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Four Tips For New Landlords

By Laura Anderson

If you’re a fledgling landlord, you’d better start doing your research, as a little knowledge can make the process stress free and easy, for even the most inexperienced operator.

Theres a lot to know and a lot to do: you have to keep tenants happy, abide by a number of laws, and maintain the property, all the while ensuring it’s making a decent return as an investment. To get you started, read on for four basic tips to being a brilliant landlord the first time round.

SEEK SAGE ADVICE

It’s recommended that you seek a little help, especially if this is your first experience as a landlord.

Managing and maintaining a property is a large task; near impossible for any investor to shoulder alone. You’ve got to claim tax benefits, select and manage tenants, draw up contracts and maintain the property, amongst several other things.

For that reason it’s recommended that you seek a little help, especially if this is your first experience as a landlord. An accountant can help you make the most of the tax benefits of owning an investment property and a property manager can help decide the best rental price and manage the tenants.

A property manager can give advice on legal matters to do with renting and can draw up any contracts or documents necessary. While you may not need to hire all of the above, a little help will make the process smoother, easier and more successful

KNOW YOUR LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Believe it or not, there’s more to being a landlord than buying a property, filling it up with tenants and watching the money roll in. According to Tenancy Check your basic legal responsibilities as a landlord include:

  • General upkeep of the structure and exterior of the property.
  • Correct installation and safety of all landlord supplied appliances.
  • Ensuring all that all basic installations, such as gas and electricity are safe and in working order.
  • To ensure that the house is a healthy place to live and quickly remedy any issues that compromise this, such as dampness or lack of insulation.
  • To stay within the word of the tenancy agreements at all times.

Additional to these basic essentials there are a number of state specific laws that you also have to observe when renting out your property. These generally include providing the tenants with a state-specific ‘guide to tenancy’. This is to ensure that renters know exactly what the laws are, and what they’re entitled to as tenants of a property.

It’s best to check with your local governing body, or an experienced property manager if you’re unsure of the specific laws in your state.

CONSIDER LANDLORD’S INSURANCE

Most governing bodies dictate that tenants are responsible for fixing any damage that they intentionally cause.

Fair Trading NSW and most other governing bodies dictate that tenants are responsible for fixing any damage that they intentionally cause. However, they won’t foot the bill for unforeseen maintenance costs or weather damage. Also, in the worst case scenario tenants may damage the home, or refuse to pay rent before disappearing in the wind.

If this does occur, the loss in rental income or repair costs may be substantial. To give you an example SQM has reported the average house rental price in the capital cities is $535: you could be losing this amount of income for the entire time it takes to replace your tenants or fix problems.

For a small fee landlord’s insurance will cover these costs ensuring that dodgy tenants, or unfortunate weather don’t jeopardise the success of your investment.

LOOK AFTER YOUR TENANTS

At the end of the day this is the crux of being a decent landlord. It’s essential that you’re readily available to fix problems with the home and make sure that the renters have what they need to live comfortably.

Do so and you’ll be taking care of your investment at the same time, ensuring that everyone benefits from the rental arrangement

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