Category Archives: Leasing

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Renting with pets

By | Leasing, Pets | No Comments

As a tenant it can be an exciting time moving house, looking to upsize with a growing family or simply looking for change. You find the perfect property online plan your inspection then ask the all-important question- if your furry friend can live in this perfect house with you!

The agent replies ‘Sorry no pets allowed’, your heart breaks and now this is no longer the perfect house for you. Why is it so hard to find a property that accepts pets?

Unfortunately, most Landlords have already had a ‘badly behaved tenant/pet’ in their rental property and simply don’t want to take the risk again. Everyone has heard the stories, damaged carpet, scratched doors and floors, broken blinds caused from a pet. It’s these tenants that are few and far between that spoil it for the rest of the great tenants looking to move.

Some Landlords accept that their property is ‘perfect’ for pets and will accept them as there is ample garden space, usually with a performance clause written into the lease that the pets must be kept outside which can be quite difficult for some pet owners to manage as they love cuddles on the couch with their cat or dog. Sometimes properties are just not suitable for a pet and in some instances in apartment buildings Owners Corporations do not allow them at all.

Interestingly when a property is advertised as ‘pets accepted’ the property leases quicker than a property without, we also find that the tenants are prepared to offer additional bond to put the Landlords mind at ease that they will take full responsibility for anything that may happen as a result of the pet living in the property. A pet clause is included in the lease agreement requiring the tenant to rectify any damage caused by the pet and fumigation to the property to be carried upon vacating.

However, things could change soon, currently reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act will be introduced into the Victorian Parliament in 2018, and if passed, these reforms would be implemented in 2019. Tenants will have the right to keep pets, provided they obtain the landlord’s written consent first. Landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse a request for consent.

In the meantime, pet owners, it’s always best to be honest about having a pet live in the property with you.

PS. That cute pup is our dog Layla

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What happens when the leasing market cools?

By | Leasing | No Comments

We often hear lots of talk around the housing marketing relating to sales, clearance rates and sold prices but very rarely do they talk about the rental market. It’s interesting because the two are related and when we see a slower sales market we often see the roll-on affect in the rental market.

The start of 2018 went off with a bang and properties were being snapped up for lease in record time, with properties not lasting more than 7 days and generally being leased after one inspection.

In many cases tenants were offering higher than asking rentals and longer lease terms so that could secure their dream home. Typically at this time of year however, things start to slow down, less people at open for inspections and properties taking slightly longer to lease.

So just how do Landlords prepare for a shift in the demand? As with all things preparing for the worst and having financial savings to assist if a property becomes vacant is one way to do it, however we want to look at a more proactive approach and one that keeps those funds in your pocket.

Let’s go back to the start, when we secure a lease we always try and time the lease end date for ‘peak season’ that is typically from October – March. If a tenant is offering a six-month lease in June, then this might be a time that we would consider a shorter lease so that if it does become vacant it does so at a good time of year.

Consider securing a longer lease if possible, so similarly to the above example if a tenant is after a 12 month lease we can try and negotiate an 18 month lease which will bring the end date closer to the ‘peak’ leasing season. This also reduces the risk of the property becoming vacant sooner if you only secured a 12 month lease which would incur you more costs.

Owners should also promote the property to those in the building and close by via a brochure, the reason this is an effective strategy is that often we see current occupants in the building having a friend or family member that would like to lease in the building, but they may not necessarily be looking online all the time.

We also recommend Landlord’s use the quieter time in the market to do renovations or repairs to their property in preparation for securing a higher rental in the warmer months.

It is not just about ‘reducing the rent’ which some agents use as the only tactic to lease a property in a cooler market, it’s about planning ahead and looking at all options, not just the easy ones.

If you would like to speak to us about our proactive approach and how we focus on minimising vacancy, then feel free to contact us.

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Breaking a lease agreement, what happens next?

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A few tenants have asked us lately what happens if they need to break their lease agreement. For various reasons someone might need to do this, reasons can include relationship break up’s, job changes resulting in moving overseas or interstate, financial reasons, new relationships and the list goes on.

Whatever the case may be it is important to know where you stand as a Tenant and Owner.

Tenants –
Are liable to pay rent until a new tenant moves in (up to when the Lease ends)
Are required to pay any advertising costs to find a new tenant (in accordance with the Landlords agreed fees with the agent)
Are required to pay a pro rata leasing fee (in accordance with the Landlords agreed fees with the agent)
Are required to leave the property in the same condition as when they moved in

Landlords –
Are required to pay the balance of the pro rata advertising and leasing fee (in accordance with the Landlords agreed fees with the agent)
Need to approve the new applicant before the new lease can be signed, once the new lease is signed the tenant transfer can take place.

