Rights and responsibilities of a landlord

Michael Yardney About Michael Yardney

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

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

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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.

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Comments

  1. Nick Lockhart says:

    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.

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

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

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

  4. 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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. offshoreoildude says:

    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.

  12. 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…?

  13. 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.

  14. Jack Thompson says:

    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.

  15. 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….

  16. 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 .

  17. 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?

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. Mitcheel saba says:

    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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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?

  24. 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.

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

  25. 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!

  26. tamara furey says:

    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

  27. 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.

  28. Eileen says:

    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?

    • Michael Yardney says:

      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

  29. 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

    • Peter O'Brien says:

      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

  30. Peter O'Brien says:

    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.

  31. 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

  32. HYeyleyho says:

    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

  33. 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

  34. 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?

    • Rochelle says:

      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.

  35. 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 ?

  36. 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!

  37. Nicky York says:

    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!!!!???

    • 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.

  38. 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

    • Peter O'Brien says:

      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.

  39. 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?

    • Peter O'Brien says:

      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.

  40. Karma Kennedy says:

    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?

  41. 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…

    • 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

      • light487 says:

        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)?

  42. 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 :)

    • Peter O'Brien says:

      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.

  43. 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.

  44. Peter O'Brien says:

    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

  45. 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?

  46. Peter O'Brien says:

    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.

  47. 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.

    • Peter O'Brien says:

      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.

  48. Claudia says:

    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.

  49. Peter O'Brien says:

    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.

  50. Adele George says:

    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.

  51. Peter O'Brien says:

    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.

  52. 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?

  53. Shirin lakhani says:

    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

  54. 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.

    • 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

  55. Megan Rumley says:

    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?

    • 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

  56. 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

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

      • 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

  57. tara linforth says:

    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?

  58. shannon davis says:

    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

  59. 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.

    • shannon davis says:

      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

  60. 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.

    • 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.

  61. 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?

  62. 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.

    • 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

  63. 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.

    • 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

  64. 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?

  65. 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.

  66. Kerryn Ferraro says:

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

  67. 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$.

    • 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

  68. Yvonne van der Veek says:

    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.

    • 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

  69. Jen Shayla says:

    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

    • 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

  70. 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!

    • 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

      • 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! ;)

  71. 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.

    • 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

  72. 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!!

    • 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

  73. robyn phillips says:

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

  74. Andy Sunt says:

    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.

    • 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

      • Andy sunt says:

        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 ,

        • 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. 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?

    • 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

  78. 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,

    • 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

  79. 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.

    • 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

  80. Catherine says:

    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

  81. 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.

    • 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.

  82. Richard Ferrer says:

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

  83. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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

  84. Jane Robey says:

    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

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