How to Screen Potential Tenants For Your Rental Property
One of the important factors that influence the success of a rental property is finding the right occupant. With the right tenant, it is guaranteed that rent will be paid on time every time and the property will remain reasonably intact, save for normal wear and tear. With a bad tenant, the condition of the investment property is always uncertain.
With more and more people moving in and out of different Brisbane suburbs, if a property is well-marketed and presented, there’s no doubt it will attract various types of tenants. However, for self-managed landlords, finding the right tenant for their property can be tricky and challenging.
Any prospective tenant will put their best foot forward during the initial walk-through of the apartment. This makes it difficult to make an informed assessment during this brief interaction. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding the best tenant. You can, however, do a thorough screening of each applicant before allowing them to sign a lease.
Here are some tips to help you sort the good from the bad, and give you a pleasant and profitable investment experience:
Get Relevant Information
The rental application is a series of questions that allows the landlord to know about the prospective tenant. To get the best results, the questions should cover financial, employment and personal information.
It is also important to gather lifestyle information. Is the applicant a pet owner? Do they work odd hours or away from home? Do they often get visitors that would stay in the property?
The information they provide in their rental application should give you an idea of whether or not they are the kind of tenant that you are willing to trust your property with.
Ask For References
Do at least three reference checks from past landlords when possible. Ask the landlords how long the applicant stayed at previous properties and their reason for leaving. Good tenants live in one property much longer, usually at least a year, and their property manager or landlord reference will be available or easily obtainable. Any discrepancy in the information provided implies that something is being kept secret by the applicant and would usually raise a flag.
Check a Tenancy Database
You can check if the applicant is included in any tenancy database, a record of personal information about tenants who have had issues with their tenancies. The database tells landlords or managers whether prospective tenants had a previous record of not paying rent or damaging the property.
Here are tenancy databases that landlords or managers can contact:
Tenancy Information Centre Australasia
National Tenancy Database
Trading Reference Australia
Interview the Applicant
Conduct an informal interview of applicants that have passed the initial background screening. You can do this either by phone or face to face during a walk-through of the property.
When showing the property, pay equal attention to “selling the property” and evaluating the prospective tenant. Ask questions that will help you determine if they meet your requirements for a tenant. Do they conduct themselves in the right manner? Do they look neat or unkempt? Do they smoke?
Consider Hiring a Property Manager
A property manager will take a lot of load off your back as a landlord. They will take over many responsibilities, including screening prospective tenants and managing the operations of your investment property. Unlike self-managed landlords, they have access to tenancy databases, individual public records, identity verification and credit history.
At the outset, make sure your property is properly presented and marketed in order to attract as many prospective tenants as possible. Having a large pool of applicants increases your chances of finding a long-term tenant.
It’s a grey area (or black or green) and the cause of mould is a commonly asked question when it comes to maintenance of a rental property.
Mould comes in all shapes, forms, and places in a house or unit, and it can be more wide spread depending on the season and where you are located in Queensland.
Mould in the home can usually be found in damp, dark or steamy areas, e.g. bathrooms or kitchens, cluttered storage areas, recently flooded or wet areas, and areas with poor ventilation.
Mould in a regular shower recess could result from a persistent leak or be a matter of domestic hygiene on the tenant’s part, whereas mould on the living room ceiling might indicate a structural problem or lack of ventilation, and therefore be a matter for the dwelling’s property manager or owner.
In the aftermath of severe weather events there’s ample opportunity for mould to take hold of water-damaged properties.
With winter here, hot showers become the norm so tenants are advised to ensure proper ventilation to prevent the mould from blooming.
What Should I Do If I Find Mould?
If mould occurs, it should be dealt with thoroughly before it becomes a bigger issue.
When mould spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Because there’s no hard and fast rule about mould, keeping an open mind about the source and cause should help lead to a satisfactory conclusion.
If need be, a mould specialist should be called to the property to ascertain the cause.
Although the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not make specific reference to mould, it does refer to the general standard of the property at the start and end of the tenancy, and how it should be maintained throughout the tenancy.
