Landlord Information

Protecting & Maximising Your Investment.
It’s important to understand the process and be well informed about being a landlord in NSW. There are a range of procedures at a start of a tenancy, during a tenancy and ending a tenancy that both landlords and tenants should be familiar with. If you are unsure about an aspect of the process, it is always best to refer to Fair Trading NSW.

STARTING A TENANCY

NEW TENANT CHECKLIST

At the start of every tenancy, the agent or landlord (if you are self-managing) must give your new tenant a copy of a Fair Trading publication called the New tenant checklist. This fact sheet contains important information to be aware of before signing a new tenancy agreement. The agent or landlord (if you are self-managing) need to also provide a copy of the tenancy agreement, an invitation to lodge the bond, keys to your new home and two copies of the premises condition report one of which should be returned (to agent or landlord).

For further information regarding “New Tenant Checklist” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/starting-a-tenancy/new-tenant-checklist

DISCRIMINATION WHEN RENTING

Landlords and agents have the right to choose the most suitable applicant for the property but are not allowed to unfairly discriminate. In NSW, it is against the law to discriminate against: race, sex, pregnancy, martial status, disability, homosexuality, age or transgender. If the landlord or agent does not want smokers, tenants with poor tenancy history or people who have had an issue with rent payments, this is not against the law.

For further information regarding “Buying into a Strata Scheme” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/starting-a-tenancy/discrimination-when-renting

TENANCY DATABASES

Tenancy databases are used by agents to screen prospective tenants. At Richard Matthews Real Estate we are a member of TICA which is Australia’s largest tenancy database. This is just one of the tools we use in our selection process to find our landlords the best tenant for their property. Tenancy databases hold information about tenants. These databases are also referred to as ‘blacklists’ or ‘bad tenant databases’.

The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 sets out who, when, and why a person can be listed.

For further information regarding “Tenancy Databases” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/starting-a-tenancy/tenancy-databases

TENANCY AGREEMENTS

A residential tenancy agreement, also known as a lease, is an agreement between a landlord and the tenant to live in your property in return for rent. It is a legal contract that sets out the terms and conditions of the arrangement.

  • FIXED TERM AGREEMENTS: A fixed-term agreement is used for a period of time with a specific end date. For example, 6 or 12 months.
  • PERIODIC (CONTINUING) AGREEMENT: A periodic or continuing agreement has no specific end date. If a fixed-term agreement ends and a new lease isn’t signed, the tenant will automatically move to a periodic agreement.

For further information regarding “Tenancy Agreements” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/starting-a-tenancy/completing-a-tenancy-agreement

CONDITION REPORTS

A condition report records the general condition of the property on a room-by-room basis including fixtures and fittings. The report should be filled out with as much detail and accuracy as possible. If there is a dispute about missing items or damage, the report can be used as evidence. A condition report must be filled out before the tenant moves in.

For further information regarding “Condition Reports” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/starting-a-tenancy/filling-out-a-condition-report

TAKING A BOND

Money paid by the tenant at the start of a tenancy agreement is called a rental bond. All bonds must be lodged with Fair Trading. A rental bond cannot be more than four weeks’ rent. This is paid at the start of the tenancy and applies to all NSW rental properties, whether furnished or unfurnished.

For further information regarding “Taking A Bond” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/starting-a-tenancy/taking-a-bond 

DURING A TENANCY

GETTING REPAIRS DONE

It is a tenant’s responsibility to make sure the property is in good condition when they move in, taking into account the age of the property and the amount of rent they pay. If something breaks down, leaks or needs fixing, the tenant should contact the agent or landlord (if self-managing) as soon as possible.

If the issue isn’t urgent, the tenants needs to make the repair request in writing and state what needs fixing.The tenant is responsible for minor updates including: replacing light bulbs, changing the smoke detector batteries, cleaning windows, dusting, removing cobwebs and routine garden maintenance such as watering, mowing and weeding.

If there is an urgent repair, you need to notify the landlord or agent right away and arrangements will be made as soon as possible.

