There’s more to being a landlord than just providing a property and raking in the income. In fact, it can be pretty hard work. Landlords in Hobart have to be very aware of what the law requires of them, and the Tasmanian Government sums this up in a 24-page booklet.
As property managers in Hobart, we’re going to try to boil this down even further to give you an overview of what you’d need to do if you try DIY letting. Of course, if you choose Baxton, we do all or most of it on your behalf, but you might still be interested to know what requirements we need to fulfil when managing your property.
The Lease Agreement
The first obligation you face is that of reaching an agreement with your tenant. You can decide to enter into a verbal contract, but if you do so, you place yourself at risk. The lease agreement should be compliant with the Residential Tenancy Act (1997). This law tells you what you can and cannot stipulate in the lease and how the information should be presented. After you and your tenant have signed the agreement, you must give your tenant a copy along with the booklet that explains the terms of the Act.
It’s worth remembering that the lease is an agreement that both you and your tenant must abide by. Just as your tenant must live up to its contents, so do you. There are legal ways to get out of a lease agreement in certain circumstances, but it’s a complicated business.
As the property owner, you’re responsible for making sure that the property meets certain minimum standards. Some of these are very obvious. For example, the property must have a proper toilet, hot and cold-water supply, and electricity. As you’d expect, it must be weatherproof and in a good state of repair with lockable doors. But there are a few details you may not know about, and these include:
- Provision of cooking facilities
- Curtains or other window-coverings for living areas
- Heating in the main living area (open fireplaces don’t count)
- Adequate ventilation
The rules for adequate ventilation specify everything from how big windows should be to how far they should be able to open. You must also ensure that the property has legally compliant smoke alarms, although maintaining these are the tenants’ responsibility once they’ve taken occupancy. However, if the smoke alarms become faulty, it is once again the landlord’s responsibility to have them repaired or replaced.
Unless a tenant breaks something deliberately or through negligence, maintaining the property at or near the condition it was in when the tenant moved in is the landlord’s responsibility. Although some tasks are pretty routine and don’t have to be rushed (you have 28 days), others are classed as “urgent” and must be attended to without any delay.
Sometimes, tenants don’t even notice a problem until there is major damage, so regular inspections are a big help in minimizing your maintenance costs.
Property Managers in Hobart Make Living up to Your Legal Obligations Easy
In this article, we’ve merely outlined your responsibilities as a landlord. There’s a lot of detail we haven’t included. If it already sounds like hard work, we can assure you that it is! But it doesn’t have to fall to you. Baxton Property Management takes care of your property, your tenants, and your interests within the legal framework that governs rentals in Hobart.
If you’re investigating the possibility of renting out your property, talk to us first. We’ll help you to maximise your returns. All you need to do is give us your authorisation and wait for your rental income to start rolling in.
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