truck home (Prime mover only) to wash and unpack after long distance. sometimes coming home early morning or late night when I sometimes have grandchildren staying over and cannot go and meet him at the depot. Surely this guy is out of line!!!!???

    Reply

    • August 10, 2012 @ 9:50 am Peter O'Brien

      You have a Property Manager who needs to outline to the Owner their rights and respsonsibilities.

      If you feel that the rent increase is incessive you can apply to consumer affairs and arrange an independent valuation. This is at no cost to you.

      Reply

  38. September 4, 2012 @ 10:22 am Lee

    Hi
    I have a quick question. We moved into a home 4 weeks ago. One evening about a week ago my son was doing homework in the study and the bulb in our reading lamp exploded shattering glass every where. Not only did some land on his laptop keys melting buttons but also onto his lap burning his thighs through his shorts. Thankfuly he wears reading glasses so some of the shattered glass bounced off his glasses. I had placed a piece of plastic runner under the office chair to protect the carpet from the wheels which protected the carpet from the hot glass near the desk but some of the glass traveled further and burnt two holes in the carpet. One about the size of a match head and the other about the size of a large pea. I was very upset as not only is this a relatively new home but I am very home proud and conscious of how I look after our rentals. I contacted our Real Estate the following day to notify them and asked if someone could attend the property to inspect the damage. A day and time was made for the Principal to visit but no one attended. I will say though they were very good and sent an electrician out to check all the wiring to make sure it wasn’t caused by a wiring problem or power surge. He told me all wiring was good and it was the reading lamp. I also contacted our Insurance Company the same day as we have contents insurance. I discussed the incident and damage to the laptop and made inquiry as to whether they would cover the carpet if the owners did not have Landlord Insurance. I was told that we should be covered as the reading lamp in question was ours. Yesterday we had a scheduled inspection (Four week) and the property manager was not aware of the incident when I showed her and took pictures and said she would discuss it with the Principal. Today I was told that we would have to replace the carpet either before or at the end of our Tenancy. As Landlords of a fairly new home ourselves I would have thought that my Landlord Insurance would consider this as Accidental Damage. I also have 4 years previous Property Management Experience so I understand how this can be a grey area. I would realy value your opinion.

    Kind regards
    Lee

    Reply

    • February 15, 2013 @ 2:50 pm Peter O'Brien

      Hello Lee,

      What an terrible incident.
      We cannot comment about what type of Insuracne cover the Owner has in place. The unfortunate result is, it was your personal property that caused the damage to the Owners property….
      Thankfully no one was seriously injured.

      Reply

  39. October 7, 2012 @ 6:47 pm Max Ding

    Just wondering, what unreasonable rights exactly did landlords used to have in the past and how have they changed? What do you think the attitudes of landlords and tenants are in the present about tenancy laws?

    Reply

    • February 15, 2013 @ 1:54 pm Peter O'Brien

      Hello,
      In the present time, tenancy laws very much favour the tenant. There are some many examples of this that I would not know where to start. This is why Landlords need to engage the services of an experienced property manager with excellent negotiation skills.

      Reply

  40. November 5, 2012 @ 11:14 am Karma Kennedy

    Just wondering if anyone can provide link to section of NSW Residential Tenancies Act or Fair Trading fact sheet that says who are responsible for ongoing unblocking of gutters?

    Reply

  41. January 1, 2013 @ 2:07 am Rocky

    Does anyone know, (under WA law) whether tenants can install a clothesline in the front yard (yes front yard, not backyard) of a rental property (house)? We just had an anonymous letter placed in our letterbox saying the clotheline is offending the neighbours and the display of underwear is insulting to people walking by. I’ve tried the Residential Tenancies Act and the Regulations but can’t seem to find anything on this issue…

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      January 1, 2013 @ 5:53 pm Michael Yardney

      Rocky
      I don’t know the WA residential tenancies act , but I do know that you’d need the landlord’s permission and many would agree that it spoils the amenity of the building. Just like you can’t hang clothes or underwear from the balcony of apartments

      Reply

      • June 27, 2013 @ 7:20 am light487

        Is it a requirement of the landlord to provide clothes-lines if the strata body corporate has provided no such facilities and the by-law for not hang clothes within view of the road (ie on balcony)?

        Reply

  42. February 14, 2013 @ 10:09 am mhaey

    Hi,
    I got a question I am a tenant in South Australia. I reminded my agent about the A/C not working in our room during the house inspection (she already knew since we moved in so about 3months ago) I informed her that the A/C on the lounge does release hot air after awhile it being open and not to mention it isn’t big/powerful enough to cool the lounge/kitchen/dining area. 2 months after still they haven’t attended to it. Heatwave hit us and leave us no choice but to move our bed in the lounge(so my partner can sleep well he does night shift) We got our portable A/C, lounge A/C and the small A/C on top of the stove running( Even though got 3 A/C running it is still very hot inside and have to turn off the lounge A/C every now and then as it blows hot air) After 2 months and 2 weeks finally they have replace the A/C (after telling the agent that we will contact CBS) We got a 2nd hand Split system A/C installed in our room which works good. They installed a 2nd hand window type A/C in lounge (still not big enough to cool a big area) its a lot better but not worth mentioning. Now I got my power bill and it is $3000 for 2 months is my landlord liable to pay that knowing we incur that because of the broken A/C and took them a very long time to fix? I will be willing to pay the power bill “IF I FELT ITS WORTH IT BUT ITS NOT!” Any advice will be appreciated :)

    Reply

    • February 15, 2013 @ 1:37 pm Peter O'Brien

      Hello,

      That is a very high electricity account! The Owner must provide working appliances. You should discuss the high electricity account and negotiate some compensation because it was high as a result of the air conditioner in your apartment not operating correctly for a long period of time.
      The Owner or agent may have access to past electricity accounts over the samer time of the year to compare.

      Reply

  43. February 15, 2013 @ 4:36 am Maria

    Hi Michael,
    Great article, I would be so very grateful if you would email me, I am desperate & very possibly on the verge of myself & my son, who just started year 12, being made homeless. I have been a tenant in current property since Jun 2009, been a good tenant, paid rent, maintained property well (despite many breaches by owner including their refusing to replace broken gas fire for over 18months! ) a new property manager started in August last year, she had constantly harassed, threatened & bullied me since that time because I am on Periodic Lease since last one expired Jan 2012. Owner had accepted our rent all that time & in Oct it was increased by $20 p/w because I did not want to sign another 1 year lease here @ that time (largely due to numerous outstanding maintenance issues) after serving an invalid 7 day termination on me last year, then applying to court for termination, which court rejected as invalid, she then served 60day notice without reason (we are in West Australia) she has now applied to court again giving one of reasons for application as “tenant has history of complaints & refusing to vacate premises” – I have tried everything I can think of here, filed complaint with Dept of Commerce 18 Dec 2012, they basically did nothing, have not even investigated compliance issues raised yet & have closed file as agent didn’t agree to conciliation terms, they were contacted once, said no and file was closed. Community lawyers did nothing, it’s like no-one can be bothered as file is quite big (I have copies of all relevant documents) & it seems there is no-one who will even give me any advice , only thing so called Tenant’s Advocate Said was “retaliatory termination is hard to prove’ I have apied for other rentals but been refused, more than likely at least part in due to invalid breach agent raised against me & refused to remove.
    I’m sorry this is so long but I am at my wits end, the last 6 months have been a living hell, I’m a single mum, self employed & I have no family in Australia, so my situation is desperate.