URGENT REPAIRS INCLUDE:

  • a burst water service or a serious water service leak
  • a blocked or broken toilet
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
  • a failure or breakdown of the hot water service
  • a failure or breakdown of the stove or oven
  • a failure or breakdown of a heater or air-conditioner
  • a fault or damage which makes the premises unsafe or insecure.

For further information regarding “Getting Repairs Done” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/getting-repairs-done

PAYING WATER CHARAGES

In NSW, the landlord can only ask a tenant to pay water usage charges if the minimum criteria have been met.

The minimum criteria for passing on water usage charges are:

  • the rental premises must be individually metered (or water is delivered by vehicle), and
  • the charges must not exceed the amount billed for water usage by the water supplier, and
  • the rental premises must meet required ‘water efficiency’ standards.

For further information regarding “Paying Water Charges & Water Efficiency Standards” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/paying-water-charges

PESTS & PEST CONTROL

There is a general guide to show who is responsible when an infestation occurs. Please see link below to be directed to what the Landlord’s responsibility is and what the Tenants responsibility is regarding pest control.

For further information regarding “Pests & Pest Control” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/pests-and-vermin

PRIVACY WHEN RENTING

Tenants have the right to privacy when renting. A landlord, agent or anybody else acting on their behalf can enter the property if the correct notice is provided. The appropriate notice required depends on the reason for entry. For Example: to gain access to inspect smoke alarms an agent needs to provide at least two days notice. For the complete table of reasons and notice, see link below. It is an offence for a landlord or someone on their behalf to enter the premises without following the correct procedures.

For further information regarding “Privacy When Renting” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/privacy-when-renting

SAFETY & SECURITY

Safety and security in a rented property is mainly in relation to window and balcony safety, swimming pools and spas, smoke alarms, fire safety, gas water heaters, locks and security devices and rainwater tanks.

For further information regarding “Safety & Security” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/safety-and-security

NON-PAYMENT OF RENT

If the tenant is a few days late in paying rent, the agent will usually send them a reminder or get in touch with them. If the tenant falls more than 14 days behind with the rent, you can serve them with a termination notice giving them 14 days to vacate the property. There is a certain procedure your agent will follow when addressing this situation. A landlord and tenant can also agree to a suitable repayment plan for the outstanding rent to be paid over a certain period of time on top of the normal rent. It is always best to discuss options with your agent as each case is different.

For further information regarding “Non-Payment Of Rent” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/non-payment-of-rent

RENT INCREASES

If the fixed term period of the agreement has ended and the tenant is on a continuing (periodic) tenancy you can increase the rent. Before any rent increase can take effect, you must give the tenant at least 60 days notice in writing. Always consult with your agent about an appropriate rent increase based on the current market and the best discuss options.

For further information regarding “Rent Increases” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/rent-increases

SERVING NOTICE

The amount of notice you need to give depends on the circumstance. Different notice periods apply when a notice is served:

  • from a tenant to end the tenancy agreement
  • from a landlord to end the tenancy agreement
  • to increase rent
  • to access the premises to carry out an inspection

Consult your agent if you are in a situation when one of the above apply and they will guide you and assist you in how to serve notice based on your reason.

For further information regarding “Serving Notice” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/serving-notice

MAKING ALTERATIONS

From time to time, a tenant may wish to add to the comfort or security of the property by making minor changes at their own expense. It is important that the proper process is followed otherwise action can be taken for breaching the terms of the lease.

A tenant must first seek the landlord’s written consent before a tenant can add a fixture or make any renovation, alteration or addition to the premises. A tenant can make this request in writing to their agent. It is best to put it in writing so there is a record of the request.

For further information regarding “Making Alterations” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/making-alterations

RENTAL PAYMENTS

Your residential tenancy agreement sets out the terms for how much rent you need to pay, how often and for how long.When a tenant signs a tenancy agreement, the agent or landlord (self-managing) can only ask for 4 weeks rent as bond (to be paid to rental bonds online) and 2 weeks rent in advance.