If mould is a problem at a rental property, all parties should be willing to communicate and find a mutually agreeable approach to deal with the issue in a timely manner.
For questions about your rental property, or tips, advice and other enquiries about property management, you can head over to our blog section or contact the Arrive team on 61 733 473 737.
First-Time Home Buyers: The Most Affordable Suburbs for You
Domain has released its First Home Buyers Report which reveals the Australian suburbs that are the most affordable for first home buyers.
The report, which covers all eight of Australia’s capital cities, takes grants and initiatives for first home buyers into consideration, and looks at the average median price that can considered to be affordable for first home buyers.
The most affordable area overall, according to Domain, is Greater Hobart which has the most affordable suburbs that are closest to a CBD.
The Greater Hobart area has the lowest entry price point for houses, with a median at $130,000 in Herdsman Cove, 22 kilometres away from the closest CBD, while the Greater Adelaide area has the best median price point for units.
“While Greater Adelaide is the most affordable region for first home buyers looking for units, with the median price in Rosewater – the most affordable suburb in Greater Adelaide – at $154,000,” Domain’s chief data scientist Nicola Powell said.
The report considers a suburb to be affordable if it is below the average home loan size over the same period per state or territory plus a 20 per cent deposit and additional grants.
The cheapest suburb for each capital city, as determined by Domain, are:
Houses – Gosford ($412,5000, 65km to nearest CBD)
Units – Ettalong Beach ($301,500, 51km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Sydney have access to the First Home – New Home scheme and a $10,000 First Home Owner Grant.
Under the First Home – New Home scheme, a new home valued at $550,000 or under are exempt from stamp duty. There are also concessions available for homes valued between $550,000 and $600,000.
The First Home Owner Grant is also available for purchases made on or after January 1 2016.
Houses – Millgrove ($295,000, 70km to nearest CBD)
Units – Albion ($225,000, 15km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Victoria have access to the First Home Owner Grant and stamp duty concessions.
The First Home Owner Grant is worth $10,000 for new homes valued under $750,000, with another $10,000 available for homes in regional Victoria, from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020.
Stamp duty concessions are eligible for both new and established homes valued at $600,000 or less up to a potential 50 per cent.
Houses – Brendale ($259,750, 20km to nearest CBD)
Units – Mount Warren Park ($183,500, 39km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Queensland have access to the First Home Buyers Grant and transfer duty concessions.
The First Home Owners’ Grant is valued at $20,000 for new and substantially renovated properties at $750,000 and below, but it is only available until 30 June 2017.
Transfer concessions are on a sliding scale, determined by the total amount of duty payable by the value of the purchased home and the concession rate minus the first buyer concession.
Houses – Not considered to be affordable.
Units – Hawker ($277,500, 11km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in the ACT have access to the First Home Owner Grant, and stamp duty charges at concessional rates.
The First Home Owner Grant is valued at $7,000 for the purchase of new or substantially renovated homes priced below $750,000.
Stamp duty is also charged at a concessional rate for new or substantially renovated homes priced below $590,000. For homes priced below $590,000 and above $468,000, stamp duty is valued at $14.70 per $100 or part of $100 where the dutiable value exceeds $468,000. Homes priced at or below $468,000 have a $20 duty payment.
Homes – Medina ($250,000, 39km to nearest CBD)
Units – Orelia ($165,000, 39km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Western Australia have access to various grants, special rates for stamp duty and the Shared Home Ownership Scheme.
Concessions are available in the form of a $10,000 grant and a payment of an additional $5,000, the latter of which is only available until 30 June 2017. Eligibility for the grant is determined by the value and geographical location of the home.
Stamp duty is also charged at a special rate for first home buyers for homes valued below $530,000. Homes, both new and established, above $430,000 and below $530,000 will have duty imposed at the rate of $19.19 for every $100 or part of $100 with the dutiable value exceeding $430,000.
New and off-the-plan homes offered by Western Australia’s Housing Authority are also available to be purchased through the Shared Home Ownership Scheme, which gives first home buyers a SharedStart loan through government lending agent Keystart. This allows for just a $2,000 or a 2 per cent deposit, whichever is greater.
