Laws Regarding Locks and Keys for a Rental Property

Because the safety of landlord and tenant is paramount at all times, the laws and regulations regarding the locks and keys for a rental property are clear, concise and detailed. Brisbane property management companies, and the tenants who rent from them, are required to follow these rules to maintain the safety of all parties involved in the rental agreement in a manner that, as often as possible, also respects the privacy and the accessibility of all sides.

Locks in rental properties are required by law to be safe and secure, and properly maintained by Brisbane real estate representatives. This is to ensure that the people living within the apartment or home do not have to fear for the safety of their property or person. After all, locks are often the only things standing between the renters and anyone who wishes access to their home. Building agents, lessors or management personnel are required to provide locks for tenants, as well as maintain the security of the building, insofar as they can. Locks for rental properties may only be changed if both the lessor and lessee agree; the only exceptions to this rule are emergencies or a ruling made by the Tribunal. Read more

What to do before Renting

The first thing to do before you rent a home is to ensure the location is convenient for you by way of transport, schools and shopping. When you have settled on a suitable area and premises, make your way to the agency which has it listed. Once you express an interest you will be given a key to inspect the inside of the home to ensure that it really is suitable for your needs. If you re happy with its condition and the rental fee charged, then it is time to check out the lease.

Before signing, ensure you read it carefully and are aware of any extra fees that may be listed to be paid by you. These could include yard maintenance if the owner prefers to have it taken care of, and also water usage charges. If you are not happy with something and the owner is not willing to negotiate then simply do not sign. If you do choose to go ahead with the rental and sign the lease, you will be required to pay a bond and at least two weeks rent ahead. Ensure you obtain a receipt for both transactions and that the bond has been lodged within the specified time frame. They must be given to you immediately by the landlord or his property managers Brisbane. You will then have a receipt from the Rental Bond Authority mailed to you as well in acknowledgement of the bond having been lodged.

Having paid the bond, along with the keys you will be given a Condition Report form by the landlord or his Brisbane property managers on which you should list any damages or defects you notice before you actually move in. You then return it to the agency which will provide you with a copy. Be thorough in your search so that you won’t be charged for something you are not responsible for and keep your copy safe for future reference. Also be aware of your obligations to the landlord during your tenancy and ensure the premises are always clean and free of vermin and the outdoors neat and well maintained. As well as your obligations you should be clearly aware of your rights as well.

Your landlord is required by law to list extra fees on the lease before signing, to have working smoke alarms installed, and to give adequate notice when he intends to enter the property when it is necessary. One example of necessary entry is when he has to make repairs on defective fixtures within the home such as hot water systems, stoves and fans. You must allow regular property checks to be carried out by the landlord or his management. If all obligations are carried out there will be no problems during the tenancy.

A Tenant’s Needs Should be Important Too

In a rental agreement you might be thinking that the person with the decisions to make is really the lessor, or landlord, however as a tenant it is important to recognize that you have a say in the property that you rent too. When searching through Brisbane real estate for a home, unit or apartment to rent you have to be certain that the location you have found is realistically going to offer you all the amenities that you need to feel comfortable and call it a home.

You want to be certain, before you sign a lease agreement, that this location has the amount of space you need, offers the in-home amenities you need to live, is in a good location and is safe. For a family, it is rather impractical to seek out a one bedroom apartment or home, or if it is a single individual then too much room can be considered a waste of space. If you need your rental home to have a washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher etc., those are also considerations that need to be made before you decide that this is the place for you.

When determining whether or not the location of a rental property is right for you it is important to consider the places that you frequent the most, are they within a ten minute radius from this location? Are you comfortable with the distance that they are from your home? You should also consider the part of town that the apartment you are interested in is at. If you are in a community that has higher crime rates, which can be typically found online from your local police department, then perhaps you should reconsider your decision.

Another important consideration to assess in your decision to rent a property are the requirements of the property managers Brisbane, you want to ensure that you can meet all their provisions for living in their home. Part of this entails that you read through the leasing agreement thoroughly, from the first to the last page, to ensure that you understand all their requirements and the penalties for non-compliance. Your property managers Brisbane can further explain to you what he or she allows and does not allow on the property, for instance some will not allow you to garden or will not allow you to paint your walls.

As a new tenant you should be certain that your potential new home is clean and to your standards of living. If for some instance it is not don’t be afraid to thank your Brisbane real estate professional and ask to see the next
property. You have a say in your next home too!

Fixtures and Inclusions in Rentals

Tenants have the right to go about their daily lives in rental properties as they choose, provided it is within the law and not offensive to the other residents around them. This does not mean however that they may make changes to the property however they see fit without first getting permission from the owner. Even though the changes may improve their quality of life whilst residing at the premises, the owner still needs to have given absolute permission. Fixtures and inclusions are included in this law and should be abided by.

What is regarded as fixtures and inclusions?

When it comes to Brisbane real estate, a fixture and inclusion is something that is already attached to the premises. Curtain rods, plants and picture hooks are considered fixtures, as are light fittings and appliances such as ovens and dishwashers. A good rule of thumb would be that if you were to remove it and there is a mark left behind where it used to be, then it’s likely to be considered a fixture. Fixtures and inclusions are widely considered to make up part of the property and should be treated in the manner that rental laws instruct.

What are the laws for fixtures and inclusions?

No matter the fixture or inclusion, if there is a wish to add one, the tenant needs to have written permission from the owner or their Brisbane property management. By obtaining written permission the tenant is protected against issues later down the track regarding whether or not they have done the right thing. If the tenant gains permission to add a fixture then it needs to be specific to the item that will be added and should also state in the agreement if it will be left on the premises or not when their lease expires. It is usually expected that the fixture will remain on the property so if the tenant would like to take it, this needs to be specified. If the tenant fails to get written permission before going ahead with the changes then they are in breach of contract, alternatively, if the owner refuses and the tenant feels the decision is incorrect then both matters may be taken to the RTA’s

Dispute Resolution Service

To avoid any disputes regarding fixtures and inclusions, both the tenant and the owner should consult with their property manager. They will be able to guide each party in the steps they need to take in making changes to the rental property in the right manner.

Gaining Entry to Rentals

Where rentals are concerned, there are always certain rights a tenant has. One of these is their right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of the property. Although the property is owned by someone else, they are still entitled to go about their lives as they wish provided it is not illegal or disruptive to the owner or nearby residents. Part of being able to enjoy their lives as normal is that the owner or rental agent may not enter the premises whenever they wish or without the appropriate notice. As always, there are specific guidelines to follow regarding this.

When there is a need for the premises to be entered, either by the owner or the Brisbane real estate agent, an entry notice (form 9) must be issued. The time that entry is made must be reasonable for the tenant and if it is not then the tenant may ask for a more suitable time to be arranged and this will need to be done as soon as the notice is received. Entry to the premises is not allowed in between the hours of 6pm and 8am Monday to Saturday and not at all on Sundays or public holidays. If the owner or agent wishes to enter outside the acceptable time periods then they must gain agreement from the tenant. There also needs to be a 2 hour time period specified for entry time however this does not apply to tradespeople.

Of course if these rules are not followed it is considered against the laws for tenancies and tenants can complain to the RTA. Depending on the reason for entry depends on the amount of notice to be given. In most cases the amount of notice required is a minimum of 24 hours, this is for instances such as showing a prospective buyer or tenant the premises and the like. If the premises are to have a routine inspection then the tenant needs to be given 7 days’ notice and this may only be done once every 3 months. If a breach is found on inspection and a follow up visit is needed to check this has been remedied then the agent only needs to give 24hours notice however the Brisbane property management agent has 14 days after the breach notice is issued to carry out the follow up visit.

In all situations if there is any clarification needed then you can talk to your property manager. By following the rules all parties involved can enjoy a trouble rental free agreement.

Who pays?

Investment rentals have been an area where disputes have popped up fairly frequently during past years. Much of this was because there were no clear set rules governing many of the disputed areas, and both sides thought they were in the right. The Residential Tenancies Authority saw the end of these problems with clear cut guides to all areas of rental procedure, making for a better relationship between landlord or management and the tenants.

Procedures for rental bond lodgement, excess charges for water and rental payments are made easy to understand for all parties involved.

Nowadays before a rental agreement is signed, all relevant issues must be stated in the agreement, read and understood by the tenant, then agreed to after which the signing takes place. This prevents any problems developing further down the line and makes each party aware of their obligations to the other. Tenants are obligated to pay their rental fees on time and in full, keep the property tidy and clean and in good condition. They are obligated to ensure the fire alarms batteries are working throughout their lease and are well maintained, not only for their safety but to protect the landlord’s investment. They are obliged to give notice if leaving once their lease is ended allowing the landlord to make arrangements to have his Brisbane real estate home tenanted again.

The landlord or his management are obliged to make necessary repairs to fittings in the home, such as stoves and hot water systems when they are needed. He is also obliged to list on the lease agreement any extra charges the tenants are expected to pay over and above the rental fee and to make the prospective tenant aware of them before they agree to sign the lease, as well as lodging the rental bond in a Water consumption charges are one of the areas high on the list of extra fees, and where some landlords or their Brisbane property management only charge excess water usage fees, they are allowed to charge for the full amount of water usage under certain conditions.

If the rental is in a country area where tank water is the only supply and the tank needs to be refilled during the tenancy, the costs can be charged to the tenant. If the home has been certified to be water efficient and the tenants are overusing the water supply, they can be charged for the full amount. Otherwise, if the tenancy agreement states that the water consumption charges are to be met by the tenants and they accept this fact and sign the agreement, the charges must be paid by them.

Insuring Your Investment Home Gives Peace of Mind

Many people toy with the idea of buying an investment property. If the property is wisely chosen it can become a very valuable asset. With proper management and good tenants the property has the potential to earn you a steady income, with minimal fuss after the initial setup. Of course becoming a successful landlord means being aware of the pitfalls and having doing some research, and of course protecting your investment and the income it provides. One of the easiest ways to do this is through Landlord Insurance. So what is it and why is it necessary?

Brisbane Property Managers can assist you to sort through the pros and cons of insurances. But the majority will encourage you to have landlord insurance. This insurance is designed to protect investors in a number of situations that are unique to the investment home owner. Although most people have positive experiences, there are things that can go wrong and without insurance, can cost the landlord lots of dollars. Landlord insurance can cover loss of income due to absconding tenants, malicious damage to the property, rent loss due to the property becoming uninhabitable from storm or other damage, and can even cover legal costs in the event of debt recovery or damages or other legal action.

When choosing the right insurance, you may have a preferred insurer. If not it can help to talk to a property management Brisbane agent. They will be able to help you by referring you to some companies they, or other clients, deal through. Some insurance companies will even cover you for tax audits, give building insurance and cover you for short term stays in the event that you invest in a holiday home, which you let out for shorter periods to a variety of holiday makers. It is also important to make sure you are covered for legal liability in the event of injury or death of a tenant, or visitor to the property. Costs of this nature can be very damaging.

As with any insurance, you may never need it, but not having it could cost you lots in the event that your property gets wilfully damaged, tenants disappear or even in the event a sole tenancy client passes away. When you consider the considerable money you have invested in your rental property, it makes very sound sense to insure it to insure it for any unforseen occurrences. Once you know you are adequately covered and prepared for any scenario, you can sit back and enjoy all the benefits being a landlord can bring!

Emergency Repairs In Rental Properties

Where rental properties are concerned there is always a few rules to abide by. These rules or laws are in place to protect both the lessor and the tenant. By following these rules it ensures that the right thing is done by both the lessor and the tenant and potential issues can be avoided. There is rarely an exception to these rules, particularly where repairs are involved. There is a difference between how ordinary repairs are taken care of compared to emergency repairs and this article will outline what is to be done for the latter.

What is classed as an emergency and how it should be organised:

If you are ever unsure what you should do when an emergency repair is needed then you can refer to your general tenancy agreement. All expectations regarding the property, including what to do for repairs, are included in this document by your Brisbane property managers. The first thing you should always do is to contact your Brisbane property manager as soon as you become aware of any repair items. Even if it is 2am you should always try to contact your Brisbane property manager either by leaving a message on the office voicemail or send an email, by doing this the property manager will be aware of the issue as soon as they come into the office the next morning and they will be able to action any further repairs that may be required and notify the owners. If it is after working hours and the repair constitutes as an emergency repair then your general tenancy agreement will state the specified tradesman’s contact details that you may call in this situation. The list of repairs classed as emergencies according to the Act can be found on page 6 of your general tenancy agreement. Examples of these emergency repairs include:

  • A broken or blocked toilet
  • Burst water service or leak
  • A serious roof leak
  • Leaking gas

Any questions regarding the procedure for emergency repairs can be discussed with your property management Brisbane.

