The landlord/tenant relationship starts with the tenancy agreement, because that’s how both parties know where they stand with regard to the rental property. In the first of a series of articles on how landlords can keep their tenants happy, Baxton Property Management in Hobart stresses what makes this document so important, and why it is vital that it covers all necessary information, plus a few extras.
It doesn’t have to be a document that takes an hour to read. In fact it shouldn’t be. The longer the document is, the more likely it is that at least some information will be skimmed over, possibly missed, and could end up with a dispute between you and the tenant. A short, to the point tenancy agreement is the best option, but it must contain all necessary information. This includes your and your tenants’ legal rights and obligations, the security bond required, the rental and increases, as well as what utilities the tenant will, or won’t, have to pay for.
Are the Legal Requirements Enough?
Standard forms are available that cover all the legal requirements for tenancy agreements in Tasmania, some of which can be customized to include extra factors arising from conversations with your tenant. Or you can simply add a page or two to the agreement which includes these extras. Just be sure you and the tenant sign each page along with the standard part of the lease.
What are the “extras” that should be included? Basically anything that has been questioned or mentioned in conversations with your tenant, or issues that come up frequently in FAQ’s on tenancy websites.
There’s more to a successful rental relationship than just who does or doesn’t pay for the water, and who has to install the smoke alarm. Assuming that tenants simply know what they can and can’t do as a tenant, or even telling them verbally in answer to a question, is not sufficient. Having it in writing can make the difference between an amicable relationship between you and your tenant, and a dispute which is hard to resolve when it’s backed purely by “he said” or “she said”.
Gives and Takes can Make a Difference
The addendum page(s) could cover your stance on pets, noise levels and small maintenance jobs you expect the tenant to carry out, such as keeping the garden tidy and the lawn cut. It could also include things you are prepared to accept, such as your readiness to allow a few holes in the wall if the tenant wants to hang pictures, or a coat of paint on a feature wall. Just be sure to add the proviso that you want to be informed of such activities and that they must be restored to their original condition (and colour) when the tenant vacates.
Some concessions could make all the difference in your tenant’s commitment to keeping the rental in a good condition, as it will increase their feeling of belonging and create personal interest in the property. This, in turn, may also lead to their staying for a longer period which is good news for you.
If the tenant lets you down by failing to restore things to normal when they leave, you do have the protection of being able to apply for part of the security bond to be withheld to cover the costs of filling the small holes and repainting the wall yourself. You can also use that option in the case of other damage to the property that goes beyond being classified as normal wear and tear.
The Benefits of Keeping your Tenant Happy
Long term tenants, provided they are good, are a boon to rental property owners. It alleviates some of the stresses of being a landlord, and prevents the loss of income while the rental stands empty, as well as the costs involved in finding a new tenant. It’s worth considering whether or not a little flexibility regarding that paint and those holes doesn’t pay off in the end.
Through its experience managing a billion dollars in investment properties, Baxton Property Management in Hobart knows the importance of getting the landlord/tenant relationship off to a clear and professional start. For more information on property management, and the services Baxton offers, visit the Baxton website.
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