At Affinity, we've helped thousands of investors buy, manage and sell their investment properties over the past 20 years. Consequently, we understand the importance of renting your property to the best possible tenant/s who will care for your property, pay the rent on time, and ensure your investment is maintained to a high standard. We also understand the importance of achieving the highest possible rent and leasing your property quickly to maximise your cash flow.
This Property Investor Web Book is designed to help you generate the highest possible rental income, improve cash flow from your rental property and achieve the best long-term result. Key topics we cover include:
Highest Possible Rent – The importance of regular detailed research & analysis to help you get the best possible rent.
Leasing Quickly – Fast leasing means landlords have minimal vacancy risk and generate the highest possible income throughout the year. One week's lost rent equals 2% vacancy rate for the year. We lease over 80% of properties within 48 hours and over 95% are leased within 5 days. We'll explain the steps you can take to always lease quickly.
Low Arrears – To maximise your cash flow it's important your tenants pay their rent on time, every time. Our arrears is consistently below 0.5% - which is the best in the industry. We'll explain how you can make sure your tenants pay their rent quickly and reliably – every time, so you are not out of pocket.
Great Tenant Selection – Tenant selection is incredibly important. A poor tenant may damage your property and cause you financial hardship. We take time to match the right tenant for each property and we'll share our process about how we attract and sign-up high-quality tenants. Extra time and effort upfront often results in very good, long-term tenancies. We have less than 20% turnover of our tenants each year, which reduces landlords costs (no leasing or advertising costs) and maximises your rental income.
Well-priced Management Fees – It's important that you don't pay too much for your property management fees. Some agents charge a low management fee but then have a host of additional fees and costs that are on-charged to landlords. It's important that your fees and the associated services are documented in your Form 6 Agent Appointment so you can hold your agent to account for their performance. At Affinity, our fees are great value for money and we provide many services to our clients at no additional cost, as part of our standard property management service.
Experienced Managers Maximise Your Profit – Experience matters in property management. Inexperienced and poorly trained property managers end up costing landlords thousands extra. At Affinity, we understand property investing inside out and help clients minimise their maintenance costs, arrange depreciation schedules, manage compliance costs and we explain the process about how you can claim various deductions. Our team has over 100 years of combined property management experience, meaning we have experienced every possible scenario and know what to do to get the job done quickly and professionally.
Property Finance – We work with a number of Australia’s leading finance brokers who help clients reduce their property holding costs through better home loans.
Australia is in the midst of a serious rental crisis. We recently attended a client briefing with realestate.com.au who shared research showing that rents grew by more than 20% in some suburbs in 2022. They also advised rents will continue to rise over the next 18 months. Some of this research is shown below and you can read the whole research report here.
Our estimate is that rents may increase by a further 10% - 15% in 2023, based on record low vacancy rates in the 40+ suburbs where we lease properties. This represents a significant opportunity for landlords.
At Affinity, we regularly complete comprehensive rent reviews for every property we manage, to ensure our landlords are achieving the highest possible rent. When we complete rent reviews, we look at:
we also complete detailed market comparisons for your property using rpData.
The RTA rent data is particularly helpful, because this looks at all bonds lodged for every single property in a given suburb. The trends in this data provide a very good benchmark to see how much you can increase your rent. To access this RTA data - you can click here.
Are you claiming the highest possible depreciation for your property? If not, then you are missing out on free tax deductions, which could be costing you thousands per annum.
We work with many different quantity surveyors and we've found BMT Quantity Surveyors provide great tax depreciation schedules for our clients. You can learn more about depreciation in a later chapter in this web book.
Reduce Insurance Costs
Insurance costs have increased rapidly over the past few years due to multiple natural disasters and other inflationary pressures. To save money you can shop around for the best insurance that suits your needs. Landlord insurance gives you peace of mind that your property is protected and your rental income is protected. The video below provides a great overview of what is included in general landlord insurance policies.
It's important that you don't pay too much for your property management fees. Some agents charge a low management fee but then have a host of additional fees and costs that are on-charged to landlords. Your fees and the associated services delivered by your property manager should be clearly set out in your Form 6 Agent Appointment, so you can hold your agent to account for their performance.