Houses – Elizabeth North ($176,500, 29km from CBD)
Units – Rosewater ($154,000, 12km from CBD)
First home buyers in South Australia have access to the First Home Owner Grant and off-the-plan concessions.
The First Home Owner Grant is currently valued at $15,000 for new and substantially renovated homes under $575,000.
First home buyers buying off-the-plan can also be potentially eligible for concessions on new apartments at or below $500,000.
Houses – Herdsmans Cove ($130,000, 22km from CBD)
Units – Claremont ($174,000, 14km from CBD)
First home buyers in Tasmania have access to the First Home Owner Grant, valued at $20,000 until 1 July 2017 for the construction or purchase of new homes, including off-the-plan. After 1 July, the First Home Owner Grant will be valued at $10,000.
Houses – Not considered to be affordable
Units – Millner ($331,500, 10km from CBD)
First home buyers in the Northern Territory have access to the First Home Owner Grant, First Home Owner Discount and the Household Goods Grant Scheme.
The First Home Owner Grant can be claimed for both new and established homes, valued at $26,000 for a new home and can be potentially available for established homes.
First home buyers purchasing established homes can access the First Home Owner Discount, removing stamp duty for homes below $500,000. Additionally, a $10,000 grant is available for first home buyers to renovate the home.
Also available for first home buyers purchasing or constructing a new home is the Household Goods Grant Scheme, which allows up to $2,000 claimable for new household goods.
Good news – only applies to properties purchased after 9th of May 2017.
The Federal Government has proposed adjustments to depreciation legislation in the 2017 Budget.
Under the new rules which are yet to be legislated by Parliament, investors will be able to depreciate new plant and equipment assets within a new property and items they add to their property; however subsequent owners who acquire a property after 9th of May 2017 will not be able to claim depreciation on existing plant and equipment assets.
Investors will still be able to claim qualifying capital works deductions, including any additional capital works carried out by themselves or a previous owner.
The budget notes were clear that existing investments will be grandfathered. This means that anyone who has purchased a property up until the 9th of May 2017 will be able to claim depreciation as per normal. The new legislation will be in force from 1st of July 2017.
If your clients fall under this category, they can still claim depreciation on plant and equipment assets for both new and second-hand properties.
We are currently speaking with government to further understand the intricacies relating to the budget notes and the proposed changes to depreciation and equipment assets.
Easy landscaping options for your investment property
If you own an investment property, it’s always good to know a few quick and easy ways to improve your asset.
Landscaping is one of the best ways to spruce up an investment property, as it will make your property look fantastic, and your tenants will be happy with their well-maintained home. Not only will your investment property look more attractive to prospective renters, but landscaping can also increase the value of your property. Here are some easy landscaping options for your investment property:
Use plants to your advantage
Does your property overlook the neighbour’s place or an unattractive, noisy road? Planting tall shrubs, trees, or hedges might be the perfect solution. Plants can be used as a way to block unpleasant views, reduce noise pollution, or enhance the privacy of a home. Even if they don’t entirely solve the problem, a protective screen of plants will improve the property’s value in the eyes of prospective tenants or buyers.
Choose plants for aesthetic appeal
Add instant aesthetic appeal to your investment property by choosing beautiful, colourful plants to brighten up your entranceways and social outdoor spaces. Fill pots and planters with vibrant flowering perennials, and plant your garden beds with species that look great but are low maintenance. Native plants are a wonderful option as they are naturally suited to your local climate, and they don’t require as much care as non-native plants. If your property is based in Perth, check out Billy Buttons, Eucalyptus trees, Brown Boronias or hibiscus.
Even a few trees can add value to your investment property. Tree-lined streets are attractive to buyers and tenants, as most people view them as an eco-friendly advantage. The shade of trees helps keep homes cool in summer, and a well-placed row of trees can act as a handy windbreak during winter. Trees also create a sense of harmony and peace, naturally improving the aesthetic and atmosphere of any property.