Please note the following link to Consumer Affairs Victoria detailing the full obligations of the parties.

https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/ending-a-lease-or-residency/if-the-tenant-wants-to-leave/tenant-giving-notice-of-intention-to-vacate/if-you-do-not-give-notice-if-you-break-the-lease

If you are thinking of breaking your lease have a chat with your property manager and make sure you are clear on all the costs involved. For an owner if this happens to you make sure your agent is doing thorough checks and is taking care of your interests whilst managing the process. Contact us today for a confidential discussion.

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What type of Tenants is your investment property attracting?

By | Leasing | No Comments

Most of my clients ask me to find a ‘Professional’ to occupy their investments however what type of Tenant does your property attract? If you have a run down property far away from preferable amenities this type of Tenant would not apply; in reality you would be likely to attract students or low income Tenants.

Typically and there of course can be variations to this, the features that the following types of Tenants want and level of rents that they can pay are as follows:-

Professional – Low maintenance, modern, close to lifestyle amenities and high employment areas, most likely to pay mid to high rental levels.

Family – Larger style properties, backyards, garages, close to schools, usually can afford mid level rents however can also fall into low and high categories depending on location.

Student/Budget – Cost driven, close to universities and transport, will consider/be only able to afford older, less maintained properties further away from amenities. Typically can afford low to mid budget levels.

It is very common for an investor to have had a property for 5-10 years and only carry out minimal work over that period, however with the influx of new properties Tenants are becoming more and more selective over the type of property they want to live in. Almost all Tenants are looking for the same thing, regardless of the style, size or property type they are looking at be it a house, unit or apartment, this is for something clean, neat, preferably modern and close to relevant amenities.

If your asset does not target your preferred style of Tenant, proactively managing and investing in your asset is important to give you the best opportunity at attracting high caliber Tenants regardless of the category they fall in.

With the vacancy rates in Melbourne currently at 3% and a significant number of properties set to come on the market with new developments, investors need to take steps to make their investment property stand out from the rest.

The next time you purchase an investment consider who will rent your property and what type of Tenant you want to attract. If your investment currently does not have your preferred type of Tenant now, ask yourself and your property manager what can done to change this in future.

For queries on the sale or management of your properties please feel free to contact us.

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Applying for a rental property with no rental history

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So you are finally moving out on your own, it’s time to spread your wings and rent a place somewhere possibly closer to work or the city but you have one hurdle – you have never rented before…

What happens next, you keep attending open for inspections and they are so busy that you are lucky to say ‘Hi’ to the Real Estate Agent, you apply online and hear nothing back about your application.

Lets go over a few tips on what to include in your application if you do not have a rental history to make your application more appealing to the Agent and more importantly Landlord.

Cover Letter
Similarly like applying for a job a short cover letter or email explaining your circumstances can really help when your application is being assessed. Include that you have been saving to move out on your own, how much salary you make, length of employment and even offer to arrange a guarantor for the lease if approved.

References
A reference from your parents about how tidy you kept your room isn’t exactly the type of reference we are talking about here, arrange for your employer to write one about your reliability etc. Family friends or university lectures might be willing to write a personal reference too.

Parental Guarantor
This is the most important of all. In most cases if you have never rented before you may be asked to provide a rental guarantor as this will go along away in securing a rental property as the Agent and Landlord can feel more confident that you will fulfill the conditions of the lease. The person who goes guarantor agrees that if you default on the rent or do not perform to the requirements of the lease that they will also be held liable.

Rent in advance
If you have saved up enough to pay your first months rent and bond and have additional savings left over offer to pay additional rent in advance, this shows the Agent and Landlord that you can manage your finances by saving up a large amounts for this purpose.

Hopefully by following a few of these steps you will be on your way to securing your first rental property and creating your own rental history so that the next time you move you will have a great rental reference behind you.

If you have any thoughts on this topic or would like more information on this please feel free to comment below.

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Getting the rental price right

By | Leasing | No Comments

Part of what we do is appraise properties for lease, explaining to Landlords about the current market conditions, supply and demand and what a fair rental price will be.

If we get the crucial element of price wrong from the start it can be the beginning of a long vacancy period and an unhappy client.

Having recently had success leasing a CBD apartment in less then 7 days, with the lease signed and Tenants moved in it just goes to show that price really does make all the difference.

Price your rental property to high and it will go stale and prospective Tenants will not see the value in your property over other similar ones on the market. It also doesn’t look great when the price is dropped by $5.00 -$10.00 per week and is on the internet too long.

Price it to low and there will be questions over why it is so cheap compared to the others, believe it or not this puts Tenants off just as much as an over priced property.

