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Renting with Harcourts

Renting with Harcourts Solutions FAQ

Common Leasing and Renting Questions for Tenants Answered

 

Below is a list of answers to some of the questions you may have about entering into a lease and renting a property. If you are not sure about anything , please don't hesitate to call us so we can help you with your queries.

 

 

1. Bond Payment
 
Rental bond is paid by a tenant as financial protection should there be a breach in the Tenancy Agreement that requires the landlord to be compensated for loss of income - which could include damage, breaking a lease, rental arrears or undue wear and tear on the property. Rental bond is lodged with the Rental Tenancy Authority and is held as security until such time that it is requested to be paid to the landlord or refunded to the tenant.
Generally, rental bond equates to 4 weeks rent, however this may vary and will be stated on the Tenancy Agreement.

2. Rental Payments

As a tenant you are required by law, to pay your rent in advance. You can ensure this is done by setting up automatic payments through your bank or financial institution. It is imperative that your rental payments be received on or before the due date, by the means outlined on your Tenancy Agreement. It is Rental Management Solutions policy not to physically collect your rent.

As with anything in life, you may require some flexibility on occasion. It is vital that you communicate any problems that you expect to have with making rental payments, that you notify your Property Manager at the earliest possible time. Should your rental payments fall into arrears, we will be obligated to follow the procedures that may require us to issue a notice to remedy the breach of your Tenancy Agreement.

3. Entry Condition Report / Inventory

At the start of your tenancy, you will be provided an entry condition report which will state the physical condition of the property prior to your tenancy. This is used to ensure that at the end of your tenancy the property is handed back in the same condition, with the exception of fair wear and tear, and that you are not held accountable for damage that was already present prior to your occupation of the property.
 
Upon receiving the keys to your rental property, you are given 3 days to add any further comment or notation on the entry condition report, before signing and returning it to the office. This document is very important to protect both the owner and the tenant, and will be filed until such time that you vacate the property.
 
4. Routine Inspections

Periodic inspections of your rental property will be conducted to ensure that the property is being looked after as per the conditions of your Tenancy Agreement. A routine inspection report will be provided to the owner of the property outlining anything that requires maintenance or repair from normal wear and tear.

 Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act we are required to provide you with 7 days written notice of any upcoming inspection by way of an Entry Notice. A 2 hour block will be allowed for the Property Manager to enter and inspect the premises.

A tenant does not have to be present for a routine inspection and due to the busy nature of property management, unfortunately it isn't possible to alter set inspection times. If you feel there is anything that needs discussing with your Property Manager, you are more than welcome to be present, or contact the Property Manager prior to the inspection to point out anything of concern that you believe needs particular attention. Please note that it is possible that photos may be taken during an inspection if they're needed to highlight the condition to the owner. It is important that you secure any pets to ensure theirs and the Property Manager's safety and that they remain at the property.

5. Occupying the Property

When you apply for a rental property, you will nominate on the application who will reside at the property during the tenancy. Only those people (and the specified number of people) stated on your Tenancy Agreement are permitted to reside at the property on a permanent basis. Should any changes to the tenancy be planned, the Property Management team must be advised in writing immediately so that the proper actions can be taken to ensure an exiting tenant receives their part of the bond refund and that the Tenancy Agreement is altered accordingly.

6. Assignment and Sub-Letting

If you would like additional people to reside at the property, they will need to follow the appropriate steps outlined by the Property Manager. As outlined in your Tenancy Agreement, if a person wishes to occupy the property for a period longer than 4 weeks, you are required to seek permission from the Property Manager.

Any new occupant is required to complete a tenancy application requesting permission to reside at the property under your current lease term. Once the application is processed and references checked, we will then seek the landlord's permission to formalise the occupancy, and if agreed to, your additional occupant will be permitted to reside at the property under your existing Tenancy Agreement terms.

Being the primary tenant of the property, you are required to take responsibility of the rental property, ie it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that rent continues to be paid in full and on time and that no damage is sustained at the property. It is important to keep in mind that if damage or rental arrears cause a loss for the landlord, a claim against YOUR bond will made to cover any loss of income, whether caused by you or the additional approved occupant.
 
7. Lease Breaking

By entering into a Tenancy Agreement, you are legally binding yourself to the terms of that agreement. As such, if you wish to terminate your agreement prior to the end of the term you will need to follow the correct procedure to break your lease. Firstly you should contact your Property Manager advising them of your intention to break your lease. You will receive an 'Agreement to Terminate a Fixed Term Tenancy' along with information outlining your obligations.
 
It is important for tenants to know at this stage, we cannot start advertising your rental property to new tenants until the 'break lease' form has been executed and returned. Because you are breaking your lease, you will be required to cover the cost of such things as advertising for a new tenant, administrative costs incurred as a result of you breaking your lease, smoke alarm check fees and any other associated costs related to breaking a lease, in accordance with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act.

8. Notice to Vacate Premises / Periodic Tenancy

As a tenant you are required to give a minimum of 14 days notice to vacate the property. The applicable form can be requested from your Property Manager or downloaded from the Residential Tenancy Authority website. Once your form is completed, it will be effective from the date that it is received by us.

9. Exiting the Property

Upon receipt of your 'Notice of Intention to Leave' form or upon issuing a 'Notice to Leave' form, you will be advised of your obligations and requirements for exiting the property and returning vacant possession of the property to the Property Manager. Once you have removed your belongings, cleaned the property and returned the keys, a full inspection will be completed, determining whether any claim against your bond is required to bring the property up to the condition it was given to you in. A Property Manager cannot conduct the final inspection until vacant possession has been established. It is important that you adhere to set dates because if not all keys are returned by the vacate date, rent may be payable until such time as all keys are returned. Your bond which is held in Trust by the Residential Tenancies Authority will only be released when the Property Manager is satisfied that the required rent is paid in full, the property is returned in its original condition as per the entry condition report (excluding fair wear and tear), and all applicable invoices such as a final bond clean or garden maintenance have been paid.
 
