Questions about Property Management
Whether you’re new to property investment or already have several investment properties, chances are you may have a handful of questions regarding the management of your property. PRD Northern Rivers has answered some of the more commonly asked questions.
If you would like to find out how more about our expert property management services please contact us.
How do I change the management of my property over if it is currently being managed by another agent?
Simple! If you currently have a property managed by another agent and for any reason would like to change over to PRD Northern Rivers, we have created a Stress Free Changeover procedure for all new landlords that entails no direct contact with your prior management by you. All you have to do is get in touch with us and we'll take care of the rest. When you chose us to manage your investment property we'll organise for your tenants to be notified and for the keys and documents to be collected from your managing agent. Changing your managing agent couldn’t be easier.
How long will it take to find a tenant for my property?
This is a common question and unfortunately there is no true answer. However, we can tell you that properties that are well presented, more professionally marketed, priced realistically according to market conditions and represented by a professional Real Estate Agent, will be rented more quickly. Some agents find tenants too quickly, at PRD Northern Rivers we chose our tenants carefully and most properties are rented inside one to two weeks of being placed on our rental list. Due to recent low vacancy rates and our extensive tenant database, we've had a number of properties rented to excellent tenants before they've been marketed.
When do I receive rental payments?
You have choice of receiving your disbursements at the end of each month or end of month and middle of the month, including a full statement of all income and expenses.
Who pays the water rates?
Where a separate water meter and account is available, the tenant pays for water usage, often marked as 'consumption' on the council rates notice. The landlord’s account is charged with the total water bill and then the tenant is invoiced for their exact usage to be reimbursed to your account. We are happy to arrange payment of your council and water rates as well as invoicing of your tenant's water rates so you don't have to worry about it.
Whopays for lawn and garden care?
Usually the tenant is responsible for lawn mowing and general garden care. However, this can be negotiated at the start of the tenancy. Tree trimming, weed spraying and plant removal is usually the landlord’s responsibility, and we recommend that landlords budget for one or two prune/tidy-ups a year to ensure the gardens and trees don't get overgrown and problematic.
How much is property maintenance likely to cost me?
This is usually determined by the age of a property and this varies significantly between properties. The possible rule of thumb is 0.5% to 1% of the property’s value per year.
Mould: whose responsibility?
The landlord must provide adequate ventilation for the house. Bathroom fans, secure window stays and dehumidifiers help reduce condensation and mould build-up. Tenants should regularly air out the dwelling to help prevent any condensation build up. We look for signs of mould during our routine inspections, and ensure we make suggestions to both the tenant and landlord in how to prevent further damage.
Who looks after the swimming pool or spa ?
This can be negotiated but property managers recommend landlords employ the regular services of a pool specialist then incorporate the cost into the rent. You should note that Australian law requires all spa and swimming pools to be fully fenced, and a pool safety certificate from your local council must be kept on file to certify that your pool meets these regulations before tenanting.
Who pays for insurance?
The tenant is responsible for their own ‘home contents insurance’. Landlords are responsible for insuring the property itself. Property managers strongly recommend that your property is fully insured, specifically with a 'landlord insurance' policy.
What if I want a rent amount that is higher than your recommendation?
You may place your property on the market at whatever rental amount you wish. However, keep in mind that it is market demand that sets the rent, and if the market (i.e. prospective tenants looking for a rental property) think that the asking rent is too high, your property may stay vacant longer than necessary. Be aware your annual rental return will be reduced by 2% for every week it's vacant!
What happens if my tenant doesn’t pay rent?
We have invested in technology which allows us to monitor tenant arrears on a daily basis. After 3-7 days we contact tenants via telephone, email and SMS to follow up on payments. On the 8th day of arrears (the legal minimum) a Notice to Remedy Breach will be issued to the tenant giving them 7 clear days to bring the rent up to date. If rent is still not paid within this time frame a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement will be issued to the tenant giving them fourteen days to vacate the property.
We will communicate with you throughout this process and a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement will never be issued without discussing the situation with you first. It is our intention at all times to minimise any loss to the owner so these actions need to be carried out promptly.
Is an agent's location important to their ability to manage my property?