Experience matters in property management. Inexperienced and poorly trained property managers end up costing landlords thousands extra. At Affinity, we understand property investing inside out and help our clients generate the best possible investment return. Our client reviews prove this. Hundreds of landlords have switched their property management across to Affinity Property - and we can do it for you in less than 30 minutes.
At Affinity Property, we have a simple flat fee structure and provide many services to our landlords free-of-charge. If you would like to save on your property management fees, you can request a quote for your rental property here.
Reduce Maintenance Expenses
Determining what should be repaired and maintained requires a careful balance. You don't want to spend money on pointless maintenance that is not legally required.
It's important to think about maintenance that adds value for you financially. Will it help you increase your rent or sale price in the future?
If you can defer small maintenance jobs, this allows them to be addressed together at the most suitable time. This approach reduces call-out costs and enables you to budget for future maintenance. Keep in mind that tenants have increased rights under the new tenancy legislation that allows them to demand that certain maintenance must be completed.
For further information about maintenance and repairs, check out the Maintenance chapter below in this web book,
Choosing A Property Manager
Steps Required To Appoint Your Property Management Agent
Before a Property Management Agent can act on your behalf in Queensland, they need to be legally appointed with a Form 6 Agent Appointment. This is a legal requirement in Queensland. To complete the Form 6, the Agent will need your proof of ID as the legal owner of the property. This normally involves the owner providing photo ID in the form of a passport or Driver’s Licence.
We recommend property investors should select an REIQ Accredited Agent. The reason for this is that REIQ Accredited Agents need to demonstrate ongoing professional development, and strict compliance with the industry code of conduct and they maintain appropriate insurance, licenses, and professional qualifications. These insurances and licenses give you added protection as a landlord - so that you are fully protected in case anything happens with your rental property.
What Should The Form 6 Agent Appointment Include?
The Form 6 Agent Appointment should set out the agent's agreed services and fees. This ensures you can hold your agent accountable for the performance of their services. If you would like an example of a comprehensive Form 6 Agent Appointment for your investment property or for a property you are considering purchasing, you can request a Form 6 here.
Other details needed to complete your Form 6 Agent Appointment include:
Property insurance details;
The account you want your rent paid into
Emergency contact details
Pool safety certificate – if you’ve installed a pool
Communication is Fundamental
Having open and effective communication with your property manager is critical to the financial success of your investment property. At Affinity, we understand the requirements of each property owner are different. Most property owners do not wish to be notified of minor management issues, whilst some property owners wish to be notified about any matter.
To ensure we have the most effective and successful communication with each owner and each tenant, Affinity has a thorough onboarding process for new landlords and new tenants. Communication preferences are set up within our systems so you receive communications in your desired format - by phone, SMS, face-to-face, email, online portal, and/or by post.
We welcome your specific requests regarding levels of communication and pledge to abide by them throughout our association with you and your property. We make this pledge due to our advanced systems and training that provide us with the tools required to ensure all property management team members are fully aware of each owner’s requirements and specific requests.
Rent Collection, Payment of Bills & Arrears Management
As a landlord, you buy and hold investment properties to generate a high yield and build your financial wealth. Consequently, you want your property manager to have industry-leading financial management systems and processes to maximise your rental income and minimise your expenses.
Rent Collection & Disbursements
At Affinity, we have a dedicated Trust Accounts Manager and our entire Property Management Team has a very strong focus on maximising cash flow for our property owners. Our arrears management is the best in the industry and we consistently have arrears at less than 0.5%. This means every owner gets paid on time - every time.
Our rental receipting and rent arrears process is performed daily and we have strict financial process controls in place. We commence the rent arrears follow-up process from day one of arrears so you can be confident that the financial management of your property is being managed effectively to maximise your monthly income.
We disburse rental funds twice per month; mid-month and end of month. The disbursements are sent to your nominated bank account unless otherwise instructed. Bi-monthly disbursements help you pay down your property loan faster and reduce your loan interest costs.
Payment of Bills
We understand that many investors lead busy lifestyles and they wish for their property manager to be responsible for all aspects of their investment property. As such, we can arrange the payment of bills from funds collected, before the due date to ensure you receive all applicable discounts. Included in this service is the payment of local authority rates and charges, insurance premiums, and any other costs as they fall due. We’ll take care of the entire process and make your investment the easiest asset you own.
