As a Sydney landlord under the NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement, one of your main obligations is to meet the needs of your tenants and abide by the legislation (as enforced by the Department of Fair Trading). But oftentimes, the relationship between landlord and tenant can be difficult.
Tenants are essential for your real-estate investments. Without tenants there’s no one to pay the rent, and without rent, your investment will make a loss. Smart property investors know this & always treat tenants with respect & dignity.
But there are times when tenants can really drive you crazy: they can delay paying rent, trash your property, and they may even make unreasonable demands of items or services not included in the residential tenancy agreement NSW.
These issues are not uncommon. Just take a look at this poor landlord who had to bear $30K worth of damages when his tenants trashed his home.
Of course not all tenants are reckless. Most are decent people who take care of the property they are renting. But ideally tenants should be well-oriented to abide by your rules within the scope of their rights. Experienced landlords know how to use a lease agreement to protect their real estate investment and maximise rental return – without compromising the image of their property as a safe and comfortable place to live. Our post, NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement: 10 Essential Landlord Tips will help you achieve this too.
- Be Aware of All Relevant Information about Property Management
Your task as a private landlord will be much easier if you are knowledgeable in your field. First, it is highly recommended that you study the following laws about tenancy in NSW:
- Residential Tenancies Act 2010
- Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010
- Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 No. 2
You should read and understand this key legislation to ensure that you know your legal obligations as well as your rights as the landlord. These will also help you in drafting a lease with a residential tenancy agreement NSW.
In addition, you should also expand your knowledge by reading property management books, enroll in training courses, and find mentors who can help you improve your abilities. If you don’t have the time for this, engage a specialist property manager who can do it for you.
- Set Your Own Policies
You are potentially exposing yourself to future troubles if you operate your property without written policies. Avoid making rules ‘on the hop’ and create a policy document before you rent the property – but be sure you don’t go against the key legislation or basic Tenants Rights. You may include guidelines around pets, parties, and noise which will make your job a lot easier when an issue arises and you want to enforce your rights as a landlord. Tenants will less likely to question policies as they are more credible compared to verbal rules. And once the policy has been created – be sure to stick to it.
- Discount for Early Rent Payment
Consider giving discounts to tenants who pay their rent early or in advance. This will encourage your tenants to prioritise paying rent, and can reduce your costs in the collection of rent money. By extending this form of goodwill you can also quickly build a positive relationship with your tenants.
- Ensure that your Rental Property is A Comfortable Place to Live
In general, the quality of your tenants will depend on the quality of the accommodation that you are providing. While it’s not necessary to upgrade your kitchen counters with granite finishing, in our experience furnishing a rental home with above average features will attract tenants who are more likely to be responsible. As a property manager, your product is not just the physical accommodation itself. Your tenant service is also part of the product, and the way you operate the property will also affect how your tenant views your property. For example, responding to repair requests as prompt as you can will project care and professionalism.
- Don’t Rent to Family and Friends
Accepting family and friends as tenants for your NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement is one of the most common – yet serious – errors that private landlords make! When you rent out to your family and close friends there will inevitably come a time when you will be faced with a dilemma: lose business or lose the relationship. To avoid this no-win situation, include in your policy to not accept family and friends as tenants. You will save yourself numerous headaches by following this simple tip.
- Establish Office Hours
Are you okay with your phone ringing while you are enjoying your dinner? How about fixing the toilet at 2 am? Remember, you are the boss, so set your own business hours. Be sure that your tenants know that you are only available at certain hours at certain days (eg; 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays). Sure you have your mobile phone where you can be reached anytime, but tenants don’t have to abuse your availability. If you receive a call outside of your business hours – allow the call to be directed to your voicemail. If it is an emergency, they will leave a message. If not, there’s a high chance that it is not important. An exception to this rule is when you are entertaining a potential tenant. You can choose to be available beyond business hours – but that is completely up to you.
- Be Organised
Organisation can make your life as a landlord & investor much easier. Be sure that all rental procedures are written down and available for easy reference (repairs, vacancies, termination, etc.). Keep all rental forms in a filing cabinet so you don’t need to find a clean form and reproduce when you need a copy. Write down the contact numbers of your tenants, maintenance personnel, suppliers, and other key people so you can easily retrieve the info when you need them. Make certain that you are updated with your accounting. Organise your office. These organisation tips may seem easy to do, but they can help you in efficiently managing your property rental business.
- Outsource Maintenance Repairs
Some repairs can be easily fixed, but most require professional care. If you are a natural handyperson and you only have one property to maintain and manage, you might implement the needed repairs yourself. But if you are managing several rental properties with numerous tenants this is not recommended. Just because you are capable of doing something doesn’t mean you should do it. Instead of wasting time, outsource the job to professionals. The time you spend fixing a leaky tap could be devoted to more important tasks such as updating your accounting records.
- Delegate Yourself as ‘the Property Manager’
Don’t refer to yourself with tenants as ‘the landlord’ or ‘the owner’. Instead, call yourself the ‘property manager’. Landlords face a lot of awkward discussions and hard decisions. If you are always ‘the owner’ – you need to bear the blame, so there’s a chance that you will make decisions based on compromise and not common sense.
Instead of being the owner, positioning yourself as ‘the property manager’ (even though the tenant may know full well you are the owner), provides some professional distance which can be useful in managing expectations.
- Ask for Help
Being a landlord who self-manages rental property is a tough job. From running your investment to managing tenants, it can really take a toll on your time and energy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to professional Sydney property managers and ask for advice. There are also online forums where you can join and post questions about your problems and concerns in property management.
These are just few tips that can help you successfully manage your rights and obligations as a landlord under the NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement. Do you have any tips to add? Post your comments below.
PS: the content of this post does not constitute legal advice but is of a general informational nature only.