Property Management FAQ's
- 1. Can I Pass On Water Consumption Costs To My Tenant?
- 2. What Are Owners & Tenants Obligations In Regards to Smoke Alarm Servicing?
- 3. How Often Are Routine Maintenance Inspections Conducted?
- 4. Should I Consider Tenants Who Have Pets Or Are Smokers?
- 5. How Are Lease Renewals & Rent Reviews Handled?
- 6. How Are Maintenance Issues Handled?
- 7. What Building, Public Liability & Landlord Protection Insurances Are Required or Recommended?
- 8. Are There Additional Charges For Council Rates, Water & Sewerage Rates, Body Corporate Levies & General Maintenance Invoice Payments?
- 9. How much notice do I need to give to terminate a management agreement (or POA Form 6) with my current agent?
1. Can I Pass On Water Consumption Costs To My Tenant?
The Residential Tenancies & Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRAA) allows owners to pass on water consumption costs to their tenants. Certain criteria under the RTRAA must be met before full water consumption charges can be recovered from the tenants. Click on this link (RTA Water Charging Fact Sheet) for the RTA Fact Sheet for further information regarding water charges or alternatively contact our office and talk to a Property Manager. Tenants have one month to pay a water consumption invoice. According to a recent statement released by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) and based on case studies from QCAT hearings, tenants can only be asked to pay for water charges for the current quarter. To cover administration costs, James Dean Residential charges owners a ""Tenant Invoice Collection Fee" of 7.7% inc GST óf the water consumption invoice total.
Important Note - Charges may be applicable for making properties water complaint. Ongoing additional charges for water meter readings at the beginning and end of tenancies may also be applicable to establish the actual amounts of water used by the tenants throughout their tenancy. Owners are liable for the initial payment of the council water and sewerage rates. Water and sewerage access charges and sewerage rates are not recoverable from tenants.^ back to top
2. What Are Owners & Tenants Obligations In Regards to Smoke Alarm Servicing?
Both owners and tenants have obligations in relation to smoke alarms in rental properties. In brief, owners have an obligation to ensure a working smoke detector is installed on each level of the property and that it is tested and cleaned within 30 days of a tenancy agreement commencing (this include renewals). There are also minimum requirements in relation to the types of smoke alarms which need to be installed depending on the age of your property. For further information about legislation and minimum requirements on smoke alarms (click here). Tenants are obligated to replace any batteries in smoke alarms which are flat or may be going flat throughout their tenancy as well as test and clean each smoke alarm every 12 months. If tenants believe that a smoke alarm is faulty, they must report this to the agent immediately for further assessment. It is illegal for anyone to interfere with a smoke alarm unless they are replacing the alarm or battery. For more information relating to smoke alarm obligations in tenancies on click this link for the RTA Fact Sheet (RTA Smoke Alarm Fact Sheet).^ back to top
3. How Often Are Routine Maintenance Inspections Conducted?
James Dean Residential carry out routine maintenance inspections three months after a new tenant takes possession of a property and once every four months thereafter. Owners are welcome to attend these inspections however arrangements must be made well in advance given our tight schedule and the number of inspections we conduct each week. After the inspection is completed, you will receive a written report outlining the general condition of the property and any issues that are noted along with some digital photos for your reference.^ back to top
4. Should I Consider Tenants Who Have Pets Or Are Smokers?
Owners have the option of choosing whether or not they will consider applications from prospective tenants who either have pets and/or are smokers. While this is personal decision each owner will make in relation to their own situation, you should keep in mind your decision regarding these options could potentially greatly affect the rentabilty, the price you are able to achieve for your property and how long the property sits on the market. The benefits of considering tenants with pets and/or smokers can greatly improve the rentability and rental price while minimising vacancy factors however due to the nature of the options, can also potentially increase risk in the event of a problem. To help minimise your risk, we include relevant special conditions in all tenancy agreements which outline the tenants responsibilities, should you choose tenants who have pets and /or smoke. At James Dean Residential, we understand that allowing pets and/or smokers in your rental proeprty is a subjective and personal matter and therefore recommend that you discuss your personal situation with in further detail before listing your property for rent.^ back to top
5. How Are Lease Renewals & Rent Reviews Handled?
We recommend to all owners that their tenants are always on fixed term tenancies where possible. Periodic or "month by month" tenancies give owners little protection from unexpected vacancies as tenants are only required to give two weeks written notice prior to vacating. This often does not allow enough time for new tenants to be secured prior to the property becoming vacant. Rent reviews are carried out by our Property Managers prior to the expiry of each tenancy agreement. When calculating the current market rent, we consider such things like current comparable market prices, availabilities, trends and increases in other costs such as insurance and council rates etc which may affect the rental price. After calculating the market price for your property, we will contact you to discuss this further as well as provide you with recommendations on the renewal of your lease, for your consideration and further instructions. Once your instructions are received, we will execute these on your behalf.^ back to top
6. How Are Maintenance Issues Handled?
If a maintenance issue arises at your property during the tenancy, the tenants are required to advise us of the problem in writing. Upon receipt of a maintenance request, we will contact you to discuss the matter further, provide you with options and arrange the repairs as per your instructions. In the event of an emergency, we will still try to contact you in the first instance however use a common scence approach to handling the matter on your behalf if you are not contactable immediately. Once the work to rectify the maintenance issues has been completed, the invoice will be sent to our office by the relevant contractor and this will be deducted from your rental account. A copy of the invoice will also be included with your next statement for tax purposes. Owners can track maintenance progress online via the PropertyMe owner portal.