Install solar-powered lights
Solar-powered lighting shows off your garden at night and stops people from tripping over in the dark. You can use solar-powered lights to line pathways, decorate an outdoor entertaining area, or illuminate a garden bed. They’ll make your investment property seem more warm and inviting – and since they run on solar power, they won’t increase your electricity bills!
Define the edges of your lawn
Defining the edges of your lawn will make your property’s garden look neat, tidy and well maintained. To define lawn edges, simply grab a sharp spade and cut a separation between the lawn and whatever it butts up against (driveways, fences, garden beds, etc). To go one step further, you can outline the edges of your lawn with a physical barrier such as bricks, timber or stone.
Invest in a new lawn
Any home looks fabulous with a luscious, healthy green lawn. If your investment property’s lawn is looking patchy, dry or brown, it could be time to invest in a new lawn. There are several types of turf available, so speak to an expert to find out what turf is right for your property.
Why Now Is The Best Time To Be A Renter In Brisbane
NOW is the best time to rent in Brisbane with the city fast becoming a renter’s paradise, according to the latest REA Group Property Demand Index.
While southern capitals saw record rental demand in March, Brisbane’s housing oversupply has seen it become a renter’s paradise with the number of tenants unable to keep up with the growth in homes available for rent.
(Image source: REA Group)
Among the freebies being thrown in by owners to sweeten the deal for potential tenants were one to four weeks worth of free rent in some properties with others offering things like free gym membership.
The Index named Queensland as “the country’s most concerning market” after buyer demand declined slightly over the month (-0.2 per cent for all dwellings) but there was “a larger drop in rental demand on realestate.com.au” (-1.7 per cent).
Somewhat surprisingly given the publicity surrounding the supply of units in the market, the rent index for houses saw a higher drop in Queensland (-1.8 per cent) than units (-1.5 per cent).
“Brisbane in particular is seeing high levels of development and dropping rental demand suggests that the market in Queensland will continue to take some time to absorb the supply,” the report said.
High levels of unit supply, particularly in Brisbane, was having a more negative impact on the market but there was some reason for investors to still hope, given developers had slowed down on the rollout of planned developments.
“On the positive side, the pipeline of new apartments in Brisbane remains low, which will give the market time to absorb current stock.”
Nerida Conisbee, REA Group Chief Economist said cooling measures pushed through by APRA and banks continuing to increase rates independently of the RBA had so far failed to stem skyrocketing prices in Sydney and Melbourne.
She said there was yet to be any impact on consumer demand for property on realestate.com.au.
“Borrowers are shrugging off rising interest rates and restrictions to lending, continuing to search for property on realestate.com.au,” she said.
“With the impacts from these measures likely to take some time to flow through, people can expect to see continued property price increases throughout April.
“On realestate.com.au we’ve seen a 25 per cent increase in demand year-on-year from consumers looking for property. Increasing demand in the market is driving record property prices.
“Concerns about affordability will continue to gather pace in 2017, with the record price growth in 2016 set to continue.”
Maintenance of your B&D garage door and opener is critical to ensuring its smooth, quiet, reliable operation, and in most cases is necessary to ensure your warranty remains valid.
COLORBOND AND COLOURED STEEL FINISH DOORS
Your coloured steel door has been pre-painted with a silicone modified polyester formulation, which is one of the best paint films available today. However good a product may be, all exposed surfaces require some attention to guard against corrosion and any other harmful atmospheric effects.
Washing the door with clean water and a cloth every 14 days is recommended. More frequent washing is advised in salty or industrial fallout areas.
Remember, when you think of cleaning your car… clean your door!
NOTE: DO NOT WASH THE AUTOMATIC OPENER, IT WILL VOID THE WARRANTY AND COULD CAUSE ELECTROCUTION.
Regular Maintenance Required
B&D recommends that you check the operation of your door at least every three to six months (more regularly in extreme environments or frequent use). The effort required to manually open and to manually close the door should be about the same (if door has an automatic opener, put into manual mode before testing door).
NOTE: IF CORRECT MAINTENANCE & SERVICING ARE NOT CARRIED OUT, WARRANTY MAY BE VOID.
