Property Management FAQs
Do you have property management questions? We have property management answers
- How do I prepare my property for lease?
Clean, bright and tidy. Neutral decor, white ceilings, light beige walls and beige industrial grade carpet with underlay is best whether it be a house, apartment or villa. Remember the better presented your property the better the tenant you will be able to obtain, plus higher rents and swifter rental periods should apply.
• Carpets to be cleaned prior to tenancy commencing
• Windows and tracks
• All wet areas
• Kitchen oven, hotplates and range hoods
• Vents and air cons free from dust
• Batteries in remotes all in working order
• Windows cleaned in and out especially if you have a view
• Prune back any overhanging trees/vines
• Weed all garden beds
• Mow and edge lawns
• Remove garden refuse
• Clean out garden sheds/garage
• Remove garbage from garbage bins
• Ensure a full set of keys/swipes have been handed to our company including keys for window locks, garage, garden sheds, along with remote control and alarm codes (if applicable)
• We will also require a set of front door keys as our office copy, swipes and remotes
Note: The Residential Tenancies Act requires that a landlord must provide locks to all external doors and windows of the rental premises
• Do you have smoke detectors? (legislation requires all tenanted properties must have smoke detectors)
• Check and replace top washers if required
• Service heating/cooling systems if required
• Replace light globes where necessary (energy saving)
• Residual Current Devices
• Redirect mail
• Is your building insurance current?
• Have you advised your insurance company you are vacating?
• Do you have Landlords Protection Insurance? This can cover for carpets, curtains, malicious acts by tenants or visitors, loss of rent and additional legal liability
• Please leave instruction booklets/guarantees (or a copy) on the kitchen bench along with any handy hints tenants may find helpful
- How do I guard against tenants skipping on rent or damage?
Do you think you are a good driver? Then why would you hold insurance over your car? Even though every measure is taken to ensure a good quality tenant is found for your property, peoples circumstances can change and this can affect their tenancy. Car insurance is held for the ‘just in case’ scenarios in life and this is the same for landlord insurance. Landlord insurance policies will provide peace of mind that your rental income and investment property is protected against the following risks:
• Loss of tenant
• Accidental loss or damage
• Malicious loss or damage
• Legal liability
• Tax audit
- Am I required to install smoke alarms and residual current devices?
New regulations require all residential homes to be fitted with two RCD’s (Residual Current Devices) to protect all power and lighting circuits for all new tenancy agreements made after 8 August 2009.
Landlords must arrange for two RCD’s to be installed in their rental premises by 8 August 2011 for continuing tenancies.
From 1 October 2009 mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted in all existing residential buildings prior to sale and when a new tenancy agreement is signed for rental properties. If there are no tenancy changes in rental properties, then mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted by 1 October 2011.
These requirements are mandatory under the local government (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 1960 sections 248 and the Local Government Act 1995 section 9.60, and the building amendments Regulations 2009.
While mains powered smoke alarms are the preferred alternative, smoke alarms with a non removable 10 year battery life are permitted in dwellings where the construction of the building does not permit a space to conceal the wiring and there is no other suitable alternative location or where mains power supply is not available.
You may contact the Department of Commerce for more information.
- How do I determine the weekly rent of my property?
Research, research, research! Rental values can change frequently, so as a property manager we must be up to date with market changes at all times. A benefit is that obviously we have huge amounts of information generally not available to the public. When considering a property’s rental value we take into account the following factors:
• Similar properties on the market, and at what rental price
• Recent rental evidence of comparable properties
• Time of year property is available i.e. high, low, winter, Christmas, etc
• Median rental price for the area (as calculated on the REIWA website
• Length of the lease requested by the owner
• Type of tenant sought
• Finally any unique factors or elements relevant to the property, area or market
- How do I market my property?
Fact: Over 93% of people leasing residential property in Perth locate their chosen new home on the internet
When marketing your property yourself, there are a few different avenues you can use. You can place adverts in local papers (such as the West Australian, the Quokka, etc) and put in a description along with (depending on your budget) a small photo of your property. You can also employ the use of websites such as gumtree.com.au or dinkos.com.au. Really there is no limit as to what you can do if you use a bit of creativity about where you advertise. You could even be post flyers around community halls or just email all your friends about it.