Expenses that Affinity Property can pay on your behalf include:
City Council Rate
Body Corporate Fees
Property Insurance invoices
Repairs & Maintenance invoices
Smoke Alarm Services
End-of-Year Statements & Tax Deductible Fees
When you choose a property manager, it's important they provide you with comprehensive financial statements to support your end-of-year tax lodgements. Preferably, you will receive all these financial statements free-of-charge. Receiving one simple summary financial statement helps reduce your tax accountant fees when they prepare your tax return/s.
Record keeping for end of financial year is a breeze with Affinity Property. We provide the End of Financial Year Statement (free-of-charge) breaking it down for each property to show revenue, expenses, fees and commissions for each (GST is also shown on the statement). Affinity Property’s fees are set out in the schedule of fees in our Form 6 Agent Appointment. All fees attract GST and this is automatically deducted. All fees are tax deductible and are itemized for your convenience in monthly statements and the End-of-Year Statement.
Income Security, Insurance & Statutory Compliance
It's very important that your investment property rental income is managed diligently and in accordance with the Agents Financial Administration Act. You also want to make sure your property manager (agent) has appropriate insurance and statutory compliance to protect you as a landlord against potential losses and unnecessary risks. For example, a landlord's insurance may be voided in some instances if the property is not being managed by a qualified, accredited, and properly insured agent.
All tenants pay a bond equivalent to four weeks rent. This bond is lodged with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) in a trust account until both parties agree, usually at the end of the tenancy, to distribute and refund the bond. Should a dispute arise regarding the distribution and refund of the bond, dispute resolution and possible Small Claims Hearings could result so that neither party can unfairly claim the bond. This process is done through QCAT, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
At Affinity, we maintain comprehensive Public Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance, and Worcover Insurance for all our employees. All our contractors also need to maintain relevant QBCC Licences and appropriate insurance for the work they perform on any of our landlords' properties. This comprehensive chain of insurance coverage helps protect our landlords and their properties against potential loss and unnecessary risks.
When you are choosing a property manager, ask them whether they offer a Service Guarantee. At Affinity Property, we guarantee our service in writing with the following Service Guarantee Check List for our clients.
Tax Depreciation Schedules
Quantity Surveyors Report
If there have been major improvements/renovations to the property you are purchasing, or the property is brand new, a quantity surveyor can help you prepare a tax depreciation report for your property. This report will enable you to claim depreciation expenses and capital allowance deductions as part of your tax return. Below you will find an explanation about tax depreciation from BMT Quantity Surveyors:
What Is Tax Depreciation?
Tax depreciation is a tax deduction claimed for the natural wear and tear of an income-producing building and its assets over time. It is generally the second biggest tax deduction for property investors, after interest.
Claiming tax depreciation reduces your taxable income, meaning you pay less tax. You may be eligible for thousands of dollars in depreciation deductions each year.Tax depreciation deductions are available for both residential investment properties and commercial buildings. Most properties, new and old, have depreciation available.You don’t need to spend money to claim tax depreciation.
Depreciation Often Over-Looked by First Time Investors
Many first-time investors forget this step and miss out on tens of thousands of dollars in tax deductions. If you would like to know more about how tax depreciation reports work, please don't hesitate to call our friendly team at (07) 3293 9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leasing Your Property Quickly
Preparations Before Leasing
If you want to attract great quality tenants and achieve the highest possible rent, there are some important things you should do to prepare your property before leasing.
1. Professional Photos
It is very important to get high quality, digital photos to market your property across all the digital platforms when you lease your property. Affinity Property advertises with premium placements across all the major platforms plus a range of social media advertising to ensure maximum exposure of your investment property (realestate.com.au, Domain, rent.com.au, Homely, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Affinity web site, tenant digital newsletter, etc.).
It is best to arrange the photos when your property is well-presented and you have done some spring cleaning. If you look at the highest-rent properties in the suburb where your new rental property is located, you will see the photos these properties have online look stunning.
2. Staging & Styling And The Importance Of Property Presentation
Many property investors think that home staging and styling are only used when properties are for sale. Increasingly, many landlords are staging & styling their rental properties when they are first leased, so they have great photos that can be used for marketing the property to new tenants. This attracts the best possible tenants and also enables you to command the highest possible rent when you lease your property.