Payments of regular rent might be required weekly, monthly or fortnightly. An agent has rental ledgers available as records or payments. If a landlord is self-managing they must provide the tenant with receipts. Every person named as a tenant on the residential tenancy agreement are legally responsible to pay the rent.

If a tenancy is separately metered the tenant can expect to pay electricity, gas, telephone, internet and water usage (unless the residential tenancy agreement includes certain utilities). Any rental payment that a tenant makes cannot be used by the landlord or agent to cover the cost of anything other than rent.

For further information regarding “Rental Payments” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/during-a-tenancy/rental-payments

ENDING A TENANCY

WHEN ENDING A TENANCY

To end your tenancy you will need to give written notice to the landlord, agent or tenant. The notice period required is different depending on the situation. For different situations of either a landlord or tenant ending a tenancy and the amount notice needed, see link below. These notice periods are designed to give tenants, landlords and agents reasonable time.

For further information regarding “Ending A Tenancy” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/ending-a-tenancy

MAKING A BOND CLAIM

If the tenant owes the landlord money after the tenancy ends, the agent/landlord can make a claim against the tenant’s bond.

The main reasons a claim can be made against the bond are:

  • unpaid rent
  • the reasonable cost of repairing damage to the premises, beyond fair wear and tear
  • unpaid water usage charges, so long as you had requested payment within 3 months of receiving the bill
  • any ‘break fee’ or other charges payable as a result of the tenant breaking the tenancy agreement early
  • the reasonable cost of cleaning any part of the premises not left reasonably clean, having regard to how clean the premises were at the start of the tenancy
  • the reasonable cost of having the barrel of the locks changed or other security devices replaced, if the tenant has failed to return all keys and security devices they were given.

There may be other legitimate reasons for making a claim against the tenant’s bond, including the cost of disposing of goods left behind by the tenant.

Fair wear and tear refers to the deterioration that occurs over time. A tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear. The tenant is only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.

For further information regarding “Making A Bond Claim” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/ending-a-tenancy/making-a-bond-claim

GOODS LEFT BEHIND

Tenants are responsible for ensuring that all of their belongings are removed from the premises at the end of the tenancy. If goods are left behind, agents/landlords must ensure they follow the correct process.

For further information regarding “Goods Left Behind” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/ending-a-tenancy/goods-left-behind

TENANTS GETTING THEIR BOND BACK

Before a tenant leaves and hand back the keys, they should contact the agent/landlord to arrange a mutually agreeable time to do the final inspection. This is where you both go over the property to see if there is any damage or anything that needs cleaning.

If the agent raises something that is minor, you may be able to deal with it on the spot. The official condition report needs to be completed at this inspection. If you do not owe the landlord or agent money at the end of your tenancy, the bond that the tenant paid at the beginning of the tenancy should be refunded in full. If the agent believes the tenant owes money, they are able to make a claim against the tenants bond.

The main reasons a claim may be lodged against a tenants bond are:

  • if you still owe any rent or have unpaid water usage bills
  • if you broke the lease early and have not paid the break fee or other compensation payable
  • if you didn’t hand back all the copies of the keys you were given and the locks needed to be changed
  • if you caused damage or did not leave the premises in a reasonably clean condition, compared to the original condition report, apart from ‘fair wear and tear’.

This is not an exhaustive list. There may be other legitimate reasons for the landlord or agent to make a claim against a tenants bond.

A tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear to the premises. Fair wear and tear means the deterioration that occurs over time with the use of the premises even when the premises receives reasonable care and maintenance. A tenant are only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.

For further information regarding “Tenants Getting Their Bond Back” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/ending-a-tenancy/getting-your-bond-back

BREAKING A LEASE EARLY

When a tenant signs a fixed term tenancy lease they are committing to stay for the full term. If their circumstances change and they want to move out before the end of the fixed term, there could be potential costs involved for the tenant. A tenant should contact their agent as soon as possible to give as much notice as they can. The tenants should also discuss with their agent what fees or compensation are involved in breaking their lease.

For further information regarding “Breaking A Lease” in NSW please click link below:

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/renting/ending-a-tenancy/breaking-a-lease-early