When using an agent, you are privy to a few more advantageous aspects of marketing. All agencies will be subtlety (or drastically) different in how they approach marketing of properties. An example of this at Mark Hay Realty Group is as follows:
We have access to more sites that we can advertise on, such as reiwa.com.au and domain.com.au (which are highly visited sites). On these sites we also have the capability to have properties ‘priority’ listed, so that they will appear near the top of search results, and employ banner advertising which will advertise your property on the side of website without potential tenants even needing to search for it.
We also have our own company website that the property is listed on with a full set of photos. We can also create a virtual tour, which is a more in depth graphical slideshow of the home, and showcase this alongside the web listing.
Our website is integrated with social media, which means our potential clients can share with other potential clients, in a spider web effect which is like a self driven form of advertising. By advertising through an avenue such as Facebook we have the ability to target an audience that is more likely to be interested in the property, rather than just anyone who stumbles across it.
In addition, we also have something that money cannot buy, and that is a well regarded brand name. By advertising a property under our brand name we are giving it a better chance at success already. It means the property will be riding on our good reputation, and towards our huge database of investor clients.
- How long will it take to lease my property?
There are many factors involved in the length of time that your property will take to lease. Over our years of experience we have found that to lease a property out in the swiftest possible time there are certain steps that can be taken:
• The property needs to be priced competitively against other similar properties in the area
• The greatest and specifically targeted amount of energy and promotion of a property in a marketing and advertising sense will have the greatest influence
• Any specific features that your property may have over others (either favourable or otherwise) and need to be addressed and given in a different angle on the advertising.
- Processing Applications
Selecting the right tenant for your property is as important to your agent as it is to you. The agency tenancy application form enables agents to establish current and previous tenancy and employment history; as well as providing several business references.
A strict screening process should include contacting previous landlords/agents, current and previous employers, credit reference checks, to establish knowledge of the applicant’s character and reliability. Comprehensive checking of the prospective tenant’s details against the national tenancy register, NTD (National Tenancy Database), or TICA is a must.
- Can I refuse pets, children, smokers, unemployed, certain races or religions?
There are strict laws preventing any person from discriminating against prospective tenants or people with children. The landlord is entitled to consider whether or not he or she feels pets and smokers will be suitable for their property or not. The balance of the categories is strictly governed with heavy penalties. Be warned the maximum that a pet bond can be is only valued at $260. Keep that in mind; a pair of Great Danes could do immense damage! Pet bond is only held for fumigation, damages are taken from the bond.
- How often will I get paid and do I receive statements?
Disbursements are made from your agents trust account directly to your nominated account at the end of each month (you may opt for mid month payments sometimes for an extra charge). You will be sent a statement of payments to your nominated email address or by post. Most agencies produce complete and concise annual reports to facilitate end of financial year proceedings.
- Do I need to conduct routine inspections and how often?
We believe that regular routine inspections are a vital part of managing anyone’s valuable investment. When a new tenant moves into your property we will conduct the first routine inspection in the first six to eight weeks of the lease. We then follow up with regular inspections once every three months. Inspection reports are then forwarded onto the owners complete with colour photos and any maintenance that may need completing at the property. If we find a tenant is not keeping the property to our reasonable standard as per the act, we will send out a breach notice and follow up with a second inspection. As the owner you will always be kept informed of any concerns that we may have regarding your property. We believe by conducting inspections we keep the tenant on their game and can easily head off any potential problems by conducting quarterly inspections.
- How often would I conduct rent reviews?
Remember CPI is currently around 3% per annum. Mark Hay Realty allows provision in all leases longer than 6 months for a rent review to take place. We are constantly keeping track of market trends and setting them to ensure maximum return on your investment. Even if you only put up the rent $2.50 per week every 6 months it is preferable compared to giving large increases in one rent review (which is something DIY owners are usually tempted to do).
- What is your policy with late rent payments?
At Mark Hay Realty Group rent arrears are taken very seriously. We tackle late rent payers from the very beginning of their tenancy. In the lease sign up all tenants are presented with our rent arrears policy clearly typed out and on a red piece of paper attached to their tenancy which they must initial to acknowledge receipt of. We find this deters the majority of late payers from the beginning. If a tenants rent falls 2 days in arrears then they are automatically issued with a termination notice from our office. The property manager will also follow up with a phone call to the tenant advising them of what action our office is taking. As per the tenancy act a termination notice gives tenants 7 to 10 days to pay their rent in full. If the rental payment is not received in full by the date that the termination notice expires we can then proceed to court for further action. During this process our property managers keep owners up to date on all steps that are being taken.
- Can I access my property during a tenancy?