    Reply

  44. February 15, 2013 @ 1:45 pm Peter O'Brien

    Hello,
    Thank you for your email. Your life has been somewhat of a roller coster ride of late.

    It does sound like you need to move, even if it is just to creat an entire new chapter in your life. If you are experiencing trouble locating alternative accomodation then you may have to widen your search and try a different approach.
    - Try different search engines, like gum tree, share accomodation
    - offer a slightly higher rental as an incentive for the Landlord to choose you as the tenant
    - Maybe use this as an opportunity for a sea change/tree change!

    I wish you luck.
    Peter

    Reply

  45. February 25, 2013 @ 8:22 am Branka

    Just over a month ago I rented out my property. Prior to renting it out I’ve called a plumber who checked out and fixed all water: pipes, new boiler, toilet, kitchen et cetera. I had a few years old kitchen stove which worked perfectly.
    My agent checked all electrical appliances prior to new tenants moved in. All was working in perfect order. One month later a tenant comes to agency claiming that ‘the stove doesn’t work’. Agent said ‘the repair is on landlord.’
    The stove was new and in perfect working order. I don’t believe that it was my fault as a landlord as I have provided the appliance in absolutely good working order.
    I heard from my naighbour that they had a party and the tenant is chef by profession. The stove could have been burned out only if 4 plates were working long hours together.
    In my opinion, it is a tenant’s responsibility to repair it on his expense, move over: he has damaged a stove which was in perfect order – it doesn’t work Due to not being properly managed.
    Can I ,please, hear opinion on such a matter?

    Reply

  46. February 25, 2013 @ 9:54 am Peter O'Brien

    Good morning Branka,
    It is the Landlords responsibility to provide appliances that are in working order and to ensure these items remain in good working order. If the appliance needs reapair it is the Owners responsibility to arrange this repair at the Owners expense, unless the appliance needed repair because of the tenant misusing the appliance.
    The repairer will be able to provide you with advice as to what is wrong with the appliance and what caused it to need a repair.
    I hope you find this information helpful.
    Peter.

    Reply

  47. February 26, 2013 @ 8:47 pm Sina

    Tenants have given notice and vacated property. On inspection they have patched up sections of the walls without consent and have basically defaced the wall. my agent thinks i need to give the tenant an opportunity to rectify the problem but as far as I am concerned they made the problem and I am not going to allow them re-entry to make it possibly even worse (i.e. tenant wants to get his relative who is a handy man to pain the patched up areas) I have advised the agent that I insist on a professional painter which the tenant appears to think she does not need to engage. In view of s.78 and 79 of the RTA 97 Vic i have given notice of intention to paint the affected walls and claim costs from the tenant and if need be over and above bond. I wonder if I have to lodge a VCAT App within the 10 days or generally whether my mindset and approach is correct. Any advice would be appreciated thanks.

    Reply

    • April 3, 2013 @ 11:40 am Peter O'Brien

      Hello,

      You must provide the tenants with an opportunity to rectify any damage prior to you arranging for the repair to be done. If the tenants do not attend to this to a satisfactory standard you can then apply to VCAT for a hearing. This application to VCAT must be made within ten business days after the tenants vacate the property.

      I hope this information is useful.

      Reply

  48. April 2, 2013 @ 3:24 pm Claudia

    I am a tenant in Victoria and would like to know if it is the responsibility of the landlord to provide window coverings as I have had mixed responses to my question.

    Reply

  49. April 3, 2013 @ 11:42 am Peter O'Brien

    Hello,
    If you inspected the property and there were no window fittings present, and you were not advised that window fittings will be installed, and you had no other evidence provided to you indicated that window fittings will form part of the tenancy, then the Landlord does not have to provide them.

    I hope you find this inforamtion helpful.

    Reply

  50. April 22, 2013 @ 5:54 am Adele George

    Hi,
    I am a Tenant in Victoria and we have had mouse problems since we moved in, there is currently a ‘mouse plague’ in our area. These mice are in the roof and walls (we have had a couple in the ‘living areas’ of the house but they have been quickly taken care of. The first year we managed to bait, trap and kill all of the ones in the roof and disposed of the bodies. now this year we are having issues again, we are again baiting trapping and killing these rodents and as they are all in the cavities of the property i am wondering what are the landlords responsibilities? We are concerned that it is a fire risk as we can hear them in the walls chewing on the wood etc, which must also include the wiring. Suffice to say we have contents insurance but as we have an 18 mth old child we dont want to have to worry about any potential loss of the property.

    Reply

  51. April 22, 2013 @ 11:16 am Peter O'Brien

    Hello,
    If the mice problem was caused due to any contribution from the tenants at the property the Landord would not be responsible to control the problem. However, if the tenant has not contributed to this problem it is the Owners responsiblity to rid the pests from the property. The best scenerio is for the Owners to engage the services of a Pest Control company and arrange for this company to remove the pests and prevent them from returning to the property.

    Reply

  52. April 30, 2013 @ 7:57 pm Faye

    Hi,

    I own a property in NSW and was contacted by my Property Manager for permission to repair the oven door as it would not close properly. Upon receipt of the work order invoice it stated ’2 door hinges and 2 door holders were broken’. Can you please advise me if I would be able to make a claim on the bond for the cost of this repair, considering it appears that it was the tenant who broke the oven door?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 7, 2013 @ 6:27 pm Michael Yardney

      Faye
      You’d have to prove that the Brocken hinges were due to the tenant causing the damage rather than “fair wear and tear”. That’s often hard to do

      Reply

  53. July 7, 2013 @ 5:20 pm Shirin lakhani

    We have been living in a granny flat behind the owner house recently an other tenant staying there bought a dog without our consent and owner also did not ask us before giving permission I’m scared of pets and recently have hurt my back while running because of the dog came behind me I was hospitalised as well

    Please reply what are my rights I’m in Nsw

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 7, 2013 @ 6:22 pm Michael Yardney

      While the owner should have given you the courtesy of letting you know, I don’t believe he has an obligation to ask your permission

      Reply

  54. July 12, 2013 @ 10:03 am Chauey

    I am the landlord and my properties are manage by the agent. For repairing the properties, can I get a friend to fix or the tenant should go thru the agent? Am I do the right thing that I get friend to fix it all the time. please advise.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 12, 2013 @ 11:10 am Michael Yardney

