Property Management

Property Management

By Gerry Filas

Your Property Manager should be knowledgeable on all things to do with your rental property, and give the right (and regular) advice to ensure your risk is minimized and your rental income and capital gain are maximized.

A good Property Manager ensures maintenance is reported on time, keeps a close watch on what’s happening in the marketplace to ensure landlords are receiving the rent they deserve, provides regular and accessible updates for landlords, and offers advice on potential improvements that could be made to the property for greater financial gain.

A good Property Manager also follows effective and thorough guidelines for screening tenant applications to ensure landlords have access to the ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to selecting the best tenant for their property.

Regular training enables a property management team to stay abreast with the frequent legislative changes that affect the leasing and tenancy of residential properties. An agency’s level of knowledge will inevitably be reduced if property managers who have been trained leave and are replaced by new team members, no matter how frequently they undergo training as a team.

An excellent Property Manager is proficient in the art of negotiation, and possesses strong communication and interrelationship skills to build a great rapport with both landlords and their tenants to ensure the lease runs smoothly. Some landlords, and even many property managers, fail to recognize that building a great rapport with tenants is just as important as building a great rapport with landlords. Why? Because happy tenants mean fewer vacancies and a property that is well looked after!

Like trust, rapport is something that is built over time. Chopping and changing property managers means trust and rapport must be built from scratch time and time again. This can be detrimental to both short and long term results on your property investment. If you find a property management agency you are happy with (and one with a low staff turnover), don’t risk having to build that important relationship all over again with someone new.

Better Tenants – The Best Possible Rents – Fewer Vacancies

We have a superior tenant screening process. With our expertise we are able to recognize rent jumping tenants that don’t respect rental properties, and won’t let them anywhere near your property. We’re proud of our extremely low vacancy rate. You don’t want your property sitting empty – our occupancy rate clearly indicates that we can deliver a reliable return on your investment property.

We are careful to avoid leases ending in slower periods of the year for example, the festive periods between December – January.

Tenant Selection: Applicants are subjected to a thorough reference VEDA check to ensure they will be able to meet the tenancy requirements i.e. pay the rent and maintain the property. Under no circumstances do we sacrifice the quality of the tenant purely for the sake of leasing the property.

The Marketing Of My Property

Your property must be marketed properly and extensively to ensure the widest possible exposure to attract a quality tenant. The following methods have proven successful for us:

Website: We have our own user friendly website on which we place all our properties for rental. Have a look at which is also linked to and

Property Alerts: Prospective tenants can also sign up to receive regular emails of new properties coming available and inspection times.

Signboards: Our attractive signboards guarantee a lot of enquiry. Wherever possible we use a signboard on properties that are coming up for lease.

Open houses and Private appointments: Each Saturday we conduct ‘Open Houses’ for properties available for rent. We also encourage private appointments so that we are able to qualify the prospective tenants.

Receiving My Rent Monies:
Our property owners receive a detailed monthly statement at the end of each month showing all rental incomes and disbursements. Mid-month payments can be arranged on request. Statements can be received by post or email. Funds are electronically transferred to your nominated account at the end of each month.

Inspections at My Property:
Regular inspections of the property are completed. Three types of inspections are carried out to minimise any problems that may arise during the tenancy of a property and the inspections are recorded electronically. They are:

Residential Premises Condition Report: This is completed prior to the commencement of the tenancy. This report is a legal requirement, constitutes Part 2 of the Tenancy Agreement, is relied upon for refunds of residential bonds and must be accurate. The tenant is given a copy for their reference and digital photos are also used in conjunction with the report for future reference.

Routine Inspections: A maximum of 4 can be carried out per year, tenants must be given 7 days’ notice in writing before the inspection is carried out. The purpose of this report is to see how the tenant is maintaining the property, undertake an analysis of the current rent being paid and report back to the property owners on any repairs or maintenance that may be required. We undertake routine inspections three months after a new tenant has moved in, then every six months thereafter.