You need to provide your tenant with the required notice as per the Residential Tenancy Act, which states ‘reasonable notice,’ before you can arrange access for maintenance, inspections or viewings as required. Although you own the property and have a key, it is illegal for you to enter the property without that notice being served and the tenant’s subsequent approval.
- What happens if there is an emergency after hours at my property?
If you manage your property by yourself, hopefully you would be contactable and able to respond accordingly. If your property is managed by an agency however, they will have systems in place to deal with these kinds of events. For example, at Mark Hay Realty your tenant will contact our office by calling the duty phone and reporting the emergency to the property manager on duty. The property manager will always ensure that the tenants report is actually classed as an emergency and act accordingly by arranging urgent repairs, or explaining to the tenant that the problem is not classed as an emergency and offer advice on how to fix the problem until the next business day. If there is an emergency, we will handle the situation immediately. These issues typically require fast approval to prevent further loss, and you may not be notified until the following business day. Failure to respond or take action to mitigate lossesor act swiftly on health and safety issues can result in legal and financial ramifications.
- What if something goes wrong with my tenant?
Whether your tenants are behind on rent, have a noise complaint etc, you will need to abide by the laws and guidance of the residential tenancies act 1987. A notice to remedy breach is issued as soon as a complaint is made or non-compliance with lease agreement is found. If the tenants fail to remedy the breach a notice to leave is issued as per the Residential Tenancies Act 1987. In a situation such as this you need to be very conversant with the laws and acts. Be careful that all breach notices and warnings are issued in a timely and correct manner, and all need to be fully documented as the case may well end up in the courts.
- Do you have a list of approved contactors or may I use my own?
We will gladly contact the companies or individual(s) that you specify as long as they are actually licensed, insured and in the business of performing the required work. Remember that due to the volume of work we give to our own trades people, their prices are usually cheaper and they will guarantee their work. We can also liaise with owners if they wish to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves.
- Am I responsible to maintain the inventory at my property throughout the tenancy?
Yes. If you have leased your property with a full inventory of items, then you must maintain this throughout the tenants lease. Furniture, electrical appliances, linen and utensils will be maintained by the tenants throughout their tenancy, however fair wear and tear is also taken into consideration. If a tenant breaks a bowl, then the tenant replaces the bowl. If the television stops working due to an electrical fault, then the owner is responsible for the repairs. If the television is not repairable, then a replacement television must be supplied to the tenants.
- What if my tenants break their lease agreement?
Should a tenant have the need to break a lease prior to its expiration the Residential Tenancies Act allows for the landlord to claim any costs fairly incurred for the releasing of the property to be charged to the tenant in full. Some of these costs include final bond inspection, Property Condition report update, advertising and the reimbursement of the unexpired portion of the leasing fee first paid by the landlord. Rent is also payable up to and including the day prior to a new lease commencing. The landlord does not have to accept the first application made on the property either, however in saying that that the Act requires the landlord or their agent to be seen to be using their best endeavours to minimise the tenants costs.
- What is my tenant responsible for when they vacate my property?
When the tenant vacates your property they are responsible for the following but not limited to; full payment of rent until the vacate date, or until all keys are returned to our office. The tenants must also hand the property back in the same condition it was given to them at the beginning of the tenancy i.e. no chips or marks to the walls, no stains to carpets, no damage to the property as stated in the Property Condition Report. All carpets must be professionally cleaned by an approved contractor and receipts are to be provided. We also ask tenants to have any furniture upholstery cleaned at the same time the carpets are cleaned. If mattress protectors and pillows are provided new at the beginning of the tenancy then the tenants are also responsible for replacing the used items with new ones. If any of the above items are not carried out by the tenant(s), or if any items in the inventory are missing/broken, your property manager will arrange to have the items carried out/replaced and the costs of these items will be deducted from the security bond held which is equivalent to 4 weeks rent.
- Can I sell my property with a residing tenant?
When selling your property with a ‘standing’ tenant it is important to consider the tenants’ rights and obligations. For example there is a provision in the RTA (Residential Tenancies Act) to allow the seller or seller’s agent to access the property with a ‘reasonable notice period’. It is also important to k now a fixed term tenancy remains even after an unconditional sale takes place. Tenants may only be given notice to vacate after the expiration of the said lease. If the lease is periodic (i.e. month to month) there is a provision to end the lease with a minimum period of 60 days after the sale becoming unconditional, when the incoming purchaser is residing in the property. If the property is simply an investment property being rented out, again the 60 days notice is required.