Note - If you have preferred contractors that you prefer using , you should make this clear at the commencement of your management with our office.
7. What Building, Public Liability & Landlord Protection Insurances Are Required or Recommended?
Building insurance and legal liability (also know as public liability) insurance on your investment property is compulsory. Under the terms of a management agreement you are required to have sufficient building insurance to cover your property and a minimum of $10M for legal liability insurance. While not compulsory, the appropriate landlord protection insurance (LPP) for loss of rent and malicious damage should be strongly considered by each owner. In the event of a default by a tenant, building insurances generally will not cover owners for loss of rent or damage caused by tenants, which can result in the owner being hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket in most cases. Specially designed LPP insurances are available for increased owners protection in the event of a default for a competitive price which is also tax deductable. The questions you need to ask yourself is, can you afford not to have it? Terri Scheer Insurance and MGA Insurance are two companies who have comprehensive policies available for landlords. Contact your current insurer for further information or alternatively, we can send you additional information upon request.^ back to top
8. Are There Additional Charges For Council Rates, Water & Sewerage Rates, Body Corporate Levies & General Maintenance Invoice Payments?
At James Dean Residential, our standard management fees include the processing of any invoice payments which we receive in relation to your rental property. Invoices, once received are deducted from your account and are itemised on your mid monthly and/or monthly statements. For taxation purposes, copies of the relevant paid invoices will be attached to your statements. James Dean Residential cleints/owners can also access and download previous statement, property related documents like tenancy agreements, invoices etc via the online PropertyMe owner portal, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
At the end of each financial year, we issue all owners with an end of financial year statement which outlines all income and expenditure (expenses do not include payments made directly by an owner) for the financial year at no additional charge.
We can arrange for payments of general maintenance invoices, council rates, water and sewerage rates, body corporate levies as well as land taxes and other most costs associated with your rental property if authorised at no additional cost to you. Authorisation to deduct these invoices from your account is commonly provided to us through the Management Agreement at the commencement of a management. Your instructions regarding processing payments from your account to us can be updated at any time throughout the management provided they are submitted to us in writing.
Note - In relation to council rates, water and sewerage rates and body corporate levies which include discounts for accounts paid by the due date, we guarantee to pay these accounts on your behalf by the due dates to ensure that you get the relevant discounts. In the event that there are insufficient funds in your account to make payment by the due date, we will contact you prior to the due date to arrange for a funds transfer to be sent to us to ensure that the account is paid to ensure that you qualify for the discount. In the event that we fail to either contact you for a funds transfer or make payment before the due date, we guarantee to pay the additional interest amount on your behalf so that you are not out of pocket.
IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING WATER & SEWERAGE RATES - If we are authorised to deduct the water and sewerage rates from your account and you have made your property water compliant which allows you to pass on the water consumptions costs to the tenants (or charge for excess water usage only), we will automatically issue the tenants with an invoice requiring them reimburse you for the water consumptions costs for that quarter. Owners who pay their water & sewerage accounts directly, must send us a copy of the water rates notice at their earliest convenience if they intend to pass the water consumptions costs to the tenants. According to a recent statement released by the RTA, tenants can only be asked to pay for water charges for the current quarter. Due to the differing instructions for water charging we receive from individual owners, we do not issue reminders to owners to send through water rates accounts for reimbursement.^ back to top
9. How much notice do I need to give to terminate a management agreement (or POA Form 6) with my current agent?
On 1 December 2014, the Property Occupants Act 2014 (POA) replaced the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (PAMD). One of the key legislative changes between these Acts was the reduction in the amount of time parties to the agreement had to give to terminate the management agreement. The Property Occupations Act 2014 now only requires parties to give a maximum of 30 days notice to terminate an agreement however this can be reduced to a lesser period if both parties agree to the reduced period. If a lesser period cannot be agreed to, 30 days notice is required. Important Note - The termination notice period in the Property Occupants Act 2014 is not retrospective to agreements signed under the previous Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act . Therefore if you have a signed agreement with an agent which was entered prior to the change in Acts, the termination notice period under the old Act is still 90 days (however this can be negotiated to a period no less than 30 days if both parties agree).^ back to top