(every 3-6 months)
(Rolling Doors) Clean the internal sections of the guide tracks with a cloth dampened with mineral turps or methylated spirits. Polish vigorously to achieve a smooth, dirt and moisture resistant surface, allowing the Nylofelt to glide more easily. DO NOT USE GREASE OR OIL ON THE GUIDE TRACKS.
(Sectional Doors) Should be cleaned as per rolling door instructions, but do not required polishing of the internal guide tracks.
(If fitted) Sparingly lubricate with an all purpose machine oil. Also lubricate wheel to axle bearings.
No lubrication is generally required, however silicon spray may be used if necessary.
(Where accessible). Wipe over with an oily rag.
Your lock does not require special maintenance, however if the key becomes stiff, a spray lubricant such as RP7 is recommended. Do not grease the lock.
Lubricate with Chain Lube.
Service & Repair
(If fitted). Check for wear through by rubbing. If there is fraying or signs of corrosion contact B&D or an approved B&D dealer. These cables are under extreme tension and should never be adjusted, except by B&D Doors or approved B&D Dealers.
Check all screws, nuts and bolts to ensure they are secure.
It is natural for springs to lose tension. Should the door become hard to operate or completely inoperative, contact your local B&D office, or call the B&D dealer who installed your door.
To keep your door running well, it is recommended that your door be serviced by an experienced technician, every 12 months or earlier if required. Contact B&D Doors for more advice on servicing.
The spring unit is under tension at all times and should never be adjusted, except by B&D Doors or approved B&D dealers. No operator or other person should ever stand directly in the path of the door in its downward travel or walk through doorway while door is moving. Always use the door handle to manually operate the door. If the door is now or later becomes automatically operated, the pull down rope on the door must be removed.
DO NOT PLACE YOUR FINGERS NEAR ANY MOVING PARTS OR BETWEEN THE DOOR PANELS WHEN THE DOOR IS OPERATING EITHER AUTOMATICALLY OR MANUALLY.
*Cedarpanel Woodoil Application Instructions:
To keep your B&D Cedarpanel door in optimal condition, WoodOil needs to be applied.
If you have an automatic opener fitted to your door it is important that you ensure the optimum operation of your door, otherwise you may reduce the effective life of the opener, and void your opener warranty. For more information refer to the maintenance schedule in your opener’s instruction handbook.
All you need to know when renting your first property
After making the decision it’s time to move out of home, there are some important things that you need to know.
What do I need to apply for my first rental property?
So, you’ve never rented before. But don’t worry, everyone must start somewhere. There are a few things that you can do to make this step a little easier.
Property Managers have a duty to ensure that you can afford the rent and that the property is the right one for you.
You will be required to provide verification of income and photo ID, along with proof of address and most likely personal references and professional referees.
In most newcomer’s circumstances, you may need to ask Mum, Dad or a relative, to go guarantor or co-sign the lease.
Talk to the property manager should you have any queries or concerns.
What happens when my application is approved?
Congratulations, your application is approved. There are several steps you will need to get through prior to being handed the keys. The first step will require you to sign documentation.
The Tenancy Agreement
Your Tenancy Agreement is an important document. It is a legal contract between you as the Tenant and the Lessor/Rental Agency.
By signing the lease agreement, you are legally committing to what is stated on the agreement, including any special terms which should be agreed to in advance.
Make sure you read and understand the agreement before signing and always keep a copy of it in a safe place.
The Bond Lodgement
In most states a rental bond is a compulsory requirement by the Lessor/Agent at the commencement of a tenancy agreement.
Your rental bond is lodged with the legislative Authorities and acts as security for the landlord or owner in case you don’t meet the terms of your lease agreement.
At the end of your agreement the bond amount will be refunded, however, if the property needs cleaning or repairs or if items need to be replaced the landlord or owner may claim some or all the bond.
The amount of the bond is specified in the Tenancy Agreement document.
What documents should I receive before moving in?