Please see attached link to our staging & styling page on the Affinity Property website, which provides some great advice and ideas for staging and styling. At the bottom of our staging web page you will find contact details for Box Brownie who do virtual property staging. This is a really good option if you want to do some virtual digital staging of some rooms in your home. They are cheap and provide a great solution.
3. Bond Clean Sets The Benchmark For Your Property
When you first lease your property, it's important to set the standard you want your tenants to maintain with cleanliness and property presentation. If the property is dirty and lawns aren't mowed before the first tenants move in, you will be setting a low benchmark for how tenants look after your property.
We recommend that landlords get a professional Bond Clean completed to set a very high benchmark for their property presentation before they lease their property. If you prefer to do the cleaning and gardening yourself that's fine - just make sure you set a high standard of presentation. To learn more about what a bond clean involves - click here.
The first Entry Condition Report that is completed by the landlord and tenant creates the standard that you want to maintain. Well-presented properties rent fast and for higher rents - so it makes sense to set the highest possible standard.
If you need help with a bond clean, we can help you with this as we have a number of very experienced bond cleaners who do a great job. Our bond cleaners guarantee the standard of their work - so you know the property will shine after they have completed the bond clean.
4. Timing The Marketing Of Your Rental Property
We recommend you commence your marketing at least 2 - 4 weeks before you want tenants to move in. The reason for this is that tenants normally give notice to their existing landlord at least 8 weeks prior to them vacating their property. Once tenants have decided to move they then start actively looking for a new property and usually commit to a new lease 2 - 4 weeks before moving out of their existing rental. Consequently, you want to attract good quality tenants within the 2 - 4 week window.
Our advertising and tenanting process at Affinity Property for First-Time Landlords is focused on getting you the best possible tenant who will care for your property and help you maximise your rental income. The steps we follow are set out on our website - 7 Tips to Rent Your Property Fast & Stress Free. By advertising 2 - 4 weeks prior to when you want tenants moving into your property, we can start receiving and processing tenancy applications to have a potential tenant signed up when the property becomes available to rent. We always work with you to structure the best arrangements that suit your needs.
Advertising & Finding A Tenant
1. Professional Advertising
There is an old saying in marketing 'You can't sell a secret!' This definitely applies when you are leasing your property. If you want the best possible rent and the highest caliber of tenants to apply for your property, then it pays to professionally advertise your property. At Affinity, we provide this professional advertising service FREE OF CHARGE to our landlords.
We take great pride in marketing our client's rental properties with the same high-quality marketing that most agencies devote to selling properties. This high-quality marketing achieves the best possible price in the shortest time. It also ensures our landlords minimize rental vacancy and maximize their rental income, whilst also capturing the largest possible pool of good prospective tenants.
To achieve the best possible rent for your property we ensure it is marketed correctly to the widest audience of potential tenants. Marketing through our high-traffic website is complemented with direct marketing to our extensive databases plus advertising through national real estate portals such as realestate.com.au, domain.com.au, Homely, rent.com.au, along with social media marketing on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
A well maintained and smartly presented property that is marketed effectively can often achieve a 50% - 100% increase in enquiry which can mean an extra 5% - 10% in the weekly rent. Our rental property marketing achieves a high volume of tenancy applications per property.
Our company has the best marketing in the industry and we have a highly experienced team who can assist clients with all their property needs including buying, selling, property management, marketing, due diligence, insurance, maintenance, assistance with accounting and tax services, bill payments, auctions, development and body corporate management.
2. High-Quality Tenants Attract Other Great Tenants
One of the most important things we've learned over the past 20 years is that 'Like mixes with like'. This particularly applies when leasing your property - high-quality tenants mix with and have friends and family who are also potentially very good tenants.
At Affinity, we have a large portfolio of existing great tenants and past tenants (more than 1,600) that we regularly communicate with through our property management and client communications systems. We also maintain on-file applications from very good tenants who are looking for specific types of properties. Maintaining good working relationships with tenants enables us to have a constant pipeline of high-quality tenancy applications for upcoming rental properties when they need to be leased.
3. Leasing Performance Guarantee
When you choose a property manager, it's important to ask them: 'What type of leasing performance guarantee do you offer?'.
The Property Management Team at Affinity Property aims to have all properties re-let within 5 days from the end of a tenancy (subject to satisfactory bond clean and suitable property presentation). This leasing performance guarantee means that 80% of properties are leased in 48 hours and 95% are leased within five days. We consistently achieve these results due to our high-quality marketing generating lots of inquiries from quality tenants, who can snap up your property fast, pay on time, and are pleasant to deal with.
