Friday, August 31, 2012

Spring Cleaning

With the end of winter in sight it’s a good time to spring clean your property particularly if you’re looking for new tenants. A fresh looking property may just be what you need to attract those tenants you want.
First Impressions Count:
Starting with the outside of the property, take a good look at the gardens and lawn. Chop back overgrown areas, keep your garden tidy it’s the first thing people see and first impressions are important. Potential tenants may keep driving if they arrive at a place which is unattractive even from the outside. That is if they can see it at all.

Are the fences or gate broken and looking tatty? Make sure you fix them up maybe even give them a coat of paint for a fresh look. Ensure your gutters are clear of debris and not rusted out.
The inside of the property should have a good wipe over; a potential tenant wants to move into a property that is clean and well presented, this means they have a standard to keep it to. Have a look at the walls, do they need repainting? It is suggested that the house is repainted roughly every 5 years depending on the property due to wear and tear. Make sure you cover up those cracks too, cosmetic cracks through the walls and roof are common in many areas due to natural ground movement.

How is the flooring in the property? Have a good look especially if it’s carpeted, carpet should be replaced approximately every 7 years. Carpet will wear down over time particularly in high traffic areas as well as being assaulted by all kinds of stains so have a think about replacing if its past its use by date. Carpet sellers will often have a recommended selection to be used in rental properties that are harder wearing so ask around to see what is suggested.
Its also a great time to check those appliances, anything you have in a rental property must be in working order so ensure the air conditioner, heating, dishwasher, oven, smoke alarms and any other appliances are good to go for a new tenant.
The better your property presents the more it will benefit you so whether you use a little elbow grease, rope in some family and friends or hire someone to do it for you make sure your properties in tip top shape coming into spring.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lovely spacious unit...a hidden treasure

Dear Buyer,

PRICE ONLY $299,000 - RENTAL $290 pw

This delightful home unit is ideally positioned, it is nicely tucked away at the rear of the group, you wouldn't even know it's there if looking from the street. Casually walk up the driveway and you will be pleasantly surprised with what awaits you...

Single storey and with lots of appeal it offers a great investment opportunity. It is currently leased to excellent tenants until early February 2013 for $290.00 per week.
It provides a spacious floorplan which comprises of a lovely lounge room which looks onto the front garden, a large eat-in kitchen which features modern streamlined cabinetry, sufficient storage and work space, gas cooker plus 'Euro' dishwasher. Sliding doors have access to the outdoor area.

There are 2 well proportioned bedrooms, both with built-in robes and ceiling fans. The bathroom displays a bath, vanity and shower cubicle. The w.c. is separate and the laundry provides a cupboard and handy work bench.

A paved pergola area at the rear is a nice spot to sit outdoors and there is a large lawned garden as well, so there is plenty of room to potter around in.

There is reverse cycle ducted air conditioning for all year comfort and the single car garage is remote controlled.

It is located in a popular area and within walking distance to transport and close proximity to local shopping centres and schools. Invest in your future now...

I look forward to seeing you there...
9/10 Robert Avenue Broadview $299,000 
Debi Zecevich Mobile 0412 170 014
Telephone +618 8362 8888
Fax +618 8362 8898

Friday, August 17, 2012

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone

Last week we discussed the option of rent increases, particularly how and when rents can be increased. This week as a follow up, we will discuss the effects that follow from changing the rent and whether it is suitable in the current market.
When it comes to rent increases, it can definitely be beneficial for the landlord by receiving more income from their investment property; however it may also be detrimental for the tenant. If you are thinking about increasing the rent at your property, as well as following the legal requirements set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 1995, you should also consider how it may affect the tenant.
If your tenant pays rent on time and maintains the property well but can no longer afford the rent with an increase, you must consider if it is worth losing them over something as small as a few dollars a week. In the current market, as discussed in previous blogs, it’s a tenant market and they have a huge choice of properties at the moment. Rents are also on the decline so increasing the rent at your investment property may not be the best option for you.
Good tenants can be hard to come by, so the safest bet is to suggest an increase at the end of the lease term when you are asking if they are going to renew. If the tenant decides not to renew, prompt them to find out why. If it is due to the rent increase, you should consider keeping the rental payments as is, particularly if they are reliable tenants which you would like to keep on.  You should also consider the rent you may lose if they property takes longer than expected to find a new tenant.
The truth is, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Your tenant may decide not to renew with you in order to find a cheaper property and you may find it hard to find tenants which are just as reliable.
So consider all of the facts and make sure you are aware of the current market situation before making any decisions and increasing rent at your investment properties.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rent Increases

The market at the moment is still not in favour of the landlord due to the influx of properties that have not sold coming onto the market for rental. Unfortunately this means rents are dropping rapidly compared to other years. In needing to decrease the rent to find a suitable tenant you may feel stressed with added pressure on your financial situation. The good news is there are options to increase the rent during the tenancy provided you follow the regulations set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.
“During a fixed term tenancy agreement the rent cannot be increased unless you include a condition in the agreement specifically allowing for an increase in rent.

