What do property managers look for when tenants submit an application?
- Completed and signed rental application form with all appropriate attachments
- Listing of all people intending to occupy the property
- Advise of any pets to be kept at the property
- Details of rental referees: name, position, phone number and email
- Details of employment: employer’s name, your position, your length of employment, payroll officer’s name, phone number and email
- Ensure sufficient funds to pay the bond and first month’s rent. Generally, to secure the property tenants will need to pay one month’s rent in advance as well as a bond (usually also the equivalent of one month’s rent).
Property managers have access to a national tenancy database to screen prospective tenants.
What are the responsibilities of a tenant?
- Pay rent on time
- Keep the premises reasonably clean
- Not cause damage
- Notify their landlord or agent of any damage as soon as possible
- Obtain consent from the landlord via the property managers before installing any fixtures or making any alterations/ renovations
- Ensure their visitors respect their neighbours’ rights to privacy, peace and comfort
- Ensure the property is not used for any illegal purposes
What are the responsibilities of the landlord / property manager?
- Give tenants a copy of ‘Renting a home – a guide for tenants’ guide on or before the day tenants move in
- Ensure the rented premises are vacant and in a reasonably clean condition on the day tenants move in
- Keep the premises in good repair
- Ensure any replacement appliances, fittings or fixtures meet health and safety standards
- Give tenants a key as soon as possible after changing any locks
- Allow tenants to have peace and quiet enjoyment in the premises
- Not carry out a general inspection of the premises until after the end of the first three months of continuous occupation. This does not apply if the landlord is selling the property and wishes to inspect it for valuation purposes.
- Follow the rules about proper notice periods for ending a tenancy
What happens when a fixed term lease finishes?
A fixed-term lease is for a set period of time, usually six or 12 months. After a fixed-term lease expires, a tenant can either sign a new fixed-term lease or roll automatically into a periodic lease.
Normally, when a lease becomes periodic, the tenant does not sign a new lease; however, the terms and conditions of the original agreement still apply. Under a periodic lease, the landlord can issue the tenant with a rent increase notice every six months based on the current market rent.
What are the most common reasons and minimum required notice period when asking tenants to vacate?
Before the end of tenancy agreement:
- Damage is maliciously caused to the premises or common areas by a tenant or tenant's visitor - immediate notice
- Tenant owes at least 14 days’ rent - 14 days
- The premises are being used for illegal purposes - 14 days
- The tenant has breached a VCAT compliance order or compensation order - 14 days
After the end of tenancy agreement:
- Planned reconstruction, repairs or renovations (for which all necessary permits have been obtained) cannot be properly carried out unless the tenant vacates 60 days*
- The premises are to be sold or offered for sale with vacant possession immediately after the termination date of the tenancy agreement - 60 days*
- The premises have been sold and all sale conditions have been satisfied - 60 days*
- The landlord, a member of the landlord’s immediate family (including parents and parents-in-law) or a dependant (who normally lives with the landlord) will be moving in - 60 days*
- No specified reason, but not just because the landlord has been exercising their right or saying they will do so - 120 days*
*If a landlord give a tenant ‘Notice to Vacate’, the tenant can respond by giving their own 14-day ‘Notice to Vacate’. However, if the tenant is on a fixed-term lease or agreement, the end date on their notice cannot be before the end of the fixed term.
What are common reasons tenants can give a landlord for vacating?
- The landlord has breached a VCAT compliance order or compensation order - 14 days
- Any other reason - 28 days, but if it is a fixed-term tenancy agreement, the end date on the notice cannot be before the end date of the agreement. If a tenant provides a date earlier than this, they are breaking the tenancy agreement and may be subject to fees.
To view completed list of reasons and minimum notice periods please visit: Renting a home – a guide for tenants https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/library/publications/housing-and-accommodation/renting/renting-a-home-a-guide-for-tenants.pdf
What are the most common property expenses as a landlord?
Most common property expenses are council rates, water supply charge, owners’ corporation levies, landlord insurance, smoke alarm and pest control inspections, minor repairs and maintenance costs.
It’s always ideal to pass all property expenses invoices to the property manager to pay from rent received to ensure no late payments. Additionally, a comprehensive end of financial year report will assist with the completion of the property owner's income tax return as it will show all rental income and expenses.
What is an Owners’ Corporation?
An owners’ corporation (formerly body corporate) manages the common areas and shared services of a multi-occupiers property, like an apartment block, commercial building, retail centre etc. You are likely to be a member of an owners’ corporation if you own a flat, apartment or unit. Your ‘body corporate’ became an owners’ corporation on 31 December 2007, when the Owners Corporations Act 2006 came into force. This law sets out the duties and powers of owners’ corporations. An owners’ corporation must:
- Manage and administer the common property
- Repair and maintain the common property, fixtures and services
- Take out and maintain required insurance
- Raise fees from the lot owners to meet financial obligations
- Prepare financial statements and keep financial records
- Provide owners’ corporations certificates when requested
- Keep an owners’ corporation register
- Establish a grievance procedure
It must also:
- Carry out any functions and duties under the Owners Corporations Act 2006, the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018, the Owners’ Corporation Rules and any other law or regulation
- Ensure compliance with the Act, the Regulations and the rules.
For the landlord
The landlord needs to provide the contact details and Owners’ Corporation rules to the property manager.
For the tenant/s
- Property manager to provide Owners’ Corporation rules and relevant contact details to the tenants before lease starts.
- Tenants must follow the rules during the tenancy period.
- Tenants needs to inform Owners’ Corporation the contact details of all the residences living in the lot including vehicle’s details.
What can a tenant do to solve a tenancy problem?
The best way to solve a tenancy problem is by reaching an agreement. A tenant and landlord or property manager should attempt to solve any issues and reach an agreement. If so, put the agreement in writing and have it signed by both parties. If an agreement cannot be reached, tenants can visit consumer.vic.gov.au/renting for information about renting rights and responsibilities, giving notice about issues, and tips on resolving disputes.
For more information regarding housing in Victoria, Australia please visit: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing