What is a security deposit or bond?
A security deposit or bond is an amount of payment paid in advance and placed in trust while a tenant rents a property. It is surety for the property owner in case the tenant leaves without notice and/or damages the property to the point where the property needs attention. Provided the property is maintained at a high level during the tenancy, no repairs are required and no rent is owed, the tenant can expect to receive their bond back at the end of their lease.
What is a lease break?
A lease break is when a tenant opts to terminate a lease earlier than the agreed lease agreement timeframe. For example, a person who signs a 12 months’ agreement decides they want to move interstate and no longer wishes to continue the agreement. The lease is a legally binding contact and accordingly there are some ramifications which the tenant should discuss with their landlord or property owner…
What fees are involved in a lease break?
If you need to break your lease early then the following fees will apply:
- Advertising fee – $155
- Lease break fee – $150
- Smoke alarm servicing – $69 per smoke alarm
- Rent will be payable until a new tenant moves in.
How much notice does a Property Manager need to give a tenant to conduct a property inspection?
1 weeks’ notice is required by the property manager to conduct a property inspection unless agreed to by both tenants.
Can an owner attend a property inspection?
Yes. As long as the required notice is given then they can attend with the property manager
Is my Property Manager allowed to take photos during a property inspection?
Yes. A Property Manager will take photos during an inspection for two reasons:
- To show the owners that no damage has been done to the property
- To show the owners that the Property Manager is actually attending inspections.
If you are ever concerned you are entitled to see the photos before the property manager leaves
Can my Property Manager or Owner enter my property using keys without my permission?
No. No one is allowed to enter your property without your permission.
If a group of people are renting a property - what happens when one leaves?
The landlord or property owner should be advised of any change with a tenancy. If additional people move in or one person moves on and is replaced, the property owner or landlord should be advised and changes made to the lease agreement and/or a new agreement drawn up. Failure to do so has legal implications for both parties, and this often results in problems arising with the return of the bond and resolving maintenance or damages during or at the end of a tenancy period.
What about water charges in a rental property?
A property owner or landlord can pass on water fees if the tenants use excessive amounts of water. Each tenancy is entitled to 125kl per quarter. Anything over this is considered excessive and the owner has the right to charge the tenant. If the owner does choose to pass on the charges to the tenant then they must show a copy of the original invoice.
How long will it take to lease my property?
Our average time to lease your property varies depending on market conditions, so no guarantees can be given however we will do all we can to have it rented as fast as possible.
How do you determine the best rent for my property?
We always strive to get you the maximum rent possible, however we also must keep in mind setting the correct market rent to get your property rented as soon as possible.
To do this, we consider these factors:
- Demand – is there currently a high or low demand for rental properties? This can be seasonal and affected by a number of factors.
- What is available now – we look at properties currently available for rent and consider their location and features for comparison to calculate a maximum rent for your property.
- What we have rented right now – We compare your property with what we have currently rented, taking into account property location and features.
These factors allow us to give you enough information to set the right rent for your property.
What if I want a rent amount that is higher than your recommendation?
You may place your property on the market at whatever rental amount you wish. However, keep in mind that it is market demand that sets the rent, and if the market (i.e. prospective tenants looking for a rental property) think that the asking rent is too high, your property may stay vacant longer than necessary.
What is the length of the average tenancy?
For residential properties, the fixed term is usually 6 or 12 months.
Do you guarantee the tenant?
We can never guarantee the performance of the tenant for your property. We can only use our professional skills and experience to verify that the tenant can afford to pay the rent and to form an opinion on whether the tenant will maintain the property to an acceptable standard.
As the paying of rent and the maintaining of the property is purely voluntary on the tenant`s part, we cannot guarantee any tenancy outcome. This is a landlord risk that comes with owning an investment property. We recommend that you take out landlord protection insurance.
If I allow a pet at my property, what expectations will be given to the tenant regarding the pet?
If a pet is permitted we will provide the tenant with strict written conditions.
The major conditions would be that:
- The tenant must be responsible for any damage caused by their pet, and clean up any mess left by the pet.
- The tenant must have the carpet professionally cleaned and the property professionally fumigated upon vacating the property.
If the tenant has a pet, can I ask for an extra bond (a pet bond)?
Unfortunately no! Charging a bond in excess of the tenant`s normal bond is illegal
How secure must the property be?
The law requires that an owner must provide and maintain locks and other security devices to the property in order for the property to be “secure”.
It is recommended that key operated deadlocks be fitted to all external doors.
What if the tenant wants the locks changed?
If the tenant wishes to alter the existing locks or add other security devices to make the property more secure, the tenant must obtain the owner’s prior consent and pay all costs. The tenant must provide the owner/agent with a copy of any new keys.
Do I need to get my smoke alarms serviced?
It is the landlord’s legal responsibility in the NT to have the smoke alarms serviced upon the commencement of a new lease or upon the sale of the property.
During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for keeping the smoke alarm clean and dust free as well as regularly testing of the smoke alarms to ensure it is still working.
Can I inspect the property whenever I like?
You can, however, the tenant needs to be given 7 days’ notice. The Owner/Agent are limited to inspecting the property no more than every 3 months.
The property is a house, who is responsible for maintaining the lawns and gardens?
Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible to maintain the lawns and gardens to the standard they were given at the start of the tenancy.
If the property is provided with watering systems these need to be working and kept maintained during the tenancy.
How can I terminate the tenancy?
There are 3 main ways that a tenancy can be terminated.
- To end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term
- Either party can give at least 14 days’ notice to end a tenancy when the fixed term of the agreement is due to expire.
- To end a tenancy after the fixed term has expired (i.e. a Periodical lease)
- A tenant is required to give at least 14 days’ notice in writing and the owner must give 42 days’ notice in writing to terminate the agreement any time after the fixed term has ended.
- To end a tenancy due to a breach
- A 14 day termination notice may be given at anytime if either party breaches a term of the agreement, or if the tenant is more than 15 days in arrears of rent.
What about someone to contact in emergencies?
If it may be difficult to contact you on a routine basis, we suggest that you nominate someone locally to act as your representative in case of an emergency and that this person is advised of the extent of their authority.
That person’s name and contact details should be recorded in the Management Agency Agreement or alternatively, provided to us in writing.
If we are not able to get hold of the owners or their emergency contacts then the Director / Senior Property manager will make the decision on behalf of the owner.
Who pays for damage by the tenant?
The question of what constitutes damage and what is considered acceptable “wear and tear” is always an issue in property management.
In cases of damage to a property attributable to a tenant that is not considered normal wear and tear, normally the bond will provide sufficient protection to remedy the damage.
If not, the owner can take action in the Tribunal against the tenant. Also, landlord protection insurance can cover this type of situation.
Can a tenant break the Tenancy Agreement?
Residential Tenancy Agreements are legally binding contracts. However, if a tenant wishes to break the Agreement and vacate the property before the fixed term expires, the tenant is responsible for the following:
- rent until the date a new tenant takes over the property, or until the fixed term expires (whichever happens first)
- any agreed advertising costs
- a lease break fee
- servicing of smoke alarms
It is important to note that the owner/agent must make reasonable efforts to minimise any potential losses the tenant may suffer in this situation.