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4 Tips for New Landlords

By Jemma Wood

When becoming a Landlord there is a lot to know and a lot to do; from keeping tenants happy, abiding by a number of laws and maintaining the property while ensuring it’s making a decent return as an investment. A little knowledge can make the process stress free and easy for even the most inexperienced operator. To get you started, read on for four basic tips to being a brilliant landlord the first time round.

SEEK SAGE ADVICE
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 the above reasons it is recommended that you seek a little help, especially if this is your first experience as a landlord. A property manager can help decide the best rental price and manage the tenants and an accountant can help you make the most of the tax benefits of owning an investment property.

A little help from a property manager when it comes to advice on legal matters and legislation to do with renting can make the process smoother, easier and more successful.

KNOW YOUR LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES
There is more to being a landlord than buying a property, filling it 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.

There are also 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 are entitled to as tenants.

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

CONSIDER LANDLORD INSURANCE 

Tenants are responsible for fixing any damage that they intentionally cause. However, they are not responsible for any unforeseen maintenance costs or weather damage caused to the property. 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 rentfind.com.au has reported that the average house rental price in Brisbane is $420; you could be losing this amount of income for the entire time it takes to replace your tenants or fix problems.

For a small cost 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 most important part 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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