      Chauey
      I believe the best route is to use the agent to contract to fully licensed trades people – the tenants should have no contact with you and it’s best not to use friends.
      If your friend is appropriately licensed, let the managing agent instruct him

      Reply

  55. July 14, 2013 @ 5:53 am Megan Rumley

    I have been renting my house for 2 years. I received my new lease in Sept 2012 and now my landlord is requesting an inspection/walk-thru…….is this legal? I have never had a mid-lease inspection ever. My landlord and I don’t get along that great, but I am quiet, I pay my rent on time, I am not sure why she is requesting this of me. Seems very odd. She did not request this in Sept when we renewed our lease or last year mid lease. Shouldn’t she be required to give me a reason as to why she is requesting this walk-thru?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 14, 2013 @ 8:13 am Michael Yardney

      Megan
      Your landlord or his managing agent do have the right to inspect your property periodically to ensure that it is being kept in good condition.
      Don’t be offended by this – all good property managers do this, but they should give you plenty of notice and you have the right to be there at the time

      Reply

  56. August 26, 2013 @ 10:36 am Tipu

    Hi
    Read through the previous questions in tha hope of finding an answer.
    Who’s responsibility is it to mow the lawns, both on the yeard and the nature strip?
    We took over the lease a few of months ago and found out during a routine inspection (after 3 months) that the lawns were all really long.
    When queried we were told by the agent that the previous owner had done the mowing for the tenants.
    Now what?
    we obvoulsy do not want to take this on if it is the tenants’ responsiblity.
    I would be greatful for your assistance

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      August 27, 2013 @ 7:35 pm Michael Yardney

      Tipu
      It is usually the tenants responsibility to maintain the gardens and lawns if they rent a single dwelling property.

      Reply

      • September 13, 2013 @ 8:23 am Amy

        I hope this is the right place to ask a question…
        Help, I’m a landlord. I have an agent who has been looking after my apartment in Melbourne for the last 6yrs. I always trusted that they will look after my interest. Unfortunately I was really naive and never went for the routine inspection. I did finally go this week and I was shocked. Rental agreement said only 2 tenants but in reality there were 6 persons in the place.
        The cabinet doors of the main bathroom and kitche was all water damaged. The main bathroom was wet. Holes in the walls. The living room floating floor was all delaminated. In other words, they trashed the place.
        I want to evict them as I felt that they have violated the contract. The contract ends in Mar 2014.
        But I was willing to give them 6 weeks to move out. I felt that I was reasonable. They pay rent monthly.
        BUT my agent tells me that I have no legal recourse and that we cannot evict them as VCAT will not do anything for the landlords.
        Is this correct? I am most upset as I was not also informed that I have to get extra insurance to cover tenant abuse of the place.
        PLEASE HELP…as my beautiful apartment now looks like a slum housing.
        Regards
        Amy

        Reply

  57. October 14, 2013 @ 8:53 am tara linforth

    Just wondering if anyone can please tell me. We have been renting this place for 2 years and we have been having trouble with the water tanks pressure ect so we opened them up and in one of them there’s a dead snake, 4 dead toads and a green frog swimming around (green frog is not a worry)
    Who is responsible for the tanks being cleaned out? Us or the owner’s? Unsure if they were cleaned prior to us moving in. If they are cleaned they drain the water. Who flips the bill?

    Reply

  58. October 14, 2013 @ 1:52 pm shannon davis

    Hi Tara,

    Vermin is the responsibility of the landlord unless it can be proven a the way a tenant is living is attracting vermin but in the case – its the owner.

    I hope that helps

    Reply

  59. October 28, 2013 @ 10:04 pm Julie

    For some time my landlord has known of roofing issues, roofers back and forth patching the roof, he finally relented to roofers advise and authorised the roof to be replaced and got a quote a week ago, however this morning in heavy rain our ceiling collapsed and on top of tv, rug etc . To make a claim on these contents will cost us our excess of 300$ and we will lose around $120 a year no claim bonus discount – is it reasonable to expect the landlord to reimburse these costs given the time it has taken TI action a known problem? Our insurance company said if it was thought the landlord had not acted on issues known they would purse the costs from him and return out excess and restore our no claim bonus but I don’t want to them I had reported issues to him.

    Reply

    • November 11, 2013 @ 10:06 am shannon davis

      Hi Julie,
      There is a good case to answer here if you have the written requests and you can prove the time the owner took to take action was excessive. Good luck

      Reply

  60. October 29, 2013 @ 2:41 pm Wendy

    I am a landlord and the tenants acquired a puppy without informing the real estate or myself so it was not approved therefore in breach of the tenancy agreement. I felt pressured by the real estate to approve the puppy as the tenants were young and eventually I agreed to approve the dog on the basis that it remains outside and not be inside due to the new carpets I put in. The neighbours report that the puppy lives inside and is locked inside when the tenants go to work or go out and I have witnessed this myself. I pass this onto the agent and requested the dog be removed and is no longer approved due to the daily breaching of the dog living inside. The agent tells me the tenants say the dog isn’t inside and I approved the dog so it is allowed there however is going to issue a breach/request to remedy. This will be second breach/ warning. As a landlord surely I have some rights in requesting the dog be removed from the property where the tenant in my case is blatantly lying and intentionally and willingly does not comply regards the dog. Your opinion will be appreciated.

    Reply

    • January 13, 2014 @ 5:58 pm Suzie

      Hi Wendy, Although they have breached the lease agreement, it would be wise to allow the dog to live with the tenants. You have a bond which should cover any damage or cleaning caused by the dog. Shelters are full of animals for this reason alone- tenants pay LOTS of money to landlords, and have the right to live as they like to live provided they are not breaking the law. It is unfortunate is general that your property has carpet, but it can be cleaned when the tenants decide to leave.

      Reply

  61. November 22, 2013 @ 8:02 pm Chris

    Hi,
    I rented a furnished property on 3 month lease and have been here for 9 months. When signing the contract there was a stipulation for me paying a $380 cleaning fee on exit. I disputed the fee and even asked for quotes from a few cleaning firms which were far less than $380. I was told that it was sign for the 380 or not get the apartment so i was forced to sign. Is the letting agent in their rights to do this? Am I in my rights to get an invoice directly for the cleaning company or get a comparative quote?

    Reply

  62. December 19, 2013 @ 11:10 pm Kristy

    Hi,
    I have a question that I’m having trouble trying to find readings on. I would like to know if a property manager has failed to do an inspection in 18 months what may have they breach? any info would be great help.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      December 20, 2013 @ 1:58 pm Michael Yardney

      Kristy
      There is no set frequency for how often a routine inspection “must” be conducted.