In an order of the Residential Tenancies Tribunal made on 29 September 2008, the Tribunal found that a condition stating ‘the rent shall be reviewed in accordance with the Act’ is not specific enough to provide for an increase, and therefore is invalid.

For a rent increase condition to be valid, it must specifically retain the right to increase the rent during the term of the agreement. An example of a valid rent increase condition is ‘the landlord reserves the right to increase the rent during the agreement’.” (OCBA)

55.(1) The landlord may increase the rent payable under a residential tenancy agreement by giving written notice to the tenant specifying the date as from which the increase takes


• A series of residential tenancy agreements single residential tenancy agreement for the purposes of this section unless at least six months between the same parties and relating to the same premises is treated as elapsed since rent for the premises was fixed or last increased.

(2) However—

(a) the right to increase the rent may be excluded or limited by the terms of the residential tenancy agreement; and

(b) if the tenancy is for a fixed term, the residential tenancy agreement is taken to exclude an increase in rent during the term unless it specifically allows for an increase in rent; and

(c) the date fixed for an increase of rent must be at least six months after the date of the agreement or, if there has been a previous increase of rent under this section, the last increase and at least 60 days after the notice is given but—

(i) if the maximum rent for the premises has been fixed by a housing improvement notice, and the notice is revoked, the landlord may, by notice given under this section within 60 days after revocation of the housing improvement notice, increase the rent for the premises from a date falling at least 14 days after the notice is given; and

(ii) if the landlord is a registered housing co-operative, and the residential tenancy agreement provides for variation of rent in accordance with the tenant’s income, the landlord may increase the rent on the ground of a variation in the tenant’s income from a date falling at least 14 days after the notice of the increased rent is given; and

(iii) if the landlord is a registered housing co-operative under a residential tenancy agreement that allows the landlord to change the basis of calculating the rent payable under the agreement, and the landlord gives the tenant written notice that there is to be a change in the basis of calculating rent as from a specified date (which must be at least 60 days after the notice is given and at least six months from the date of the agreement, or if there has been a previous change in the basis of rent calculation, at least six months from the date of the last such change), the rent may be increased to accord with the new basis of rent calculation as from the specified date without further notice under this


(3) The rent payable under a residential tenancy agreement may be reduced by mutual

agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

(4) A reduction of rent may be made on a temporary basis so that the rent reverts to the

level that would have been otherwise applicable at the end of a specified period.

(5) If the rent payable under a residential tenancy agreement is increased or reduced under this section, the terms of the agreement are varied accordingly.

(6) This section does not affect the operation of a provision of a residential tenancy agreement under which the rent payable under the agreement changes automatically at

stated intervals on a basis set out in the agreement

If you require further clarification on this please call Sharna on 8362 8888

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Break-up, it’s kind of complicated

Lease breaks, you may not like them but it’s a cold hard truth to a lot of tenancies. Situations change, minds change and before you know it you're out of your comfortable position and back looking for a new tenant.
So these are the facts, as a landlord your tenants are allowed to break their lease what ever the reason may be. However consequences do apply in accordance with the regulations stated within the Residential Tenancies Act. 
As a landlord your investment property is a “business” always keep this in mind with managing it. The tenants are your “clients” they have rights as much as you do, although they may differ in ways.
“Where the agreement is for a fixed period and the tenant leaves before the expiry date, the landlord may claim for loss of rent until the premise is relet, pro-rata advertising costs and other compensation which may arise under the agreement, such as a proportion of reletting fees charged to the landlord by an agent. Under these circumstances, the landlord has an obligation to relet the premises as soon as possible.” (OCBA)
The landlord must take reasonable steps to mitigate any loss the tenant may suffer and is not entitled to compensation for loss that could have been avoided by those steps. The importance of taking “reasonable steps”  Is highly important in a lease break situation. You may feel comfortable knowing that your tenant breaking lease is still paying the rent but it must be shown that you are actively seeking a new tenant to take over the lease or you may not get any compensation brought on by the lease break.
In order to be actively seeking a tenant you need to advertise in at least one form of print media as well other medium (generally the internet). However by law you do not need to start advertising until the tenant has handed back the keys and vacated the property. You will find most agents will advertise immediately once notice has been given by the tenant. This is because it will enhance the prospect of finding a new tenant leaving less likelihood of the property being vacant which in turn will help mitigate the tenants costs.
If you are receiving no enquiries for your property you may consider aligning the price with the market and negotiating with the lease break tenant to pay a portion (difference between previous rent and new rent) to the end of the original lease date. It is generally recommended that you decrease the rent every 3-4 weeks until a new tenant is found in a lease break situation.
If you are receiving applications which could be suitable to your property but are not accepting them due to personal preference as to who you think should be in the property (not necessarily the market your property appeals to) you may be seen in the eyes of the tribunal to not be alleviating the tenant’s costs. If the tenant wants to take you to tribunal for this reason it may be ruled that the tenant is allowed out of the lease break without costs and/or there is a chance you have to pay back all received monies to the tenant.