4. Local Market Knowledge Attracts Better Tenants
Local market knowledge is incredibly important when leasing your investment property. Knowing the local walking paths and bike tracks to schools, where bus stops are located, local medical services, etc. are paramount when you're explaining to prospective tenants why a particular rental property suits their needs.
At Affinity, we pride ourselves on our local market knowledge which helps our landlords consistently achieve the highest market rents. We have a detailed understanding of local tenant profiles, the total number of rental houses, townhouses and units in the North Brisbane property market, rental price trends, property features that are desirable to tenants, and how to make your property stand out when it is being leased.
5. Assessing Potential Tenants
We help our landlords find great tenants for all types of properties, whether the properties are new or old / big or small. Assessing the suitability of tenants for a specific property comes down to undertaking a comprehensive matching exercise - so you can match the ideal tenant with a particular property. The Tenancy Application Form is the starting point for capturing detailed information about each potential tenant.
We personally invite every quality prospective tenant to inspect your property at specific times. All inspections are attended by our Property Managers. For those prospective tenants who are unable to attend an inspection, we provide a digital property report for your property; an online tenancy application form to create a sense of urgency for the tenant to apply for the property; and other relevant information that presents your property in the best possible light.
6. Tenant Selection
Tenancy Applications are taken from prospective tenants on a daily basis and are promptly assessed in accordance with our quality assurance procedures and other eligibility criteria. We conduct checks against national tenancy databases, scrutinize references from other agencies and consider income suitability. Once the assessment of applications has been completed, we then forward our recommendations to you and confirm who you wish to choose as your preferred occupant for your property.
Maintaining Great Tenants
Setting Clear Expectations When Tenancy Begins
It is absolutely critical that expectations and ground rules for the care and maintenance of your property and prompt payment of rent are set at the beginning of each tenancy.
1. Tenant Sign-Up & Setting Expectations
At Affinity, we understand the importance of maintaining good relationships with tenants and looking after their needs from beginning to end. We also understand the importance of looking after your rental property and ensuring you get paid in full, on time, every time. This ‘client relationship’ focus means we invest a lot of time at the commencement of each tenancy, explaining to tenants the importance of maintaining the property and what they can do to have a successful, long-term tenancy. This investment of time up-front often helps our landlords secure excellent, long-term tenants who remain in properties for years reducing our landlords re-letting costs. This is beneficial for all parties.
The Affinity tenant sign-up is a comprehensive process, that includes the following:
a welcome letter that contains bond payment requirements (4 weeks rent), advance rent payment requirements and online tenant portal access so the tenant can access payment history, property maintenance and any other relevant tenancy details;
rent arrears procedure which sets out when rent must be paid and what will happen if the tenant falls into arrears;
when property inspections will take place and what is expected of the tenant in advance of inspections;
pet agreement (if applicable) and the tenant's responsibilities regarding pets and care of the property;
cleaning and property maintenance expectations;
PLUS - a range of other property and tenancy-related documents.
2. Ongoing Communication & 24x7 Accessibility
The Affinity Property Management Team is in contact with our tenants every day, helping them with a myriad of needs including accessing government services, discussing property maintenance needs, and any other tenancy-related matters. This ongoing communication and attention to tenants' needs builds and maintains strong relationships. Consequently, this provides more flexibility for landlords when tenants are more open to give and take in the tenancy relationship. Tenants can lodge maintenance requests 24x7 through our on-line property portal and they can also access their full payment history and tenancy details 24x7.
3. Comprehensive Cleaning Guide When Tenant Vacates
Tenants are issued with a comprehensive cleaning guide when they inform us they wish to vacate their dwelling. This guide provides instructions on what needs to be cleaned at the completion of the tenancy, in order to maintain the dwelling in its original condition and to ensure the full return of the tenant’s bond payment.
