Your responsibilities as a landlord

Written by view.com.au in Buying on June 10, 2011

Your responsibilities as a landlord

Beginner’s Guide to Investing

At the beginning and during the residential tenancy, you have various responsibilities as a landlord. It is important that you understand these as you are obligated to abide by state law.

Choosing a Tenant

Discrimination

During the application process, you must not discriminate against any of the applicants based on certain characteristics, such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Sexuality
  • Having children
  • Pregnancy
  • Mental illness
  • Disabilities

Bond and Advance Rent

It is recommended that all landlords acquire a bond from their new tenants. This security measure will be useful in instances where the tenant does not pay rent, damages the property or fails to keep it in a satisfactory condition. If so, you are then eligible to claim some or the entire bond once the tenancy is over.

The landlord may make a claim on the bond for:

  • Damage caused by the tenant or their visitors
  • Cleaning expenses
  • Abandonment of the premises by the tenant
  • Landlord being forced to pay tenant’s bills
  • Loss of landlord’s goods
  • Rent not being paid

At the start of a new lease, you are expected to provide a bond lodgement form to be filled out by both parties and are responsible to ensure that it is lodged with the relevant state authority within the correct time period.

During Tenancy

Condition Report and Rental Guide

Once the residential tenancy agreement has been established, a condition report must be completed by the estate agent / landlord and tenant. This report will, in detail, state the condition of the premises at the start of the tenancy, and any past damages. Having photographic evidence and the condition report is very important as it may be used as evidence if there is a disagreement regarding the bond claim in the future. The estate agent or landlord must also provide a rental guide relevant to their state, which will include all the tenant’s rights and other information which may be needed during the tenancy.

Rent and Bond

As the landlord you have the right to request rent on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. With both the bond and rental payments received, you should provide detailed and signed receipts stating the date, amount received, property address, name of tenant and duration for which it has been paid.

Rent Increases

The conditions of rental increases vary from state to state.
For more information contact your relevant state authority.

Utilities

As the landlord, you are responsible for ensuring the property has all basic utilities installed. You are also responsible for the payment of rates and taxes, any services which do not have separate metering devices, annual supply charge for water and sewerage, body corporate fees and any other services they have agreed to finance.

Maintenance and Repairs

The main living areas must be kept in good condition and all the appliances need to be maintained. The condition expected will be dependent on how old the property is and how much the rent is. You are obliged to take care of anything that may need repairing on the property and must respond to any requests in a timely manner.

Urgent Repairs

Urgent repairs should be dealt with without any delay, in order to continue providing the tenant with a secure and liveable environment. Urgent repairs are those which are needed in order to fix a serious problem or fault which may endanger the tenant or damage the property and other belongings, such as:

  • Burst water service
  • Blocked or broken lavatory system
  • Serious roof leak
  • Gas leak
  • A dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious fire or storm damage
  • Failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply to premises
  • Any other damage which results in the property being unsafe or not secure

If they are not dealt with, the tenant has the right to organise a qualified professional to complete repairs, up to the amount specified in the tenancy agreement. You will then have to reimburse the tenant for the cost incurred.

Non Urgent Repairs

Non urgent repairs need to be resolved within a specified amount of time. This may vary from state to state therefore we recommend you to contact your relevant state authority to understand your obligation.