      Also…different states have different frequencies in which they allow regular inspections, but not doing an inspection for 18 months is a breach of their service standards to you – a lot can occur over that time

      Reply

  63. December 31, 2013 @ 11:31 am Daniel

    I have a question about fair wear and tear. We looked at a property to rent that had polished floorboards. The Agent told us that since the floor had only just been done if there were any scratches or marks when we moved out we would have to redo the floor at our expense. Having had polished floorboards in our own place we know how easily that can happen (especially with small children) so ran a mile!

    Is the Agent correct? We will shortly be on the move again and the majority of houses we’ve seen this time have polished floorboards which is making us nervous!

    FYI we are in Victoria if that makes a difference.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      December 31, 2013 @ 11:36 am Michael Yardney

      Daniel
      We have polished floorboards in many of our properties and quite the opposite – I’ve found them very hard wearing and difficult to damage esp with children and pets.
      Unfortunately “fair wear and tear” is difficult to quantify.
      I believe minor marks or scratches would be seen as fair wear and tear by VCAT – the tribunal

      Reply

  64. December 31, 2013 @ 12:43 pm Andy

    It is amazing to see an article written only 1 day ago (30/12/2013) has received 80+ comments, some of the comments were posted as early as 2008! How amazing!
    Or was it really written only 1 day ago?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      December 31, 2013 @ 12:48 pm Michael Yardney

      No Andy

      It wasn’t written 1 day ago – it was published a few years ago, but republished now over our holiday break when I’m taking a little break and not writing new articles

      Reply

  65. January 2, 2014 @ 5:28 am emT

    Thanks for the informative article, in fact for all the articles. I believe re-printing articles can be very useful as it provides opportunity to see change (hopefully improvement) over time.
    As a self-managing lessor of 6 rentals in WA, being a good landlord and having good tenants is a matter of ensuring expectations are clear and being prompt and fair in dealing with concerns.
    The Department of Commerce has some excellent resource material for lessors and tenants which is clear, helpful and free. http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ConsumerProtection/Content/Property_renting/Renting/NewRTALaws.html
    My comment to tenants is to make yourself informed about your rights and responsibilities and when you inspect – ask questions of the lessor. If your application is accepted – have a second look at the property before signing anything and ask more questions if needed. It is so much simpler to ask at the start of a tenancy (when the lessor has allocated extra time to establish the tenancy). If needed, special items can be included as additional clauses in your lease.
    To landlords – ditto. Your rights and responsibilities are not passed onto an agency and being informed is your best protection. However, if you do use an agency, read the management agreement carefully and consider whether you need to include extra clauses, or delete others.

    Some of my self-management practices would not suit all investors, however they work for me and in the longer term, continue to make my investments rewarding and of benefit to both me and my tenants.

    Reply

  66. January 22, 2014 @ 10:53 pm Kerryn Ferraro

    Is it the tenants or landlords responsibility to repair leaking taps (tap washers) in Western Australia 2014?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      January 23, 2014 @ 6:56 am Michael Yardney

      I don’t know the Western Australian legislation, but in other states maintenance like that is part of the landlord’s obligation

      Reply

  67. January 31, 2014 @ 7:23 pm Nad

    I recently accidentally forgot some cookies I was baking and the oven on and I left my house and went to the shops. I forgot to switch off the oven, when I got back the oven, which was an old model was burnt out.
    I informed the agency barry plant i am renting through and they advised me I have to replace the oven, and buy a brand new one not a second hand. Is this ok? Or are they exploiting my rights? They are charging me 500 for electrician and 500 for an oven. The oven was a very old model probably valued at less than 100$.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      January 31, 2014 @ 8:34 pm Michael Yardney

      Nad
      That is a pity, but I believe the agent gave you the correct advice.
      It’s hard to accept a used oven as a replacement – you don’t know the condition, what’s happened to it , what could go wrong.
      However the installation cost seems excessive. It possibly included the cost of removing and dumping the old oven

      Reply

  68. February 10, 2014 @ 1:48 pm Yvonne van der Veek

    We had solar panels installed on our house at the time when you received a 60 cents feed in tariff . We moved out 2 years later and kept the property as an investment property. We kept the energy bill in our name as not to loose the feed in tariff. Our property manager told us we couldnt pass on this electricity bill because it’s in our name but we could charge a higher rent ( an extra $20 per week) and have the electricity inculded. This worked fine for the first year. We then got new tenants and our last bill was a shocking $2000 that we had to pay. Tenants claim they don’t know why. We had the electrician out to check the wiring and we had endeavor energy run a meter test. Everything was fine. The property has a gas heater and gas hot water ( in the tenants name) so this bill was beyond ridiculous. We want to change the lease so that the tenants pay market rent plus electricity ( but still keep it in our name) Our property manager insist that she can not do this. we have made enquires with another property manager who said that this is no problem. Where do we stand with this legally? We’re thinking of getting rid of these tenants and go with another agent. Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      February 10, 2014 @ 3:02 pm Michael Yardney

      Yvonne
      You can’t change the lease in the middle of a tenancy, but a reasonable increase in rent is acceptable at the expiration of the lease.

      If this is an investment property I see no benefit in you complicating matters by having the electricity in your name. Just let the tenant pay the going rate as they would anywhere else.

      then there will be no arguments

      Reply

  69. February 17, 2014 @ 9:39 pm Jen Shayla

    Greetings Michael, I am using a Property Manager to rent out my property while my husband and I are overseas for 12 months. The tenant signed a 6 month lease. However, my son wants to move into our house at the end of the current tenants lease period. How do I/property manager go about this please? I am aware that the tenant needs to be served with a “Notice to Vacate” but I would like to know under what section of the Act do I state as my reason?
    Thankyou kindly
    Jen

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      February 17, 2014 @ 10:39 pm Michael Yardney

      Jen
      It shouldn’t be a problem. Your property manager will know how to give the tenant appropriate notice to leave at the expiration of his lease. This may vary from state to state – but is usually 60 days if a family member wants to lease the property

      Reply

  70. February 19, 2014 @ 5:00 am John Tao

    Hi Michael, thanks for writing such a useful article! I am the landlord and recently the 17″ LCD TV at my property has ceased working. My property manager quoted $640.00 to source a new digital ready TV and bracket, mount on the wall, and connect to the cable and test by an electrician. I found it too expensive so I did my research and should be able to do it for less than half of the quote by sourcing the TV and finding a licensed electrician by myself. My question is, is it advisable to to use the real estate agent’s “regular” or it is perfectly okay to ask them to instruct the licensed electrician who I found to carry out the work? Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      February 19, 2014 @ 7:31 am Michael Yardney

      John
      Not sure why you bother providing a TV – it only gets you into this type of trouble.
      The problem is if you provide one at the beginning of the tenancy and it breaks down, you have to replace it.
      Of course you can supply the TV yourself and use your own tradespeople (as long as they are appropriately qualified and licensed) if you’re sure they’ll do a good job promptly. There is no obligation to use the agents tradespeople

      Reply

      • February 19, 2014 @ 2:32 pm John Tao

        Hi Micheal, thanks for the useful tips once again!