Rent Increases & Decreases. What You Can Expect

During a tenancy there are certain rules and guidelines that govern the amount of rent you should expect to pay. Initially the sum will be agreed upon when the rental agreement is signed along with the frequency of payment. Usually rent is paid weekly or fortnightly, unless other arrangements are negotiated. Generally the rent amount should remain the same for at least 6 months from when the tenancy contract is signed. In some cases though, the agreement may allow for rent increases within the fixed term tenancy agreement, so always check and be sure of what is in your agreement before signing.

In any case, in order for the rent to be increased the lessor or agent must give written notice to the tenant of at least two months. If you are dealing with Brisbane property managers, this will generally be advised through a letter. The written documentation will generally state; how much the rent is to increase by and when the tenants need to start paying the new amount. Sometimes when the rent is increased the lessor or agent may ask the tenant to pay more bond, bud only if it is at least 11 months since the date of the last bond increase and at least one month’s notice must be given, and the extra bond must be lodged with the RTA using Form 7.

In some situations, for example, part of the premises, such as a garage or rumpus room perhaps, are damaged, or a service changes or becomes obsolete, the tenant can ask the lessor or agent for a rent decrease. This can be done through direct consultations with the lessor or property management Brisbane agent. If an agreement cannot be reached in regards the decrease then the tenant can apply to the QCAT Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The tenant however, must continue to pay the rent stated in the original agreement until the dispute is settled.

Any rental disputes are usually settled easily, and there are authorities to ensure that both the tenant and the landlord’s interests are being met. With long term tenancies usually any changes to the rent are made known well in advance of when expected.

Through making sure of what is in your contract before signing and knowing what your rights and obligations are, the likelihood of having a dispute about rent increase or decrease are probably unlikely. As with any contract, everything should be clearly outlined, which means you’ll know exactly what to expect. Happy renting!

Knowing the Rights and Responsibilities of Lessors

So you are all moved into your rental home and enjoying having your own space. Your furnishings are all in place and the kids are happily playing on the swings in the back yard.

You would already likely know that as the tenant, part of your rental agreement makes you responsible for maintaining the property, keeping it neat and tidy. But what of the responsibilities of the lessor, and what rights does the lessor have. After all, they have probably invested a great deal of money into the house you now call home. It’s good to be clear on these matters.

Brisbane property managers are experts in this area, and can help to answer many questions you may have. It stands to reason that the lessor has “rights”. So what are they? Basically the lessor has the right to expect that the “conditions of lease” are upheld by the tenant. This means such things as the rent being paid on time, any damage caused by the tenant, not including “fair wear and tear” to be paid for or repaired by the tenant.

The lessor also maintains the right to enter the property for the purpose of maintenance, repairs or inspection as long as proper notice is given to the tenant. In most cases this is 24 hours’ notice. Often and “Entry Notice” will be issued. On occasion, in emergency situations, the landlord may enter to prevent damage to the home without such notice.

As always, there are two sides to every coin. The lessor in addition to his rights has responsibilities. Again, most of these would be outlined in the rental agreement which are often explained by property management Brisbane agents. These include, providing a copy of the lease to the tenants, paying bond monies to the RTA and maintaining the property so that it remains in a clean liveable condition. It involves respecting the tenant’s right to privacy, and not encroaching on their enjoyment of the home unnecessarily. Lessor’s must also provide a full set of keys to the property and maintain all locks and keys in good working order. The lessor is also expected to pay rates and charges associated with the property, unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement.

In a nutshell, rental properties require a mutually respective relationship between all parties. So long as everyone understands the conditions of lease and all uphold their responsibilities, the interaction between tenant and lessor can and should be a positive experience. The tenants are able to enjoy a private home life, and the lessor can enjoy knowing that his investment is secure and well cared for. A win-win situation all round!