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February 27, 2024

Common Questions From Landlords And Tenants

We often field questions from Toowoomba’s landlords and tenants on topics including leases, inspections, rental hikes and the rental process itself.

So, we decided to compile a list of some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we get from investors and renters.

Landlords’ most frequently asked questions

1. Why do I need a property manager?

Managing your investment property takes time – something in short supply for many property investors. It also requires a good understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding tenancies and knowledge of the local rental market.

A good property manager can make a big difference to how successful and stress-free your investment property is. They’ll market the property, liaise with you and the tenant, conduct inspections, and ensure your property is well-maintained. They’ll also offer strategic as well as practical advice on making the most of your investment.

Finally, a good property manager will also have a long list of contacts who can help out with maintenance, repairs and other issues.

2. How do you find the best tenants?

We advertise most of our properties for lease on popular platforms such as realestate.com.au. But there’s more to it than simply producing a listing and having an open home.

For starters, a good property manager understands who your property is likely to appeal to and will advertise it in a way that appeals to them. They’ll also set the asking rent at an appropriate market rate that attracts interest but maximises your likely returns.

We also tap into our database of potential tenants who may be looking for a property just like yours. Many of these have been pre-screened, so we know they’re genuine.

If you receive multiple offers for your property (which is quite common in today’s rental market), we offer advice on which to accept based on our experience. We also carry out all the necessary checks to ensure they’ll likely be great tenants.

3. How long should I sign a lease for?

You can sign a lease for as long as you like, but most leases are between six and 12 months long. When deciding on a lease term, you need to balance stability with potential market movements to avoid missing out. For instance, if you sign a two-year lease and rents rise by 30% over that time (as they have done over the past couple of years), you’ll be missing out on income.

Before our landlords sign a lease, we always advise them on the most appropriate lease terms based on their needs, as well as the property, the tenants and current market conditions.

4. When do you carry out inspections (and what happens if something’s wrong)?

Before your tenants move into the property, we’ll carry out an initial inspection and compile a full condition report that forms the basis of the tenancy.

After that, we carry out routine inspections on a regular basis. When we do this, we’re ensuring there is no damage to the property (this is different from normal wear and tear) and no fixtures have been removed.

Generally speaking, if we notice damage, the tenant will be responsible for rectifying it.

During the routine inspection, we’ll also look at general maintenance inside and outside the property, including checking for water leaks. If we find something that isn’t working or up to a reasonable standard, it’s usually your responsibility to fix it unless it’s the tenants’ fault.

You can read more about the inspection we carry out here.

5. What happens if the tenants don’t pay the rent?

If a tenant doesn’t pay the rent, there are regulations around what happens next. However, our point of view is that communication can often help overcome many issues.

That’s why our first port of call is always to contact the tenants directly to find out whether there is an issue. If they can’t pay, sometimes simply changing the date of the month on which rent falls due can be enough to help with their cash flow.

If, however, the problem is more severe and the tenant is more than seven days late, there is a process we must follow that involves serving them with a Notice to Remedy Breach. If they don’t pay the rent by an agreed date, we can issue them with a Notice to Leave, meaning they must vacate the property within seven days.

If we issue three Notice to Remedy Breaches within 12 months, we can apply to the Tribunal for the lease to end. You can read more about the process on the Queensland Government website.

Tenants’ most frequently asked questions

1. Whose name should be on the lease?

The people in the rental agreement are legally responsible for paying the rent and maintaining the property. They’re also the ones who will receive the rental bond when the tenancy ends. That’s why it’s vital that anyone who is going to be living in the property should be named in the rental agreement.

If your living arrangements change, you should always get in touch with the property manager and have your lease updated.

2. When can the landlord enter my property?

A landlord can only enter your home for specified purposes, including for an inspection, maintenance, and check whether smoke alarms are working or for a valuation.

Before entering, they must usually provide you with between 24 hours and seven days’ notice, depending on why they’re entering.

Unless you agree otherwise, the owner can only enter between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

If the landlord decides to sell, the selling real estate agent must give you 24 hours notice before entering your home.

You can read the complete list of why a landlord can enter your home and how much notice they must give on the Queensland Government’s Residential Tenancies Authority website.

3. What happens when the lease ends?

If you’re on a fixed term that ends, there are essentially three options. First, you and the landlord agree to a new term. Second, you decide to move out, or the landlord decides to end the lease (in which case you or they need to give notice). Third, you revert to a ‘periodic’ or rolling tenancy.

In this arrangement, the lease isn’t for a fixed term but renews periodically (usually monthly if that’s how you pay your rent). You or the landlord can end the periodic tenant at any time but giving notice or signing a new lease.

4. Can the landlord increase my rent?

A landlord can only increase rent at the end of a fixed-term arrangement or every 12 months. (If the lease expires after six months and they put the rent up at the start, they can’t increase it again.)

Before they increase the rent, the landlord must give you one month’s notice if you’re on a fixed-term agreement or two months’ notice if you’re on a periodic or rolling tenancy.

If you feel a rental increase is excessive, you can apply for dispute resolution to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

5. When do I get my bond back?

At the start of the tenancy, you must pay a bond equivalent to four weeks’ rent. The property manager doesn’t hold this but hands it to the RTA.

You can apply to the RTA to get this money back when you move out, and you’ll generally receive this back within days of the final inspection, so long as the property is in good condition.

If the property manager believes you broke the rental agreement, owe rent, have left the property in a bad state or have damaged the property, they can make a claim to the RTA against your bond. The RTA will assess this, and if they agree, they will send you a Notice of Claim. You have 14 days to respond, or the RTA can deduct money from your bond.

If you disagree with the claim, you can have the dispute heard in the QCAT. You can read more about how to bring a claim on the Tenants Queensland website.

Want more?

Looking for more advice about the Toowoomba rental market? Whether you’re an investor, tenant or buyer, we’re here to help. Get in touch with our experienced local 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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