        Yes you are right. I rented the apartment out as fully furnished and now I am regretting that! ;)

        Reply

  71. February 24, 2014 @ 7:02 pm Pearl

    Hi
    I’m renting in a property with large garden. I put few small fruit trees in the garden with owner’s permission during my tenancy. Now because the property is for sell and the trees may be destroyed, I have asked them if I can take the plants which I planted with me. I’m still renting and house is not sold yet. Owners are now saying whats in the ground stays in the ground. Is that correct? What are my rights?
    Please help.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      February 24, 2014 @ 8:52 pm Michael Yardney

      Pearl
      YOu should have the right to take back your plants on the condition you reinstate the garden to its original condition.
      The problem is purchasers of the property may expect the trees to remain, so the selling agent will have to make it clear what stays and what goes on settlement

      Reply

  72. March 2, 2014 @ 1:39 am ampsan

    Recently moved into half house with landlord on the back. landlord is now stating after 2 months into lease that he would like to drop estate agents and start a new private lease agreement. This cannot be legal or fair but I live wall to wall with landlord and feel like if I go to dispute this with agent it will cause many dramas. Please help!!

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 2, 2014 @ 7:39 am Michael Yardney

      I agree that it could be awkward to have a private arrangement directly with a landlord, especially if he lives in the premisses. It’s a recipe for disaster.
      If you currently have a lease in place, then that is an ongoing legal agreement between you and the landlord and legally he can his agent or in fact remove his agent, even though he’d be silly to do so

      Reply

  73. March 3, 2014 @ 4:44 pm robyn phillips

    hello we have purchased a property in Brisbane and need to know if we have to use the existing property manager for our tenant

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 3, 2014 @ 4:49 pm Michael Yardney

      No.

      You can change the property manager to one of your choice – but don’t even consider trying to manage it yourslef

      Reply

  74. March 9, 2014 @ 8:52 pm Andy Sunt

    Hi, I just moved in a share house of four (4) rooms and with four people. The Lead tenant says the owner of the property is his friend. I assume all of us is renting the property. I have just signed the contract with him stating that If i wast late with my rent, the penalty is 10% per day. And when i was filling up paperworks, i needed to know the exact rent the house required per month, and i found out that I am paying 48% of the whole house rent per month. This made a little confused and a little upset. i feel like the lead tenant is making money out of me while he is staying in the house for may for free. My first question is, is 10% per day penalty rate reasonable? (note that i have already signed the agreement). The second is, can i demand to lessen my rent per month ? It would be great if someone can give me a legal advice about this. Please help.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 9, 2014 @ 10:15 pm Michael Yardney

      Andy
      You “agreement” is unusual and as you say uncommercial. Has the “lead tenant” got permission to sublease the premises? You may find you do not have a legally binding agreement if it’s one he put together

      Reply

      • March 10, 2014 @ 4:23 am Andy sunt

        Thank you Michael for your response . I understand now that the agreement might not be really valid . But under these circumstances where I am already 2 days in the house and has already payed apprise amounts , can I demand to lessen my rent ? What should I do ? Should I also tell him that the penalty rate does not really apply legally ? And one more question please , hthe bond I payed was 5 weeks that’s more than one month, in Victoria can I demand that I take the excess amount back ? Please reply one more time . Just need a light in this thing , very hard to find exact quotes from papers available online ,

        Reply

        • Michael Yardney

          March 10, 2014 @ 8:08 am Michael Yardney

          It really sounds like you’ve been “taken” and I can understand your concern. My suggestion is you approach Consumer Affairs Victoria who have a department that helps tenants in your situation.

          Reply

  75. March 13, 2014 @ 2:40 pm JG

    Hi there,
    I am about to purchase a house and rent it out. There is currently a tenant in there and he is great so i am going to keep him on. However we have.signed on to lease through a real estate agent and now we do.t want to go through that agent anymore as they have been very unproffessional.
    Can anyone please help me and let me know how i go about cancelling the contract with the agent?
    The terms and conditions dont list anything about the client cancelling with the agent.
    Please help, much appreciated.
    JG

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 13, 2014 @ 5:18 pm Michael Yardney

      JG
      You’re allowed to change property managers when you purchase the property. You are not stuck with the current PM

      Reply

  76. March 20, 2014 @ 8:48 am Sam

    Hi ive been renting a property for nearly 3 years unfortunately the internal ceiling of the garage collapsed and damged my property its lucky no one was in there at the time. Is the landlord liable the damage caused to my belongings under common law in that her property has damaged mine.Her insurance has denied her claim for repairs. I assuming she doesnt have an liability cover either.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 20, 2014 @ 9:03 am Michael Yardney

      Sam
      I don’t know all the facts, but yes it sounds like the landlord is responsible. Your property manager should take care of this for you

      Reply

  77. March 20, 2014 @ 6:01 pm Sam

    There are items that are not covered by any insurance that have been damaged therefore I can not claim through insurance which would make process easier. Still my property has been damaged…whats your thoughts?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 20, 2014 @ 6:13 pm Michael Yardney

      I’m not sure which items you refer to, but if your personal property was damaged by the landlords building collapsing it seems that he is responsible for reinstatement

      Reply

  78. March 25, 2014 @ 12:31 am Javier

    Hi Michael,

    I am currently renting a flat and I had a scheduled inspection which did not happen, I took half day off at work to attend but I ended up waiting 4 hours for the agent to come over, at the end no one appeared.

    Is it the real estate responsibility to attend to the scheduled inspections? I lost half day pay in vain which I do not care to lose if the inspection is done. Can I do something else than a simple complain? I think this is very disrespectful from the real estate to do.

    Thank you for your time

    Kindest regards,

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 25, 2014 @ 6:59 am Michael Yardney

      Javier

      I agree that what ocurred is very rude and disrespectful of your time. Unfortunately I don’t know of anything else you can do other than complain. Of course you do not have to be present at the inspection

      Reply

  79. March 25, 2014 @ 2:52 pm Kay

    What can I do if the letting agent has issued satisfactory condition reports and yet when the tenant leaves I find that two kitchen cupboards are very badly water damaged and the kick board is basically non-existent dur to water damage. It appears that the whole kitchen may have to be replaced due to an inability to match colours and styles of cupboards doors. There is a similar situation in the bathroom.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 25, 2014 @ 3:28 pm Michael Yardney

      Kay

      Did the property manager send you photos along the way?
      It also depends what caused the damage -was it the tenant, wear and tear, water damage from rain etc if it is the latter it could be an insurance cliam