Final or Bond Inspection: This is carried out once the tenant has vacated the property. The Residential Premises Condition Report is taken to the property and the current condition of the property is compared to the original in-going report. Allowances are made for reasonable wear and tear to the premises. If the tenant has damaged the property (e.g. there is red wine stain on the carpet), you can charge the tenant a reasonable amount of compensation after taking into consideration depreciation and the size of the stain. If the tenant disputes this amount, we can claim it from the tenant’s bond. If the tenant again disputes the claim, we will need to meet the tenant at the Consumer, Trader and Tenancies Tribunal (CTTT) to have the matter heard and decided upon before a Tribunal member.

Taking a Bond:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, the maximum amount that can be requested as a rental bond is 4 weeks of the advertised rent, regardless of whether or not the premises are furnished. Tenants cannot be asked to top up a bond to keep it at the 4 weeks rent if the rent goes up during the tenancy.

Tenancy Agreements:
The Law requires that there must be a written Tenancy Agreement between all landlords and tenants. The agreement must be provided by the landlord or the landlord’s agent. The standard terms of the Agreement apply to all landlords and tenants and cannot be altered or deleted. There need not be any additional terms added to the Tenancy Agreement.

Examples of additional terms which are not binding or enforceable include:

Professional carpet cleaning
Obligation to take out insurance
Rent rebates or reductions for NOT breaching the Agreement
Tenant to use a specified person or business in carrying out Tenant’s obligations (i.e. requiring tenant to use a particular cleaner or gardener).

Before the tenant signs a lease, the landlord or its agent must disclose certain things to them. A Landlord MUST NOT knowingly conceal “material facts” about the property. These include:

Serious flood/bushfire within the past 5 years
Significant health/safety risks
Serious violent crime within the past 5 years
If Council waste services will be provided on a different basis than is generally applicable to residential premises in the area
A driveway or walkway on the premises which other people are entitled to share with the tenant
If a Contract of Sale has been prepared for the property
If a Mortgagee has commenced legal action for recovery of the premises

A material fact is information about the premises that is relevant to the tenant’s decision as to whether or not they want to live in the property. Failure to disclose this information may mean that the tenant can get out of the lease and seek compensation from the landlord.

How do we collect the tenants rent?

In view of recent legislative changes and our ongoing commitment to improving services to our tenants Raine & Horne Sans Souci via National Australia Bank Limited provide FREE rental payment methods as follows:

BPAY® – via your financial institution

CREDIT CARD – via DEFT Online and DEFT Phonepay

Both the phone and internet payment options allow scheduling recurring weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly rental payments in advance. So they can ‘set and forget’ their rental payments. Through this rent payment system 98% of our tenants rents are paid ontime.

What happens if the tenant does not pay rent on time?

Legally we are unable to take steps to evict a tenant for non-payment until they are 14 days in arrears. Our procedure is as follows:

7 days in arrears we phone, SMS or send a letter to the tenant advising of arrears
11 days in arrears they receive either a further e-mail and a phone call
15 days in arrears a Termination Notice is automatically forwarded

If the tenant does not comply with the Termination Notice we apply to the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter heard and enforced.

Repairing and Maintaining My Property:
Your Agreement with us will allow us to spend on your behalf an amount for repairs and maintenance of your property. In saying that, our repair policy is to contact you prior to arranging any such works.

Major repairs are discussed with you at all times. Quotes are obtained to ensure the correct work is being carried out, by the best trades-person, at the best fee.

Not every repair must be attended to by the landlord, however urgent repairs outlined in the Residential Tenancy Agreement, such as burst sewers or hot water services, must be acted upon regardless of whether we have been able to reach you or not.

Renewing the Lease with My Tenant:
The Residential Tenancy Agreement has a continuation clause, which allows a tenant to continue on under the same terms and conditions at the expiry of the fixed term (continuing basis), unless they receive correspondence stating otherwise (i.e. notification of a rent increase or notice to vacate).

In most cases we will advise you of the impending expiry of the Tenancy Agreement and seek instructions whether a further term is to be offered to the tenants and under what terms.

