July 23, 2019

Landlord Checklist

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in the investment game for a while, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a landlord is essential.

Here’s a checklist of what you need to take care of before and during a tenancy.

Is the property in good condition at the start of the tenancy?

Your property must be vacant, clean and in good condition when your tenants move in, so make sure to see to any lagging maintenance issues or finish off any important renovations before handing over the keys. If you’ve had tenants in there previously, they should have completed a thorough clean, in line with their lease, and claims can be made on the bond for anything not up to scratch. This process can be time-consuming and sometimes involves some difficult conversations, so working with a property manager can take the pressure off.

Does the smoke alarm comply with regulations?

Every home in Queensland must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms and it’s up to the landlord to ensure they’re installed and in working order. The rules on smoke alarms include:

  • They must be in all bedrooms, on every level and in all hallways that connect hallways with the rest of the home
  • They must be no more than 10 years old
  • The landlord must test and clean the alarm within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy
  • The alarm can’t be removed from the property

After the landlord completes the test before the tenancy starts, it’s then the tenant’s responsibility to test it again 12 months and let the landlord know of any problems. Property managers are experts on this compliance, so engaging one to manage it on your behalf can bring peace of mind.

Does the property comply with security and pool regulations?

As well as smoke alarms, you also need to make sure the locks are “reasonably secure” and maintained, and that keys have been provided to tenants. One tenant has to have a full set of keys and all others must have entry keys. The property must also have a working electric safety switch.

If your property has a pool, there’s a whole other set of important rules you must follow, including registering your pool, making sure fences are the right size and repairing any damage immediately. For a full list of things to do, read these guidelines from the Department of Housing and Public Works.

Is the property kept in a good state of repair?

After you do the initial check before your tenant moves in, you’re obligated to keep the property in good condition for the tenants throughout their lease. Repairs are a hugely important part of tenancies, as they affect how liveable the property is for your tenants and therefore how happy they are to stay on in the home. Leaving repairs unattended can also lead to more damage, a bigger repair bill and a drop in value for your investment.

Queensland landlords have to do repairs within a “reasonable time”, so taking care of any maintenance as soon as possible is highly recommended. If the tenant thinks it’s been too long, they can issue a notice giving you 7 days to complete the repairs. If you don’t, they can then lodge a dispute with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) and then apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order if it’s still not resolved.

If the tenant has to do emergency repairs because they couldn’t get in touch with you or you didn’t organise it in time, you must reimburse the costs (of up to two weeks’ rent) within 7 days. Check what’s classed as an emergency repair in the RTA guidebook.

Have you advertised the rental property in line with the rules?

Advertising a rental property effectively is important for getting a great tenant, but a lot of landlords don’t realise there are also a few legal requirements to be aware of when putting a property on the market. Rentals must be advertised at a fixed price and tenants can’t be asked to make offers to secure the tenancy, or as part of an auction. Professional property managers are experts in advertising rentals, so get in touch with our team for a campaign that meets your needs.

Have you provided the required documents to tenants?

Before a new tenant moves in, you need to provide contact details for emergency repairs, a copy of the tenancy agreement, a condition report form, bond lodgement form, body corporate rules and A pocket guide for tenants.

Do you need insurance?

You have a right to get insurance against financial loss including tenant damage and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re covered. Landlord insurance typically covers the building itself and any contents that belong to you. Property managers can often refer you to a reputable insurer.

Are the tenants receiving their right to quiet enjoyment?

As the property is your tenants’ home, they have a legal right to quiet enjoyment, meaning you can’t call in whenever you want unless it’s an emergency. You must give notice to enter the property for repairs or inspection (it varies based on the reason) and the visit must be a reasonable time – not Sundays, public holidays, before 8am or after 6pm.

Have you taken care of your financial obligations?

As the landlord, you have to pay all charges, levies, premiums, rates and taxes for the property, as well as the cost of preparing the tenancy agreement. You also need to lodge the bond with the RTA within 10 days of receipt. There’s a lot to manage, so enlist a property manager who can take it off your hands.

There are a lot of responsibilities to tick off your checklist as a landlord

This is where a property manager can add value. Get in touch with our team today.

Article by Katie Knight

Some may say real estate is in Katie’s blood having joined real estate following her father, Ian Knight, into the industry where he had pioneered the path of real estate in Toowoomba in the late ‘80s and opened the ninth regional RE/MAX office… View profile

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