Regular property inspections are very important, as they enable you to check that your property is being maintained to a high standard and your tenant is adhering to the terms set out in their tenancy agreement. At Affinity, we undertake the following inspections:
1. Routine Inspections
The completion of routine inspections occurs every 13 - 17 weeks, to ensure the terms and conditions of the lease are upheld and the property is being maintained as expected. Not only are owners notified of any concerns or obvious breaches, but they are notified if the tenant is maintaining the dwelling above expectations. If a tenant fails to comply with their responsibilities as outlined in the Form 18a (General Tenancy Agreement) then an RTA Form 11 - Notice to remedy breach will be issued.
Our landlords receive a digital property report including photos following each routine inspection.
2. Entry Condition Reports
We thoroughly inspect the dwelling prior to the incoming tenant taking possession and prepare an Entry Condition Report (ECR). All entry condition inspections include photographs of the interior and exterior of the dwelling. The ECR informs the incoming tenant of the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and establishes how it should be left at the end of the tenancy period taking into account fair wear and tear.
3. Exit Condition Reports
A detailed final inspection is carried out once the tenant vacates the dwelling and returns keys. An Exit Condition Report is prepared including photographs of the interior and exterior of the dwelling. The Exit Condition Report clearly details the physical condition of the dwelling and is compared against the Entry Condition report. The tenant is required to complete further cleaning if the Cleaning Guide was not adequately followed, or repair any damages/unapproved alterations.
4. Other Inspections As Needed
At times we recognize other special inspections are required for landlords. These might include maintenance inspections, building inspections, quantity surveyor reports, property valuations, and property market appraisals. At Affinity, we undertake these inspections at no additional cost to our landlords.
Repairs & Maintenance
Maintaining your investment property can become very expensive if you have an agent who is constantly charging you unnecessary expenses. However, failure to address critical maintenance may affect your immediate profitability and the long-term value of your property.
No landlord should have to deal with damage to their home. It’s not just stressful for you, but it affects the quality and appeal of your property, resulting in wasted time and money. Unfortunately, many property managers can take the better part of a week to address these issues.
Affinity Property has a very practical approach to property maintenance and repairs. Our goal is to help you maximise the profitability and rentability of your property. Our 24/7 online maintenance system provides both tenants and landlords the ability to log and receive updates on any repairs and maintenance. With your approval, we handle all the maintenance and repair issues for you at no extra cost. All repairs are arranged with you in advance. When it comes to urgent issues, these will be resolved in 48 hours. We prioritise repairs for landlords, so small jobs can be deferred and addressed together at the most suitable time. This reduces maintenance call-out costs and enables landlords to budget for future maintenance. Contractors are required to quote for all jobs and we hold them to account for their performance, workmanship and the fees they charge. We utilise only licensed, experienced, and trusted tradespeople employed or contracted by Affinity Property Australia.
Determining what should be repaired and maintained requires a careful balance. You don't want to spend money on pointless maintenance that is not legally required. A highly competent property manager will advise you about your legal rights with respect to maintenance, so you can say "No" when you're not obliged to do anything. The tenant also has legal rights under the Residential Tenancies Act and can force the landlord to address urgent maintenance. For more information about these tenant rights, you can click here or watch the video below:
Emergency Repairs & Maintenance
Emergency repairs (as defined under the Act) must be dealt with immediately. Emergency repairs generally fall within three categories - Electrical, Gas and Water. If the tenants' health and well-being is at risk then it usually is treated as an Emergency. In such instances, we always endeavor to contact our landlords and provide you with advice. In the absence of your instructions, we act in our landlords' best interests and attend to the repair; particularly in matters of possible high risk. The tenant has the right under the RTRA Act to spend up to two weeks rent in an emergency repair within a reasonable timeframe.
Meaning of Emergency Repairs
Emergency repairs are works needed to repair any of the following:
A burst water service or a serious water service leak;
A blocked or broken lavatory system;
A serious roof leak;
A gas leak;
A dangerous electrical fault;
Flooding or serious flood damage;
Serious storm, fire or impact damage;
A failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to premises;
A failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on premises for hot water, cooking or heating;
A fault or damage that makes premises unsafe or insecure;
A fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a tenant of premises;
A serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of premises that unduly inconveniences a tenant in gaining access to, or using, the premises
Managing Risks & Compliance
When you buy an investment property you immediately become responsible for managing a range of risks and need to comply with specific legal and regulatory requirements. These risks and compliance responsibilities include:
Public Liability and Landlord Protection Insurance
At Affinity, we recommend property owners have Landlord Protection insurance policies for each individual property. This protects you (the landlord), the tenant and the property manager and ensures the landlord is not exposed to potentially catastrophic damages and financial liabilities. The policies offer coverage for arrears in rent, vandalism and malicious damage, and contents cover.
