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What are your rights and responsibilities as a landlord?

By Rachael Holman

Investing in rental properties is a great way of building wealth, as it can provide you with a two-pronged source of income.

Firstly, you will benefit from the rental yield you receive from your tenants, and secondly, the capital gains you can accrue as time passes and it grows in value.

There certainly appears to be more people in Australia taking out home loans with an intent to purchase a property to rent out, as figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal that the monthly value of lending to investors has increased from around $6.5billion in August 2011 to over $13.6billion in August 2015.

Regardless of whether you’re considering becoming a landlord or you already are one, here is a rundown of your rights.

Before the tenancy

Upon buying a property, the first thing you will have to decide is whether to manage the property yourself or employ a real estate agent to do it all for you. For the sake of this article, we’ll write as if you’re going for the former – although we highly recommend you use a property manager!

Your rights

While the laws do vary slightly from state to state, your basic rights as a landlord remain the same, which according to the South Australian government include:

  • To enter the property provided there is sufficient notice. For example, Consumer Affairs Victoria affirms you can only make one inspection in any six-month period, but not within the first three months of the lease agreement and there must be at least 24 hours written notice.
  • To receive payment for renting your property. If your tenant falls behind, there are actions you can take to recover the funds.
  • To request a bond payment (maximum is four weeks rent) to cover the costs of any damage caused by the tenant or missed rent payments.
  • To charge tenants for utilities used on your property, including electricity, gas and in some cases excess water costs.

Your responsibilities

There are also some responsibilities that you must uphold as a landlord, which include:

  • Ensuring your property is clean, maintained and safe for tenants.
  • Pay council rates and taxes.
  • Lodging the bond money with your state regulatory office.
  • Sorting out emergency repairs within 24 hours.
  • Allowing peaceful tenure – you can’t just drop in, even if it’s for maintenance.
  • Responding to any enquiries tenants may have in a timely manner.

A property manager

If you’re looking at property for sale to rent out, you should consider a property manager. They can take care of all of the above and more, including marketing your home for potential tenants and helping to pick the right ones for a conflict-free rental lease!

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