All new tenants will always have a list of questions they want to ask. Some questions are more common than others so here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about tenancy:
What information is required when applying for a rental property?
In order to be considered as a prospective tenant, you will need to fill out an application or offer form. This is usually handled by the property manager and must be accompanied by sufficient identification (100 points) which can be made up of a combination of documents such as a passport or driver's licence, a birth certificate, Medicare or private health card, bank card and student photo ID card. The application must also be accompanied by personal information as well as contactable character and/or professional referees.
What happens once I've signed the lease agreement?
The lease agreement is an important legally binding document and it contains all the terms and conditions of the tenancy. It's essential that tenants understand their rights and responsibilities, so the lease agreement should be clearly understood and a copy retained by the tenant.
Once you've signed the lease and received your keys, you should obtain a receipt for any payments you have made (such as the bond, first weeks rent). The property manager should also give you a property condition report, information for tenants and anything else important.
What is a property condition report?
This is a written report on the status of the property which details every aspect of the condition of the property. Tenants should receive two copies at the start of the tenancy and should return a signed copy (with any amendments) to theproperty manager within seven days. This document serves as the basis for future inspections and will be used to determine whether any damages are claimable at the termination of the lease.
What's the process with regards to connecting utilities?
It's the tenant's responsibility to contact a utility supplier of their choice (gas and electricity) and set up their own accounts. As a tenant, you are also responsible for paying for all of your water usage. With regards to a telephone, the owner does not have to provide a telephone line and if the tenant wants a landline or to set up wireless internet, it is their responsibility to arrange connection if there isn't one already in place. When you vacate the premises, you are also responsible for having these services terminated and the accounts finalised.
Are pets allowed?
Pets aren't allowed on the property unless approved by the landlord. If a pet has been approved then your pets will be noted on your lease agreement.
How often do inspections take place?
The first inspection is generally scheduled six weeks after you've moved in, with routine inspections usually taking place ever quarter thereafter. The property manager or landlord should give you 7-14 days' notice and although you aren't required to be present, the landlord needs to give the appropriate notice.
What happens if I don't pay my rent on time?
Failure to pay rent on time constitutes a breach of the lease and the landlord or property managermay issue a formal breach notice. If you don't rectify the fault, then a termination notice may be issued which gives you seven days to get all payments up to date. As mentioned earlier, a lease agreement is a legally binding contract so any breaches constitute a breach of the law.
Can I break the lease?
Breaking the lease can be quite an expensive process and isn't generally recommended. However, if you decide on early termination of your lease, there are two options open to you. You can either pay out the remainder of your lease or continue paying the rent until the property has been leased to another party. However, it's important to understand that you can be liable for any advertising or re-letting costs.
What happens when repairs or maintenance needs to be done?
You should report any urgent maintenance immediately (such as a water leak, gas leak, fire or burglary). This should be done even if the problem has occurred after hours. Any non-urgent repairs or maintenance (such as a dripping tap, damaged gutter) should be reported during business hours and remember, even minor maintenance should be reported so that the property is kept in optimum condition.
What happens when I want to vacate the property?
If the lease is month-by-month, then a minimum of 21 days' written notice is required. For a fixed lease, the terms will be in the lease agreement but it is generally accepted that as much notice as possible is given.
What are the vacating procedures?
Once you have given written notice of your intention to vacate, then you will receive a letter from the property manager or landlord which details procedures such as how to clean the property. You need to leave the home in the same condition that it was in at the start of your tenancy, using the condition report and inventory as a checklist.
Once the final inspection has been done, you will get your bond back (minus any costs for any work or repairs that were required).
When you rent a property through an established property management firm like Time Conti Sheffield, they will handle all aspects of the tenancy and their proven procedures make it easy for both the tenant and the landlord. If you have any questions about renting a property or if you want to find out more about property management in Perth, you should give them a call on 08 9362 5333 or visit their website, www.timeconti.com.au which has a wealth of relevant information about all aspects of property rental.