Getting ready for tenants for the first time requires a little more effort than placing an ad. You can choose to manage your own rental property or to select a real estate agency to manage the property for you. Either way as the owner and/or landlord you have legal responsibilities which are mandated by the state or territory where your rental property is located.
Legislation, while similar, does vary slightly in each state and territory in Australia. See our 6 Essential Must Knows for First Time Private Landlords for information and links to legislation relating to rental properties.
“You can tell by the pictures in the rental ad whether the property is in good repair. I know if the landlord advertises the property showing it is unclean and items are broken or needing repair, that I am not going to enjoy living in that home and that the landlord probably doesn’t care about maintaining their property!”
Before a property is rented for the first time or when it is vacant while you wait for new tenants, there is an opportunity for you to check if repairs are needed. Every home requires maintenance, just because the home is a rental doesn’t mean it won’t require maintenance. Normal wear and tear happens, so it’s best to fix it as soon as possible to reduce further costs and to help to attract tenants who will continue to look after your property. If you respect your property, they should respect it too.
And on a more serious note, if you know about a required repair or dangerous situation in your rental property and you ignore it, and if a tenant is injured, as the owner and/or landlord you could be found negligent and liable for costs. For peace of mind, it’s best to get all serious repairs fixed to avoid possible law suits in the future.
Rental repairs checklist
Here’s some suggestions to help you identify and prioritise repairs to your rental property.
Check the rental comprehensively for repairs both internally and externally.
Make a list of all repairs.
Categorise the repairs as mandatory or minor repairs.
Organise professional service/tradespeople to undertake the mandatory repairs including electrical, sewerage, plumbing, roofing, gas, pool fencing and/or structural repairs (decks, balconies, cracks, steps, driveways, etc.) which represent a safety hazard to tenants or anyone else entering or leaving the property.
Fix the minor repairs or hire a handyperson. While minor repairs may not be mandatory, not fixing them may turn off prospective tenants. For example, damaged kitchen/bathroom drawers, broken wardrobe hangers/shelves/doors, windors/exterior doors that don’t close or lock properly, broken fly screens, heavily stained carpet, broken garage doors, etc.
If a mandatory repair can’t be fixed before you plan to show the rental to prospective tenants, have the appropriate people booked to fix it and ensure you inform tenants when the repair will be made. The repair should be identified in the new lease.
Inspect for insects, get the pest inspectors in to deal with any issues with ants, cockroaches, termites or rodents. Nothing more off putting to potential tenants than seeing live cockroaches int he shower basin while inspecting the property!
Mould is common in laundries, bathrooms and damp areas. Mould needs to be removed as it is a health hazard to tenants and their visitors. Legislation exists regarding mould so make sure you remove it appropriately and repair and/or repaint the affect area using an appropriate mould resistant paint.
New legislation affecting smoke alarms and their maintenance means that is it critical for you to have these inspected and updated. Ensure a professional electrician checks the smoke alarms are appropriate and operating correctly.
Maximise rental income
Of course, it isn’t cost effective to spend thousands of dollars on improvements when trying to maximise your rental income. But if you do some of the upgrades yourself, shop around for second hand items/appliances, shop at auctions, etc. you may be able to reduce the costs of the improvements you decide to implement. It’s about focusing on what is going to have the biggest impact for your investment.
“I like properties that have been freshly painted. It is so nice to move into a clean smelling property. It’s almost as good as moving into a new home.”
If your rental doesn’t compare favourably with the other rentals available at the same time on the market, then it is going to sit unoccupied, reducing your actual earnings.
Maximising rental income checklist
Research a few rental properties like your rental property in the suburb and observe the weekly rent, size, condition and additional features each property offers. Start searching rental properties in your suburb now on RentEzy.
Tip: check out your state or territories’ rental tenancy authority. For example in Queensland the RTA has a page for searching the median rent in a postcode for different types of dwellings.
Compare your rental property with the comparable properties, look for any opportunity to maximise your rental income which will give you the best return in the long run. Improvements to the kitchen and bathroom/s will have the greatest impact. Use our compare rentals feature to compare two or more properties. Start by searching rentals and then selecting the compare icon for each rental property you want to review. Open the compare page once you have selected two or more rentals to compare.
An easy way to give your property the look of a new or modern home is to:
repaint all the home if it is looking tired, or prioritise the kitchen and bathroom, then the living areas and lastly the bedrooms
update kitchen and bathroom/s consider if tiles/backsplashes could be painted or need to be replaced, replace old benchtops to give a fresh look, and consider changing rusted or broken tap wear
replace old worn out carpet with new carpet or alternative more durable flooring
change old fashion door handles, wardrobe handles, kitchen drawer handles to give a modern/updated look
change door handles, wardrobe handles, kitchen drawer handles
replace old worn out carpet with new carpet or alternative more durable flooring
replace old and stained light fittings with new fittings and consider adding additional lighting in dark rooms
add a sky light in dark hallways or rooms with limited natural sunlight
upgrade old and inefficient appliances and consider adding one new appliance (e.g. a dryer)
install ceiling fans or an air conditioner (look for second-hand appliances to save costs) in bedrooms
look for any areas where more storage or parking options can be added
upgrade the security (e.g. add deadlock to the front and or back door, add security screens to a door or window especially if entrance is on the ground floor).
Look for opportunities to tidy up the exterior of the property:
gurney stained and dirty driveways, paths and the outside of the property
mulch, weed and remove dead plants
returf dead lawn areas or fetilise to improve growth, alternatively replace with gravel or mulch
get outside windows cleaned (above ground floor)
trim bushes and trees blocking the entrance or view of the front door.
It’s worth investing a little to attract the right tenant who will love living in your property and want to stay, giving you and the tenant security of tenure.
A final thought!
Once your property is ready for tenants you can start advertising your property on RentEzy.com.au. We accept private and manged rental properties. New users can signup to our free advertising package. Rental advertisements need to accurately describe the rental property. See our advertisement specifications for standard and featured ads which include property description, price, location, up to 35 images, features, contact information and more. Our professional and attractive online property advertisements include links to Google map directions and nearby places assisting potential tenants to check the location and facilities available in the area. Advertise your rental property now!
We’ll talk about photos in our next post, but don’t forget to take photos while your rental property is empty. Consider staging the living rooms and at least one bedroom. Images in rental property ads look so much more interesting if staged. Make sure you take the photos in the day time, using the natural sunlight in each room.
What do you think? Is it worth staging your rental before you advertise it?
Article written by: Lynda Galway, the Managing Director of Open4rent Pty Ltd.
The information contained in RentEzy.com.au website is general information only and does not constitute legal, financial or compliance advice. As the federal and state laws relating to renting, managing rental properties, housing standards, and real estate may have changed, we recommend you check with the relevant State or Territory government department. We also recommend that you obtain you own independent advice about matters relating to landlord obligations, tenancy legislation and supporting documents, and insurance in relation to your responsibility as a private landlord.