Notice Required When My Tenant Is Vacating:
When the fixed term period of the agreement is due to run out, a landlord is required to give the tenant 30 days' notice to end the tenancy and a tenant is required to give 14 days' notice. This notice can be served up to and including the last day of the fixed term.

Once the fixed term period has ended, a tenant is required to give at least 21 day notice, and the landlord must give at least 90 day notice (the new laws also allow a tenant to leave at any time after receiving notice from the landlord without having to give their own notice). In addition the tenant is only liable to pay rent until they return vacant possession to the landlord, and by that we mean they have moved out and handed the keys back.

Breaking of a Fixed Term Lease:
If a tenant wants to end their Tenancy Agreement early they should give as much notice as possible, preferably in writing giving the date they intend to leave and ask for the landlord (or agent) to help find a new tenant.

A landlord can claim compensation for any loss they suffer as a result of a tenant ending the agreement early. Some of the costs a tenant could be liable for include:

Rent until new tenants move in or the existing agreement runs out (whichever happens first).
A re-letting fee (usually 1 week’s rent) when the property is let by an agent who charges the landlord a fee for finding new tenants and advertising costs. The landlord also has a duty to keep the tenant’s loss to a minimum and make a reasonable effort to find a new tenant.

Under the new laws, parties to a tenancy agreement have the option of including a break fee in the lease. The break fee applies if the tenant breaks the lease before the end of the fixed term period. The amount of the break fee is set out under the new laws:

Breaches of Tenancy:
A notice of termination may be given at any time if either party seriously or persistently breaches a term of the agreement, or if the tenant is more than 14 days in arrears of rent. At least 14 day's notice must be given in writing.

Strata By-Laws:
By-laws are made to facilitate the administration and harmony of properties (ie the smooth and dispute-free running of a strata scheme). They generally cover the use of common property and the behaviour of residents but can also deal with many other aspects of the scheme.

Without them the scheme would basically operate as a ‘free-for-all’ situation where anyone could essentially do whatever they pleased to their property, the common property and each other. Just imagine the sort of chaos that situation would create over time. By-laws usually pertain to:

Parking restrictions and use of allocated areas
Keeping of animals
Garbage disposal
Use of facilities and common property
Behaviour of residents (ie noise, hanging of washing, offensive behaviour, invitees etc.)

Landlord Insurance:
Landlord insurance policies will provide peace of mind that your rental income and investment property is protected against the following risks:

Loss of rent
Accidental loss or damage
Malicious loss or damage

Costs Incurred At My Rental Property:
Some owners prefer us to handle outgoings such as Council Rates, Water Rates, Strata Levies and Landlord Insurance on their behalf. All authorized property outgoings will be paid prior to the due date (subject to the availability of funds).

Invoices on routine maintenance and repairs those invoices will generally be finalised in the month that they are carried out.

Receiving My Financial Statements:
At the end of each financial year our landlords receive an Income & Expenditure Report for the past financial year this will be attached to your June statement. So don’t despair if you misplace a statement throughout the year all income and expenses will be noted on this report.

Selling or Moving Back Into My Property:
A tenancy can be terminated by the landlord giving the tenant notice. A notice of termination must:

Be in writing state
State the address of the premises
Be signed and dated
Allow the required period of time
Give the actual date on which tenant is to move out
Give reasons for ending the agreement

Under the new laws, Termination Notices, and any notice for that matter, issued by a landlord, agent or a tenant, can be hand delivered to the mail box of the other party. If the Notice is sent by post, allow at least four working days (not including the day the notice was sent) be added to the amount of the Notice, to allow time for the Notice to be delivered. Working days excludes Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and bank holidays. The Notice period is counted from the day after the notice is served.

A continuing Agreement may be ended by a landlord without stating a reason (in which case at least 90 days’ notice must be given).

If the premises are sold and vacant possession is required in the Contract of Sale, the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days written notice (after the Contracts of Sale have been exchanged). This is only applicable to continuing Tenancy Agreements.