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If you think attracting and keeping tenants is all about the glitz and glamour of your rental property, you might be wasting your time and money. It might be both cheaper and more effective to focus on removing the less-glamorous issues and problems tenants’ claim they encounter too often. According to Baxton Property Management in Hobart, the bugbears Australian tenants say mar their tenancies most often, don’t include the absence of those fancy touches. Instead they lie in tenancy issues and niggling maintenance problems.
According to the “Unsettled” report issued by consumer advocate Choice, the National Association of Tenants’ Organisations and the National Shelter NGO, one of the major issues facing Australian tenants is a fundamental insecurity caused by short leases which force them to move around constantly. Adding to their discomfort is the high chance that not everything in the premises works as it should, and the landlord’s reluctance to carry out repairs when necessary. Tenants taking part in the “Unsettled” survey said they lived with the fear of eviction and blacklisting should they complain, so often chose to ignore the situation instead
The survey showed that most of the issues tenants had with their rentals shared a common theme. Many of the issues raised were clearly the responsibility of the owner in terms of Tasmanian regulations on tenancy, but all fall within the tenant’s legal obligations if they caused or created the problem.
Bugs in the system: Influxes of pests like cockroaches, moths, and ants are hard to eliminate and when there are no flyscreens on windows, the problem becomes worse. Allocating the responsible for dealing with these unwelcome guests isn’t always clear, with some tenancy agreements including all pest control as the tenant’s responsibility. However, the general picture in Tasmania is that those that pests there because of the tenant’s activities, are their responsibility, but those entering from the outside land the responsibility for their departure on the landlord.
Fighting mould: The responsibility for getting rid of mould falls in a similar category to pest control. Basically, if a tenant doesn’t keep damp areas like showers and bathrooms clean, dry and ventilated, they may end up having to get rid of the mould themselves. But if it is of structural nature, responsibility falls on the landlord.
Things that don’t work: Doors or windows that don’t close properly and locks that don’t work – that’s definitely the landlord’s problem in Tasmania, as these would affect the security of the premises.
If the common complaint from tenants about key appliances that don’t work refers to items like stovetops or ovens, these classify as part of the new minimum requirements regarding rental premises. These repairs should be done within 14 days if they affect the tenant’s ability to cook.
Temperature control: Being able to keep the property warm (or cool) is also part of the legal minimum requirements for the amenities all rental premises should include.
Leaks or flooding: This is apparently a common problem, and it’s not one the landlord should want you to ignore for fear of his or her reaction or any penalties like refusal to renew the lease or eviction. It classifies as an emergency repair because in addition to immediate damage, the situation can worsen and contribute to further damage and the ultimate deterioration of the premises. A tenant is obliged to notify the landlord as soon as possible.
Regular maintenance problems like peeling paint or tiles coming off the walls, is also an annoyance and spoils the tenants’ comfort and enjoyment of the premises. This falls within the obligations of the landlord, owner or the property management, to keep the premises in the same state of repair it was in when the tenant took occupation.
Baxton Property Management reminds tenants in Hobart that they have unique protection from the courts in Tasmania against being evicted without a valid reason. Tasmania is the only Australian state to have this clause in its tenancy laws. For more information about rental properties, and tenancy rules and regulations, follow the blogs on the Baxton website.
Written and syndicated by
– Baxton Media.
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The information contained in this article is based on the authors opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.
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