There are some pitfalls for Private Landlords. None are insurmountable. It can be a relatively easy thing to do, once you have the knowledge and experience.
Take off the rose coloured glasses..
Let's start at the beginning. The property needs to be prepared. Whether it is a first time rental or a new tenancy, look at the property with fresh eyes. Are there some minor maintenance issues that you can easily and affordably attend to. It could be Pressure washing the driveway, clearing out gutters, weeding the garden, planting some fresh plants, removing dead garden waste or painting the front stairs. Walk across the road and have a look at how it will present on a new tenant's first impression. First impressions do count. Walk through the property, again looking for minor touch ups that will improve the presentation. Make sure there are no faulty electrical switches, leaking taps or re grouting that need attention.
State Legislation needs to be followed.
There are some legal issues associated with rental properties. Each state has different legislation. Look up the website of the Tenancy Authority in your state. They have some very helpful information for Private Landlords. Electrical Safety switches, smoke alarms, Pool Fencing compliance and stair and balcony railings are just a few. Another item to consider is Water Compliance. If the toilets and taps are water compliant, you may be able to pass on the water charges to your tenant. This needs to be certified by a Licensed Plumber.
Can ReDIY advertise my rental property to get the best result?
When the property is ready to advertise, you then have to research which sites attract the most enquiry. A vacant property costs you money, so you want to have it leased as soon as possible. Without question,Realestate and Domain are the best and receive the most traffic to their sites. Rent.com and rentfind.com are dedicated rental sites and do attract enquiry, certainly not to the extent of the major two, but definately more than sites, such as Gumtree. ReDIY can give you access to Realestate.com.au, Domain.com.au, Rent.com.au, Rentfind.com.au a plus others for a one off low fee. Visit our web site, www.rediy.com.au to find out more.
No Imagination and no camera.
You will then need to write your advertising text. Look at similar properties on the real estate websites for some ideas. Make sure you include the benefits of the property and the location and surrounding living conveniences. Have a heading that grabs attention. Include items like air conditioning, heating, ceiling fans, entertaining areas, car accomodation etc. Take good quality photos. Borrow a friend's camera, if need be. Photos are important and capture the attention. You may even want to consider professional photos. There are many companies to choose from Some include a floor plan. These can be used again, for future tenancies.
With, ReDIY, have them queueing at the door..
Once you start receiving enquiry, you need to organise the inspections. They can be appointed privately or as an open home situation. If you elect to conduct opens, consider scheduling one for a weekday evening, outside of business hours or a Sunday afternoon as well as the typical Saturday morning. The issue with Saturday mornings, is that Agents conduct most of theirs on a Saturday morning. This creates huge competition for each time slot. Potential tenants sometimes have to sacrifice a viewing because the times clash. Agents tend to have 10 to 20 minute opens, so why not open your property for 30 minutes. This will give you a better opportunity of many potential tenants attending the viewing.
I like them, but I have a nagging doubt..
Once you have selected a potential tenant to lease your property, you will need to confirm their employment and check references. If they previously have rented a property, you can request their Tenant Rental Ledger. This will show if or how often they fell into arrears with their rental payments. Don't just check on their most recent rental history, check on the one before as well. A check on TICA (Australia's #1 Tenancy Database) for any previous negative rental history is well worth the cost. ReDIY can conduct a TICA Search for you.
More protection is available.
Landlord Insurance is another consideration. You will have building insurance, which will also cover your fixtures and fittings. Landlord Insurance is available with many companies and banks. Each one has different coverage. Check what Tenant damage is covered and if loss of rent is covered under their policy.
Legal Documents can be confusing.
The next step is the preparation of the Legal documentation - Bond forms and Lease Agreements. Check the legislation with your state's Tenancy Authority and Rental Bond Board. Make sure your lease agreement has any special conditions and clauses noted. This could apply to rental increase, water usage, pets, smoking, repairs and maintenance, pool maintenance. If the property is Strata Titled, a copy of the by laws should be given to the tenant. Photocopy the keys and remotes that you give to the tenant. This will ensure that all are handed back at the end of the tenancy. Consider the end date of the lease. there is nothing in the Legislation that states a Lease has to be for 6 or 12 months. They can be for any length of time, provided it is agreeable to both parties. A lease signed on 18th June and falling due on the 18th December, will make it difficult for you to find new tenants, being that close to Christmas. A 7 month lease would have it ending on 18th January which is a much better time of the year to be seeking a new tenant.
My last tenant left the property with lots of minor damages.
A detailed Entry Condition Report is vital. Take photos to substantiate the report. This is great evidence when it comes time for the Exit Condition Report. Once completed by you, the tenant needs to note agreement or any discrepancy with each item. This report is signed by both parties. If there are conflicting points of view on a condition, address and resolve it as soon as possible. Do not leave it until the time of exit.
It's all happening now that ReDIY has helped.
Once the tenant has moved in, there is the on going management of the Tenancy. A method of payment for rent will have been organised. Monitor the paid to dates closely. Act promptly on any arrears. The State Legislation covers timing of Breach Notices, if they are required. In most States, you are entitled to 4 Routine inspections, in any one year. Special Entry Notice forms are available and there is a required notice period to be given for the entry. These Entry Notice Forms are also used for various other reasons for requiring entry to the property. Each reason has a different notice period. Again check with the Legislative Authority in your State.
Learning everyday with ReDIY Research, Knowledge and Experience is all that is required to avoid any pitfalls.