      Reply

  80. March 28, 2014 @ 9:25 am Catherine

    I was just wondering where things stand if the lawn at the rental property we inhabit has suddenly declined and appears to be infested with ants and grubs? Our landlord is claiming this is our cost per our rental agreement with them (direct agreement, no property manager) however I cannot see anything stating as such in the agreement. I understand it is our responsibility to mow the lawns and upkeep the garden, which we do diligently. However I would have thought that pest infestation of lawn is the same as that of a house and therefore the landlord’s responsibility and cost??
    Thank you,
    Catherine

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 28, 2014 @ 9:47 am Michael Yardney

      Catherine
      I believe the landlord is wrong. Pest infestation is usually the responsibility of the landlord

      Reply

  81. March 30, 2014 @ 12:53 am mel

    I am a landlord (WA), we have the property under a company trustee. recently changing property manager and the new agency has requested for 100 point ID of the directors of the company. I was told that it’s the new requirement!. (I was not aware of such requirement until 2 month after signing the exclusive management authority), checking with the department of commerce I was referred to the code of conduct for agents and sales representative for verification.
    the new agency insisted that we have to provide them with a copy of our ID to be kept on file (eventhough we are not selling the property). we agree with the verification process but disagree for them to keep a copy of our passport and driving license on their file. I feel that we are not in the position for such requirement. I would like to know is it necessary for them to perform the 100 point ID checked on landlord and the necessary for the agency to retain a copy of our passport and driving license on file, while they have already done current company search through ASIC and sight our passport and driving license for verification? I greatly appreciate your comment / advice in this situation. thank you Michael.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      March 30, 2014 @ 8:04 am Michael Yardney

      A good property manager will actually verify that you are the owner of the property and they can take instructions from you. As a company owns this property they want to ensure you are authorised to act on the company’s behalf. You should have no concerns that they keep these records on file.

      Reply

  82. April 3, 2014 @ 1:58 am Richard Ferrer

    I bought a mobile home and the hot water heater was installed wrong. am I responsible for the damages?

    Reply

  83. April 8, 2014 @ 10:46 am Geoff

    We have recently found our own property to buy and unfortunately have has to end our lease half way through the rental term. As well as being up for a range of fees (lease fee, advertising fee etc), we have been told we also need to replace all the plants/trees that have deteriorated over the recent Melbourne summer. The place is only a 2-bed unit and has a small garden, we have always kept the garden neat and have replaced some plants previously. However they now want us to replace nearly all plants. What are our rights in terms of plants/trees dying through extreme days of heat?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      April 8, 2014 @ 11:01 am Michael Yardney

      Geoff
      Congratulations on finding your new home. While you do have to pay the fees associated with finding a new tenant with Melbourne’s very dry conditions, it is normal for some plants to die off and it is not usually the tenants responsibility to pay for these.

      Reply

      • April 8, 2014 @ 11:15 am Geoff

        Thanks Michael.
        The realestate agent is being very persistant on us having to replace the plants, pulling out photos of the state of the garden when our orginal lease began, which was over 3 years ago!
        How should we approach this?
        Thanks

        Reply

        • Michael Yardney

          April 8, 2014 @ 12:36 pm Michael Yardney

          Geoff
          It sound like the agent is overstepping the mark – you can approach Consumer Affairs who will explain your rights

          Reply

  84. April 15, 2014 @ 10:57 am Jane Robey

    Hi Michael
    I am a new landlord, and I’ve provided the property furnished to the tenants, including white goods. The freezer recently broke and the tenant did not notice for a few days and they claim they lost hundreds of dollars of meat when the freezer defrosted. They would like me to reimburse them. I have replaced the freezer, but I would like to know if the contents of the freezer are my responsibility. I have a standard lease in place with them, with a list of furnature provided attached to the lease.
    Thanks, Jane

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      April 15, 2014 @ 2:16 pm Michael Yardney

      Jane – it could be argued that you are responsible for the tenant’s loss, but your insurance is likely to cover you for this

      Reply

  85. June 20, 2014 @ 5:58 pm PhylC

    Hi Michael,

    I’ve rent my apartment out for a year, the apartment itself is 10 years old. After the end of contract, I realised the wool carpet is badly stained by the tenant’s pet’s urine. steam cleaning didn’t do the trick, so the carpet has to be replaced. I’ve been told the tenant only have to pay for 10% of the expenses since they’ve only lived there for 1 year!! Is that really the case?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      June 20, 2014 @ 8:31 pm Michael Yardney

      That is correct – the tenant cannot be charged for the complete replacement of a carpet that was already 9 years old at the beginning of their tenancy.
      The advice you’ve been given is correct

      Reply

      • June 22, 2014 @ 9:55 pm Phylc

        Thanks for your reply Michael. On the contract it’s written no pets allowed, however the tenant still kept a dog and I wasn’t aware of it. Is there a breach of contract here?

        Reply

        • Michael Yardney

          June 22, 2014 @ 10:34 pm Michael Yardney

          YOu’re correct it a breech of the contract, but if taken to the tribunal, the tenant will not be required to pay the full replacement cost of what is now a 10 year old carpet.

          Reply

          • June 24, 2014 @ 3:59 pm phylc

            so there’s nothing much I can do even though they breach the contract at the first place.. sigh.. it’s not easy to be a landlord!
            Thanks for your prompt reply!
            Phyl C

  86. June 26, 2014 @ 9:43 pm Andy

    Greetings Michael,
    I wanted to exit my house after 4 months of living in. the contract i have signed was for me to stay 6 months. In the contract I am paying my rent to the head tenant. However, in the contract, I was named the landlord and the head tenant as the sub tenant, this was wrong. Moreover, the bond stated was more than one month and so after the signing i asked the head tenant to refund me the difference between what i paid and the needed 1 month rent value as bond. My problem is that I am not happy that I am paying double what the head tenant is paying to the owner of the house. I the head tenant 2 weeks notice that i am moving out and when he said no, i asked for 3 weeks, he still said no. He insists on the 6 months that was on the signed agreement. My question is, can i force my exit in 2 or 3 weeks? he is very hard to deal with because he does not compromise. he is firm on insisting on my signed 6 months. and also, can I declare the agreement invalid since it has wrong things in it? Please help..
    also, he did not lodge my bond to the RTBA and now that i am asking him to lodge it, he does not speak, basically just walks away.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      June 26, 2014 @ 10:18 pm Michael Yardney

      Andy I haven’t seen the contract/lease but it sounds like you do not have a valid lease and he can’t hold you to it. If you aren’t successful go to VCAT

      Reply

  87. July 4, 2014 @ 8:54 am Garry

    Hi. We entered a 12 month lease in August 2013 on a fully furnished home in a poor condition. Property manager A took photos and we signed a condition report. I attached a few extra pages giving further details of problems with the home and it’s contents to protect ourselves and I retained the original copies. Once the electricity was connected we found we had no hot water and our problems with the owners began. As it was a solar system, the owners first sent someone to inspect it. Then an electrician inspected it. Then a solar company inspectd it and ordered parts. After around 3 weeks it was working but developed a water leak. A few further weeks and this was fixed. We complained about the dishwasher not working correctly, no code for the electric alarm system and many other problems including dirty carpet, dirty mattresses and the list goes on and on.