With almost 99% of all our prospective tenants using the internet to find homes online and a majority of our current tenants paying rent electronically, it’s clear that an agent’s location is a concern of the past. Because of this we can quickly and easily rent out properties in a very large geographic area. PRD Northern Rivers Team manages properties from throughout the entire Northern Rivers, from Coraki and Casino to Ballina and the coastal suburbs, across Lismore and Goonellabah and around Kyogle to Woodenbong. We can also very quickly assess rents in any given area to determine what the right amount of rent is for a particular property.
Can I inspect the property whenever I like?
You can, within reason. The tenant needs to be given 7 days notice. The Owner/Agent are limited to a maximum of 4 inspections in any 12 months period.
How can I terminate the tenancy?
There are 3 main ways that a tenancy can be terminated.
- To end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term either party can give at least 30 days notice to end a tenancy when the fixed term of the agreement is due to expire. (Note this has currently been extended to 90 days due to Covid-19)
- To end a tenancy after the fixed term has expired (i.e. a continuing tenancy) a tenant is required to give at least 21 days notice and the owner must give at least 90 days notice to terminate the agreement any time after the fixed term has ended.
- To end a tenancy due to a breach a 14 day termination notice may be given at anytime if either party breaches a term of the agreement, or if the tenant is more than 14 days in arrears of rent.
Can a tenant break the Tenancy Agreement?
Residential Tenancy Agreements are legally binding contracts. However, if a tenant wishes to break the Agreement and vacate the property before the fixed term expires, the tenant is responsible for paying the mandatory break fee as below:
- four weeks rent if less than 25 per cent of the agreement has expired
- three weeks rent if 25 per cent or more but less than 50 per cent of the agreement has expired
- two weeks rent if 50 per cent of more but less than 75 per cent of the agreement has expired
- one weeks rent if 75 per cent or more of the agreement has expired.
It's important to note that the owner/agent must make reasonable efforts to minimise any potential losses the tenant may suffer in this situation. For the most up-to-date information about ending tenancies, go to the NSW Fair Trading website, or ask your property manager.
Who pays for damage by the tenant?
The question of what constitutes damage and what is considered acceptable “wear and tear” is always an issue in property management.
In cases of damage to a property attributable to a tenant that is not considered normal wear and tear, normally the bond will provide sufficient protection to remedy the damage.
If not, the owner can take action in the Tribunal against the tenant. The owner is also advised to hold landlord protection insurance to cover this type of situation.
If I allow a pet at my property, what expectations will be given to the tenant regarding the pet?
If a pet is permitted we will provide the tenant with strict written conditions that we call a Pet Agreement.
The major conditions would be that:
- The pet may not come inside the property (unless explicitly agreed by the landlord that the pet can come inside)
- The pet must be removed from the property if it becomes annoying or bothersome to neighbours (after reasonable warning has been given in writing)
- The tenant must be responsible for any damage caused by their pet (both inside and outside the property), and clean up any mess left by the pet
- The tenant must have the carpet professionally cleaned and the property professionally fumigated upon vacating the property
If the tenant has a pet, can I ask for an extra bond (a pet bond)?
No. Charging a bond in excess of the tenant`s normal rental bond is illegal in NSW.
What if the tenant wants the locks changed?
If the tenant wishes to alter the existing locks or add other security devices to make the property more secure, the tenant must obtain the owner’s prior consent and pay all costs. The tenant must provide the owner/agent with a copy of any new keys.
What about smoke alarms, light globes and tap washers?
It is the landlord’s legal responsibility in NSW to provide working smoke alarms and light globes, and to fix any leaking taps prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
During the tenancy, the tenant is responsible for replacing any smoke alarm batteries and light globes.
We are not legally qualified to check the functionality and suitability of certain types of smoke alarms and as such recommend the use of qualified professionals for that purpose.
I’ve found another real estate agent with lower fees, why should I stick with PRD Northern Rivers Property Management?
The property management field has become very competitive in recent years. In their enthusiasm to win your business, many companies are prepared to drop their fees below industry standards. Your investment property could be one of the largest investments and it needs to be confidently managed. Wouldn’t you rather have a professional company who has confidence that their skill set will add value to your portfolio? PRD's investors do and they also refer many of their friends to PRD Northern Rivers Property Management. These are investors who have struggled with cheaper versions of service that have ultimately cost them money, and are now some of our strongest advocates. They have peace of mind and complete management of their property.
PRD Northern Rivers' core focus is ensuring you are 100% happy and earning maximum returns while nurturing the tenant to ensure long term relationships that in turn add value to your property.