It’s not a secret that the rental market is in an unprecedented period of growth; to ensure your rental property investment reaches its full potential, it’s important to be both financially and legally prepared for the challenges that occur along the way. So, here are seven ways that landlords can protect themselves.
Know Your Landlord-Tenant Act
The Landlord-Tenant Act is a set of rules to be followed by the landlord and the tenant. It can be summarised in a document called a lease or tenancy agreement. The government sets up these laws to protect the tenants from their landlords at the same time ensuring that law-abiding landlords are not punished for legitimate business activities
The act divides into three sections: general regulations, landlord and tenant obligations (including utility charges), and cancellation, termination, repairs, and change of terms resulting from the breakup of the relationship between a landlord and tenant.
Be Aware of Scams
Landlords should be aware of scams aimed at them. The scams you might be targeted with via email, text messages, phone calls and even fake online adverts can all cost you money and damage your reputation.
Scammers generally ask for money to deal with emergency situations like repossession, flooding or requests to claim rent deposit insurance after a tenant has moved out. Some scammers take it a step further by asking for payments for legal fees or providing false “witness statements”.
Get Landlord Insurance
Landlords must protect their property’s investment, and protecting tenants is a vital part of this. In order to protect yourself and your property against rogue tenants, you need comprehensive landlord insurance. This will protect you from legal costs if a tenant falls into arrears or breaches a tenancy agreement in some way.
Always Inspect Your Property
Did you know that the first step to protecting your investment is a simple walk-through inspection? When a property is checked, any deficiencies can be identified and corrected during the lease term, ensuring the property remains in good condition throughout the tenancy. All it takes is 10 minutes, saving time and money later on.
Read the Lease Agreement
Be thorough with the lease agreement. This is the foundation of your landlord-tenant relationship. Make sure it includes everything you need to know about the property and protecting yourself in full.
Read through it carefully to understand what obligations your tenants are liable for, the level of rent, who pays for maintenance costs, whether or not a deposit is due and if so how much, any fees involved in renting the property (late fees or lost keys) and many more details.
Understand Notices and Eviction Terms
Landlords need to identify notices when signing a new lease and ensure the tenancy agreement states procedures for ending a tenancy. Understanding the term of a notice period and how it impacts tenants can save landlords time, money, and heartache when trying to evict someone.
Leave a Paper Trail
Landlords are often involved in disputes with tenants. Knowing how to handle disputes and minimise the associated costs is an important part of the position. The first step is documenting all communication, along with relevant events leading up to a complaint.
Landlords should keep accurate records and have appropriate documentation available for inspection. At a minimum, this should include their records of tenancy agreements, rent payable, invoices for ongoing services, and receipts for any work done to the property.
It is important that landlords see their properties as a business and handle them accordingly. This also means safeguarding yourself as you would if you are a business owner. Hopefully, these seven ways will help protect your rental property from loss and maintain a great relationship with your tenants.