The Property Manager is not required to organise carpet cleaning, general cleaning, pest inspection (if you've had pets), garden maintenance or any other tradespeople that may be required to rectify issues caused by tenants during their tenancy. Until the property is returned to its original condition (with the exception of fair wear and tear), rent will continue to be accrued and will be payable by the tenant.

10. Changing your Contact Details

If any of your contact details change, it is important that you advise us immediately. This may include your home, work or mobile phone number, email address or postal box address. Because we use these as a means of communication, and may send formal notices via email, it is vital that all contact details are updated with us immediately.

11. Property Insurance / Contents Insurance

Whilst the landlord of the property is responsible for insuring the property, it is the tenant's responsibility to insure their contents. The Landlord is not liable for any damage to a tenants' possessions.

12. Utilities Payments

Unless otherwise stated in your Tenancy Agreement, it is the tenant's responsibility to connect, pay and disconnect the required utilities such as gas, electricity, telephone, pay TV, internet etc. These should be connected in your name upon occupying property and disconnected upon vacating. In some instances where you are responsible for water charges as part of your Tenancy Agreement, you will be issued with an invoice and will be required to pay within 30 days.

13. Painting/Decorating/Renovating a Property

Any changes that you wish to make to your rental property must have permission sought from the landlord. This includes painting, decorating (picture hooks etc) or renovating in any way. If you are given consent by the landlord, the costs, colours and products used will need to be agreed upon.

14. Keeping Pets

It is at the landlord's discretion as to whether you'll be allowed to keep pets on the property. If under your Tenancy Agreement you are granted permission, you will be required to collect and dispose any faeces on a regular basis, rectify any damage caused by the pet and upon vacating the property obtain a pest inspection to rid the property of possible fleas (this must be conducted by a licensed and reputable Pest Control company and a receipt will be required as proof of completion).

15. Car Parking

If your rental property is leased with car accommodation, vehicles are to be parked in designated areas only. Cars are not to be parked on grass verges or lawns and unregistered or non-working cars are permitted to be parked on the property. If your rental property is a unit or townhouse or part of a body corporate, all rules pertaining to vehicles (including visitors) must be adhered to.
How to deal with oil stains: Should oil stains occur, you are required to promptly de-grease the affected area and keep a drip tray on the garage floor to protect it from further oil stains. Should the stains not be removed, you will be charged for de-greasing.

16. Courtyards and Gardens

As a requirement of your Tenancy Agreement you are responsible for maintaining the garden or courtyard unless otherwise stated as part of your Tenancy Agreement. This may include appropriate watering, weeding, pruning and mowing.

17. General Repairs and Maintenance

It is important to address minor maintenance issues before they become major. If you notice any maintenance or repairs that may be required please notify us in writing as soon as possible. You may submit a maintenance request form via email, fax or post to our office. Non-urgent maintenance and repair jobs that require a tradesperson may require permission from the landlord. Upon approval, a work order will be forwarded to the appropriate tradesperson who will in turn contact you to arrange a convenient time to address the approved maintenance or repair job. If permission is not granted, please note that any work carried out on the property by a tradesperson who is not approved under a work order, may result in your liability to pay any invoices. It is our aim to have all routine maintenance completed within 7 days of receipt of the work order.

18. Emergency Repairs

We request that you always contact your Rental Management Solutions Property Manager in the first instance, however should the emergency repair be required outside of office hours and you're unable to contact your Property Manager, you are permitted to contact the emergency contractors directly. You will find the approved trades people listed in your Tenancy Agreement but please be aware that legislation is specific about what constitutes an emergency repair. Should you organise a repair job that does not constitute an emergency repair under this legislation, you will be liable for payment of the account.

An emergency repair is "something that is likely to cause injury, undue inconvenience, or which makes the property unsafe or insecure". For example: burst water service, broken toilet (where there is no other toilet), serious leak, serious electrical fault.

19. Property Damage

Whilst the tenant is responsible for keeping the property in its original condition, ensuring all care is taken to prevent and avoid possible damage, it can happen. You're required to advise us of any damage as soon as you become aware of it.
 
20. Bond Refund

Upon vacating the property and ensuring any outstanding issues have been addressed, the security bond refund form will need to be completed and signed by both parties. This document is submitted to the Bond Authority which will release of all bond monies held against the tenancy to the requested party/ies.

21. Smoke Alarms

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 requires that smoke alarms be installed in all rental properties, and checked within 30 days prior to a new tenancy or lease renewal. Although this is the responsibility of the landlord, tenants are required to report any non-working smoke alarm to their Property Manager. Batteries or smoke alarm units should never be removed, except to test and clean them annually.

22. Pools & Spas

Tenants are not permitted to erect a permanent or temporary pool or spa without the landlord's permission. Certain legal requirements must be adhered to for a pool or spa on the property, including fencing, climbable objects, safety instructions etc. For more information about pools and spas at rental properties, please contact your Property Manager.

23. Light Bulbs

As the tenant, you are required to replace normal 60 - 100 watt light bulbs unless they are of an irregular size, type or location that is difficult to get to.

24. Privacy

Your details will be held on file in line with the Privacy Act and will not be disclosed to any third party unless otherwise permitted by yourself.

Call Rental Management Solutions today on (07) 3112 9080
email: sally.millard@harcourts.com.au