    At the first inspection, after a lot of cleaning, we received a thank you letter from property manager A for taking good care of the property.

    Property manager A left the company shortly after and the receptionist became the defacto property manager, property manager B.

    An inspection was conducted prior to the inspection due in April, but we didn’t receive a report or any comments.

    The house was put up for sale and we had a few inspections, some unannounced.

    I complained again about the dishwasher and said I would go to VCAT if it wasn’t repaired. We were told to come in and fill on a maintenance request.

    Around 2 weeks later we received a notice to vacate for arrears rent, even though we had paid the rent prior to receiving the report in the mail. We had to vacate by 12/6/2014,

    We contacted property manager B who said she would contact the owner of the business. We heard nothing.

    Upon vacating, we handed the keys to property manager C, a new manager we hadn’t met. She said she would do the final inspection the next day….this wasn’t done.

    Around 2-3 weeks later, the inspection was done on the 25/6/2014, when we weren’t present and the long list of faults began.

    The list of demands commences with us paying for steam cleaning of carpets and furniture when they were filthy when we took possession and this was noted.

    Demands of pruning 10 metres high hedges etc..

    Demands of paying more rent until August and that we broke the lease.

    VCAT won’t assist until we lodge an application. Consumer affairs say we could have stayed as we had paid the rent due bit also if we had received a notice to vacate,then we should abide by that.

    We are in limbo with not receiving the bond and sick of the arguments.

    Help?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 5, 2014 @ 8:09 am Michael Yardney

      VACT is your forum for appeal so it makes sense to lodge an application

      Reply

  88. July 6, 2014 @ 12:30 am Fred

    Hi, I have a question regarding blocked drains. Our drains are to the point it takes 2 hours for water to subside within the shower recess. Due to being behind on rent currently, first time since moving in to the tenancy 5 years ago. We was told by the land agent, not the owner that basically because we are behind in rent that they will not do anything about it. I was under the assumption that this is against the health, safety and welfare of us living here due to not being able to use the shower to maintain hygiene. This is a rental property in South Australia. Could someone give me advice? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 6, 2014 @ 7:18 am Michael Yardney

      You are right Fred. Being behind in your rent should have nothing to do with undertaking important maintenance like this. But get up to date with your rent and their excuse will be gone

      Reply

  89. July 8, 2014 @ 6:50 pm Lucy

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for your article.
    I am writing to ask you about pets at a property. We moved into a house 6 months ago and had an inspection about 1 and a half months ago that the property owner attended as well as the property manager. We have a dog and signed a pet’s clause on our lease. We received correspondence after the inspection asking us to keep the dog outside, and we informed that while we were given permission to have the dog at the property, the animal is not permitted inside at any time.
    We were not aware that this was the case as it is not stipulated as such anywhere on the pet clause or on the lease. In fact the pet clause states we need to have the carpets cleaned on vacation (which we would be happy to do) but I believe this infers that the animal may in fact be inside hence why the carpets will need cleaning. If we knew that the dog wasn’t allowed inside we would not have said yes. Our dog is an adult dog who does not sleep inside and doesn’t go in the carpeted areas (bedrooms) of the house, but we do like to have her inside in the living room when we are home.
    Is the agent correct in telling us we’re permitted to have the dog but not to have it in the property if it is not stipulated anywhere on the paperwork?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 8, 2014 @ 7:58 pm Michael Yardney

      Lucy
      I believe your expectation that your dog is allowed in your property is a reasonable one. You shoudl stand up for your rights

      Reply

      • July 8, 2014 @ 8:13 pm Lucy

        Hi Michael,
        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I have emailed the property manager to this effect. Fingers crossed!

        Reply

  90. July 11, 2014 @ 6:51 pm PHYLC

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for your advice previously. I am the landlord with the 10 years old carpet that’s been badly damaged by the tenant. They didn’t pay the last month’s rent and hence they’ve used the bond to cover it. So end up they don’t have to pay for any damage for my place at all! and worked out they still own $100 rent. They’ve obviously planned it all out. To chase that $100 rent I’ll have to go through VCAT and that cost $250.. I am just so angry why the law always protect the tenant more than the landlord..
    Is there any way to prevent another tenant from hell if I have to rent this place out again?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 11, 2014 @ 7:00 pm Michael Yardney

      Careful tenant selection by your property manager may help

      Reply

  91. July 30, 2014 @ 7:55 am Scott

    Hi Michael,
    Just wondering what your thoughts are on this.
    I have never rented & it seems that NSW fair trading see this a s a very grey area.

    My brother in-law was in a rental property for the last 12 years and has now passed away, this being said we spoke with the owner (whom manages the property) he advised us the property was in need of a full renovation when he moved out just before my brother in-law moved in so he advised Ashley (brother in-law) not to worry too much about the property as he WILL complete a full renovation of the property once Ashley moves out. He apparently did mention the following items would be done: carpets as they are old and approaching end of life when the LL moved out, the kitchen, the bathroom, full paint, “so don’t worry too much about the state of the apartment, as long as there is no structural issues it would be fine.”
    The LL also told me the exact same thing when I got hold of him to advise of Ashley’s death (that alone took 3 days)
    We cleared the apartment of Ashley’s belongings did a light clean and arranged to meet the LL on site to hand keys back.
    On the arrival of the LL he changed his tune dramatically, firstly he asked if I had any previous experience with renting/leases, as I said no I personally think he now wants to take advantage of the situation, he advised us that we need to sand the walls in every room and as he stated have it ready so his painter can just walk in open the can and start painting, he wanted to pay/contribute to the replacement of the carpets that were flaking & threadbare, laminate floor tiles in the kitchen were in a bad state and lifting in areas (I believe this to be a maintenance issue), replace a damaged tiled in towel rail at a cost of $240 (a few property managers I have spoken to say this is a maintenance issue due to the age of it (circa 35-40yrs), replace an internal sliding door that is damaged (wants $480 for the door), $490 for cleaning (if the property is being gutted for renovations and him stating to us that we should not be too worried I don’t believe we should be paying this & a few other minor things.
    The LL has never completed a routine inspection at the property at any time during the past 12 years. In terms of maintenance he has completed at the property it has only been 2 things: repair of a plumbing issue & replacement of the hot water service. (a previous co-tenant has told us that nothing has been done, he has seen the apartment from when Ashley moved in to assisting us with the clear out after Ashley’s death). He is a very good friend of Ashley and they regularly spoke about the fact the LL has never inspected or maintained the property.
    It is my understanding he is in breech of the NSW tenancy act if he does not conduct regular inspections and he can not make claims if he has not conducted routine inspections.

