Less Landlord Stress: Sorting Out Your Top Tenant Troubles
While renting your property out is an excellent source of additional income, sometimes you may encounter tenant troubles. From those who can't pay their rent on time to individuals who create a mess, each scenario reduces your profits. Familiarising yourself with your rights and responsibilities and attracting the right tenants can help. Keep reading to learn how to manage problems as they arise, which will make your life as a landlord simpler.
Know Your Rights and Duties as a Landlord
As a landlord in the Northern Territory, you have a right to ask for:
- Two weeks rent in advance or as otherwise agreed in writing by both parties
- The maximum of four weeks rent as a bond.
- A tenant must give two weeks notice before the end term contract date of the current lease agreement or two weeks notice should the agreement go periodic.
- An increase or decrease in your tenant's rent at the end of the current lease agreement.
Also, under the legislation you and your tenants have rights. For example, your tenants can challenge a rental increase at a tribunal if it's considered unreasonable. You also have a right to ensure your property remains clean and habitable by performing quarterly inspections.
When a tenant leaves the property, you must inspect it to ensure it's habitable. Things to consider include:
- Repairing and maintaining your property inside and out.
- Ensuring your property is safe and secure.
- Maintaining fixtures and fittings.
During the Tenancy
- Allowing your tenant quiet enjoyment of the property.
- Not making an unreasonable amount of inspections or visits.
- Ensuring your tenant is given sufficient notice before an inspection.
Being a landlord may often feel complex, especially if you're new to property investing. For example, did you know you must install working photoelectric smoke alarms? Using the skills of an expert property manager will help you identify such issues. Knowing your many and varied responsibilities can keep you out of trouble with tenants.
Find the Right Tenants
To streamline your life as a landlord, finding the right tenants is paramount. You can create a tenancy agreement that will avoid problems. Whether you're renting the property to a family member, expat, or a stranger, you should do your tenancy checks.
When you receive an application for tenancy it is prudent to conduct a credit check to identify if a tenant has a poor rental history or a record of not paying their rent. You can remove them from your potential candidate list and move on to someone who's likely to be less problematic.
If you have special conditions, such as not wanting pets or smokers, include them in your agreement. Performing an inspection once every three months allows you to make sure your tenant is maintaining your property, and it will highlight any breaches of contract. If you live far from Darwin, you can use a property manager to carry out inspections for you.
What to Do if a Tenant Becomes a Problem
From job losses to significant life events, there are many reasons for tenants to become problematic. Even if there's a temptation to approach the situation vigorously, there are ways to handle such situations to minimise stress for both you and your tenant.
What to Do About Rent Arrears
In Darwin, you have the right to issue a Notice to Remedy Unpaid Rent if the tenant is 14 days in arrears or more. This notice highlights why the tenant has a legal obligation to pay, how much they owe you, and when it's next due. Using a property management company gives the letter a more official feel, which spurs faster action.
Dealing with Other Common Tenant Problems
If the tenant fails to meet, their obligations, it's possible to evict them. However, you must follow the Northern Territory Residential Tenancies Act to ensure the eviction is legal. According to the act, you can evict tenants if:
- They make the property unsafe or uninhabitable.
- Illegal drug use occurs.
- They become a nuisance neighbour who disturbs the peace of nearby residents.
In all instances, using a property manager can help you evict a tenant legally. If you don't follow the guidelines in the act, the tenant may prolong the process of a tribunal hearing.
Whether you're renting out one property or several, understanding your duties as a landlord ensures you maximise your income by overcoming problems quickly. If you ever feel bogged down with the management of your property, or if you're too busy, using a local property manager can make sure you achieve your legal obligations and streamlines the rental process.