The documentation required to be given to you at the time of sign-up differs slightly from state to state, however, in most cases, the following should apply;
Information booklet relating to renting in your state or territory:
Copy of the General Tenancy Agreement
Copy of the bond lodgement form
Original and copies of the condition report – to be checked, completed and signed, then returned to the office in the required time frame
Receipt for initial rent amount, lease fees and bond
Photocopy of all keys and remote controls (if any)
Emergency contact details
What is an Entry Condition Report?
The Entry Condition Report is provided to the ingoing resident/lease holders at the beginning of their tenancy start date. This report outlines the condition of the property at the beginning of your Tenancy.
It is important that you carefully check the condition report and make sure it includes all existing damage or issues with the property. We suggest taking photos of the property before your move in and provide a copy of these photos to your agent / landlord as record of the properties original condition.
Legislation allows tenants a certain amount of days to check the details completed by the agent/owner on the condition report, to confirm or disagree with those details.
As the condition report, can be used as evidence if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacement of missing items at the end of the agreement –make sure you go through it thoroughly.
Make sure both you and the landlord/Agent agree on the contents of the condition report before signing it.
How do I prepare for a Routine Inspection?
Your landlord or real estate agent may carry out a periodic inspection of the property to ensure it is being well cared for and any routine repairs are made. This inspection may include the following:
The property is being maintained in a clean and tidy condition.
The grounds are being maintained in a clean and tidy condition.
The property is not being damaged in any way.
There are no more than the number of people specified on the tenancy agreement living at the property.
No pets are housed at the property, unless otherwise agreed to.
Any maintenance issues identified can be attended to.
There are minimum notice requirements to be given to a tenant prior to a scheduled routine. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to have a good tidy up beforehand.
Rental properties are considered water efficient if certain water fixtures meet the standards listed below.
The requirement for taps applies only to internal cold water taps that are installed over a hand basin, kitchen sink or laundry trough (including single mixer taps). The requirement does not apply to other taps in the property such as bath tub taps, outside taps for the garden, or taps which supply washing machines or dishwashers. These taps are not required to be water efficient.
Property managers/owners should be able to demonstrate the presence of water efficient fittings with a water compliance certificate, plumbers report or receipts.
If there is one thing an investment property owner doesn’t want to happen, it is to lose money on an investment. The intention of an investment property is always to increase income and wealth; however, sometimes things can go wrong and what starts out to be a dream of building a strong financial future becomes a nightmare that costs money.
A rental property can become an endless money pit for various reasons, such as repairs that were not foreseen or even damage to your property. Even worse can be bad tenants in the absence of reliable and succinct rental property managers to ensure all the workings of your investment are running smoothly.
Even if your property management is the best and the tenants are great, accidents can still occur either to your property or to people who are on your property. For the times when things do go wrong with incidents, accidents and more, the wise investment property owners makes sure they are covered by landlord insurance.
Why Landlord Insurance?
An investment property is a huge asset and one to be taken care of and protected. It is a business and should be treated as such. Landlord insurance will give astute property owners a sense of ease knowing that if something occurs or goes wrong, their hand won’t necessarily be reaching into their pockets. Depending on your insurer, the terms and conditions may vary. However, when expert property managers are selected, they should be able to put you in touch with a reliable insurer who can offer you the best asset protection.
Until then, set you mind to thinking that no investment property owner should be without landlord insurance. As the owner, whatever happens on the premises of your property could end up being seen to be your responsibility. This is particularly true if there is a carpet repair that should have been carried out on a stairway and the tenant trips and falls. Here you will probably be held legally liable, yet with the right cover you won’t end up having to pay for medical expenses, amongst others.
Don’t assume that if you are related to, or know the tenant, that these rules do not apply. It is a common tale that friends and relatives have become enemies when business transactions have gone wrong. If you are unsure of what landlord insurance covers, then you should get in touch with your property manager today to ensure that you receive sound advice and that you are pointed in the right direction.
If you would like more information on getting the best property management and the most thoroughly screened tenants for your investment, learn more about our property management in Brisbane. Our property partners will help with overseeing your luxury house, prestige home or executive rental property.