    Had the LL not advised us he was not too worried about the state of the property and speaking with previous tenants of his with regard to this is common practice for the LL as if he delays you handing keys back he gets more rent. We would have paid more attention to the property.
    We are now off to tribunal in relation to the matter & his $2040 claim.
    Please advise of your thoughts, as I have no idea due to never renting.
    Cheers,
    Scott

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      July 30, 2014 @ 3:34 pm Michael Yardney

      Scott
      Yes – the matter is “grey”. I suggest never renting from someone who manages the property themselves, they tend to miss a few steps in the documentation that protects both themselves and the tenant

      Reply

  92. August 5, 2014 @ 8:39 pm Gary

    Hi Micheal,
    We are renting in the ACT and have had mice in the roof since we moved in 10 months ago. They are making a racket at night and the sound scares our three year old.
    We alerted property manager and they said it was our problem. Is this correct?
    It’s not as if we leave or put food in the roof to attract them.

    Gary

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      August 5, 2014 @ 9:13 pm Michael Yardney

      NO Gary. It’s not your responsibility. The landlord must eradicate pests and vermin

      Reply

  93. September 1, 2014 @ 9:12 pm Carla Rozowsky

    Hi Michael

    I am new to the rental thing in Sydney. As a tenant, am I allowed to knock up pictures and paintings on the wall?

    Thanks
    Carla

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      September 1, 2014 @ 10:37 pm Michael Yardney

      Carla
      Usually you can use “sticky” picture hooks that can be removed without leaving damage – ask your property maneger

      Reply

  94. September 3, 2014 @ 6:34 pm mick

    As a life long renter I found this forum interesting. My two cents worth.

    In many other parts of the world, people rent a property for their entire lives from a family of property investors.
    In Australia, owning rental property is seen as a tax effective mid term investment to sell to make money to have a holiday. In my work I get to see who owns what for half of Melbourne. There are not a lot of people who hold more than a dozen residential properties no matter how disguised. People go to extraordinary lengths to save tax when they own more than a few rental properties. All of those who do, are over the age of 50 and it is inherited money. Many people own 6 or so rental properties, most purchased when houses cost 30-60k. Our obscene house prices in Melbourne caused largely by our inability to move further than 25k from the coast probably prevent people from investing in property like people did pre 1980. The % return through rent is not considered to be enough long term if you buy a property today. Its all about capital gain.

    The majority of rental houses coming onto the market now are inherited from parents. If they are left to one sibling, they remain rentals for a long time if they are not sold immediately. If the property is split between a family, it ends up sold, sadly in some cases, after almost as much in legal fees has been spent. Now we force the elderly to sell their houses to developers so they can pay a bond to move into a home to die, thats very sad comment on Australia.

    I have been pretty lucky with owners, my average stay is 9 years, I like most people, treat the properties as if they were my own. This means no hydroponic crops, meth labs, house parties or changing motorbike oil in the lounge room etc. Ive had dogs, bees, planted trees and left every place as good as when I moved in. They get sold demolished and 2 3 4 go up in their place.

    When you rent out a property to a tenant, to make money from the rent or part pay the mortgage on the investment you will sell with a huge financial gain later down the track, you cant act like an old English Landlord. If you want to, then perhaps owning a rental property is not for you. Its funny because the investors in apartments in the city who rent them out for short term accom are making a killing way more than a normal rental apartment and couldnt care less who stays there, but thats another story.

    You have to rely on your REA to make annual inspections and handle complaints about rattling windows. If you feel that you have to spy on your tenants, wonder what they are doing to your house whilst you lie in bed at night perhaps its not for you but I think I have just come up with an idea for a movie.

    As an owner, its your responsibility to have an accountant depreciate every thing in the joint that can be claimed at the appropriate rate. I am sure many do, but how many go on to replace carpets, stoves, HWS etc at the end of their depreciated life span? not many in my experience. So theres a rort there worth any carpet stain IMHO. In my experience, when a landlord replaces an appliance, the first thought is to up the rent to cover the cost. Not for 6 months, but add an extra 10 bucks nest review that loasts for then length of the tenancy.

    I see a lot rental properties that are not let as they ask too much because it has a “new kitchen” but doest have 2 bathrooms. Its crazy, but thats people today, they want at least two. They watch too much TV.

    Its all about give and take, you take the rent, the tax breaks real or imagined. You have to give your tenants the right to live as you would want to live. People seem to worry about the carpet or a mark on a wall, but dont lie awake worrying if the place burns down. Ah Insurance! well surely your property is insured against major damage, and fair wear and tear is covered by tax deductions.

    With regard to pets and 64% of Australians own one, it seems now that the possibility of owning a pet in a rental property is reliant upon the overall assessment of the applicant and pet. Of the advertised rental house listings in Melbourne, 3% are listed as pet friendly. Clearly people want to know if its fido or puss rather than rambo the pit bull. However the current procedure seems to force dog and cat owners underground. In my experience, owners are better off being acceptive of a pet so they can see what it actually is during the application process and relax, or move on. If the pet is causing trouble, the tenants will be too, pets mimic their owners.

    You have to remember though, if you dont have a dog that barks at a knock on the door, you are 98% more likely to be burgled whilst you are away from home. Happened to me twice, you dont want to know about it and you shouldnt want your tenants to either. Locking one in the backyard only reduces the risk to 75% not 50%.

    For reading this dribble, I will give you a tip, take it as you like.

    Forl less than the cost of the average rental house in Melbourne, you can buy a block of land in an industrial estate, throw up an empty tilt slab shell on a slab, stick an office on the front and lease it out for twice the return of a residential rental. The tenant even pays the rates in a lot of cases! There must be a catch but I cant work it out.

    Reply

  95. September 16, 2014 @ 12:00 am Saya

    Dear Michael,

    I lived in Melbourne until last July in a share house. I paid my bond of $320 and I have a text message that the landlord sent me when he received my rents and the bond. Even though I have left the house about 2 months ago, the landlord has not given back the bond to me yet. I have repeatedly sent messages asking him to transfer the amount to my account and he has replied only once saying “I will complete the process soon” and still no track. Obviously he has not lodged my bond to RTBA, but is there still any chance I can get the bond from him?

    Reply

    • Michael Yardney

      September 16, 2014 @ 6:46 am Michael Yardney

      Unfortunately you’re dealing directly with a landlord, not a property manager. Make a claim at VCAT – that should get the landlord moving

      Reply

  96. September 22, 2014 @ 10:50 pm Mark Thurston

    Nice article!! If Someone looking for flat share in Australia browse: rentaroom.com.au

    Reply


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.
CAPTCHA Image

*

x

Michael's Daily Insights

Join Michael Yardney's inner circle of daily subscribers to read what Michael reads and be privy to the views of his expert team of guest bloggers.

Whether you're a beginner or a pro

NOTE: this daily service requires a different subscription to our weekly newsletter so...

REGISTER NOW