The key to getting the right price point is researching what is currently available in the immediate area, if it is an apartment block how many are available at the same time. What are the differences? Car space / extra bathroom/ views etc.

Once you have a rough idea of vacancy in the area, look at how long they have been on the market, if it is more than 4 weeks that is a good indication that the property is priced a bit high, so aim at pricing your property slightly less.

Remember to compare apples with apples – as much as you might think your investment property is the best on the market it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Tenants will feel the same so take a step back and be realistic about your asking price and you may be surprised at how quickly it can be leased.

If you would like more information or an appraisal on your investment property please feel free to get in touch.

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Applying for a rental property

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Are you thinking about moving into a new property? Shifting from interstate, overseas or out of home? Then it is a must that you understand how the process works in the state you are in. Being informed of your rights and responsibilities will save you time, money and possible disputes before, during and after your Tenancy period.

Here are some helpful tips to get you ready before you sign your Tenancy Agreement.

Decide on what you need first

Do you need a house or a flat? One bedroom or three? What is your budget? Location is important, if you don’t have a car research how you will access public transport and the distance to local amenities.

Know your rights and duties 

Did you know you have a legal obligation, as a tenant, to have viewed the property before signing a lease? The Residential Tenancies Act covers Victorian rental properties and Consumer Affairs Victoria have published a booklet called “Renting – Your Rights and Responsibilities”. You should receive a copy of this booklet from your Landlord or Agent when you sign the Lease agreement.

Arrange references 

When you find a property you like and want to submit an application, you’ll need to supply referees. It helps to have all their details on hand, and to have sought their approval before providing their details. Referees and References from previous Landlords, employers and bank statements are usually the most commonly asked for.

Understand the rental process

Once you have been approved for a rental property you will be required to pay rent one month in advance and a bond which is normally equivalent to one months rental (sometimes this amount can be higher if the weekly rental is more than $350 per week) the bond is held with the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority and will be refunded at the end of the tenancy if the Lease conditions are met.

You will be required to sign a Residential Tenancy Agreement usually for a period of 12 months however this can vary.     

If you have any questions or would like more information please feel free to contact us or visit the Consumer Affairs website at http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing-and-accommodation/renting

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5 Tips to Prepare your Property for Lease

By | Leasing | No Comments

It’s an exciting and busy time for you. You are looking at renting out your property and finding the right tenant is an extremely important part of the process so lets not forget some of the things that help make the tenant select your property over others and really happy before they move in.

  1. Clean as a Whistle

There is nothing worse than a tenant seeing a dirty house at an open for inspection. This tells the tenant that the landlord doesn’t take much care of the property. As a rule of thumb the tenant is expected to leave the property in the same condition as when they moved in. If it is leased unclean, expect to find it in the same if not worse condition when the tenant vacates. Pay special attention to the kitchen including appliances and the bathrooms (especially the shower screens), always steam clean carpets and leave the receipt with the property manager as the tenant will be required to provide a receipt when they move out too.

If you are time poor speak to your property manager and ask them to arrange a cleaner for you; it will be money well spent.

  1. Repairs and Maintenance

If you have moved out of a property and have decided to lease it, try and address any potential issues that may need repairing. It is often the case that you have put up with the loose cupboards but it doesn’t mean your new tenant will. If you have a vacating tenant, it will be important when undertaking the final inspection to thoroughly review each aspect of the house. Attempt to open all doors, turn on all light switches and repair what is required; or have the vacating tenant attend to it, where possible under the Act.

  1. Services and Utilities

It is a good idea to disconnect the utilities at a property when the occupier has moved out. Don’t forget to request a final reading and turn off the power at the mains, so that it is ready for the new tenant to have it connected in their name.

  1. Insurance Cover

If you haven’t already done so, we always recommend to our landlords to take out property specific Landlord Insurance. This can cover you for such things as malicious damage by the tenant, loss of rental and replacement of fixtures and fittings. All insurance covers vary, so speak with your insurer or property manager about which provider they have worked with in the past to compare policies carefully.

  1. Instructions Booklet and Helpful Hints

We have all been in the situation where we have moved into a new house and can’t work out how to use something. The oven, dishwasher or even the alarm can be a source of frustration and unnecessary phone calls. If you can take the time to write a few simple tips on how to use the appliances, car park entry, alarms etc. this small act will go a long way. Something else tenants will appreciate is a list of local cafes/restaurants that you have tried and would recommend. I’m sure they will love them too and this will hopefully help them to enjoy your area quicker and stay in your property for longer.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of things that you can do to make attracting and keeping the right kind of tenant for your property, but if you start here you can’t go too far wrong. For everything else feel free to contact us.