We recommend lessors also have adequate insurance on their property, with particular attention to public liability insurance to a minimum of $20,000,000 (twenty million dollars). Landlord Protection Insurance policies also provide this required public liability insurance. Tenants are advised at the time of signing their General Tenancy Agreement that they must organise contents insurance for their own personal belongings.
If your investment property does not have an individual water meter, water charges cannot be passed onto the tenant. If your property has an individual water meter and is not water efficient, the lessor must pay for a reasonable amount of water. If your property has an individual water meter and is deemed water efficient, the lessor may pass on total water consumption charges to the tenant.
It is strongly recommended that a plumber certificate or sufficient evidence is kept on file in the event the tenant disputes that the property is water efficient in compliance with the relevant legislation. A rental premise is considered water efficient if certain water fixtures meet the standards listed in the table below. The requirement for taps applies only to internal cold water taps that are installed over a hand basin, kitchen sink or laundry trough (including single mixer taps). The requirement does not apply to other taps in the premises such as bathtub taps, outside taps for the garden, or taps that supply washing machines or dishwashers. These taps are not required to be water efficient.
How can the lessor/agent prove the premises are water efficient?
At the start of the tenancy agreement, the lessor/agent and tenant should negotiate arrangements for water charging. The presence of water-efficient devices should be noted on the Entry Condition Report (Form 1a). Lessors/agents should be able to demonstrate the presence of water efficient devices where it may be unclear, such as by providing copies of:
paperwork from 'Home Water Wise' services
warranties or instruction manuals for taps and showerheads, etc.
For any water fixtures produced from 2005 onwards, the easiest way to check if they meet the required efficiency standard is to look for products with a WELS rating of three stars or higher. WELS is Australia's water efficiency labeling scheme which rates fixtures including taps, showerheads, and toilets according to water efficiency - the more stars the better. To find out more about the scheme or search the registered product database, visit www.waterrating.gov.au
Pool Safety Laws
The Building Act of Queensland sets out the legal requirements for pools and spas. A rental property (house or unit) with a pool cannot be rented without a pool safety certificate. In addition, all pools and spas in Queensland (regardless if they are a rental property) must be registered on the State Government pool register. Shared pools (units generally) are required to also have the pool safety certificate in a conspicuous position at the property or on the pool gate. We recommend that you speak with the body corporate for more information in this regard. Pool safety certificates are valid for two years from the date of issue for non-shared pools, and one year for shared pools.
It has been a requirement in Queensland since 1 July 2007 for smoke alarms to be installed in all homes, including all owner-occupied and rental properties. Every property listed for sale and/or rented in Queensland must have minimum smoke alarms installed. Smoke alarms in all properties must be in working order at all times. For rental properties, lessors have further requirements and obligations in relation to cleaning, testing and battery maintenance. Tenants also have responsibilities. The Legislation which governs these requirements is the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1997 (Qld).
The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.
If the existing smoke alarms were manufactured less than 10 years ago, and are still in good working order, they will comply with the new legislative requirements. However, it is important for property owners/managers to understand the new requirements and the timeframes that apply.
A tenant must seek written approval from the lessor to keep a pet at the rental property. It is a significant breach if an animal, other than a working dog, is kept at the premises without the lessor’s approval.
As a Landlord, you have the right to accept or refuse pets at your investment property. However, any refusal needs to be in accordance with the legislation.
Your tenant’s request to keep a pet must be submitted to you using the Request for approval to keep pet at premises (Form 21), stating the type and details of the pet they are requesting to keep in the rental property for your consideration. As the lessor, you must respond to the request within 14 days, which is on or before the date outlined in item 6 of the received request form.
The lessor’s response must state two key pieces of information:
whether you (the lessor) approve or refuse the tenant’s request, and
other conditions for approval, or reasons for refusal of request
If you approve the tenant’s request to keep a pet, you may state additional reasonable conditions for the approval and why this applies.
If you refuse the tenant’s request to keep the stated pet, you must state the specific reason for refusing the request as outlined under the legislation
If your property is a house with suitable fencing, we suggest it is worth considering allowing a pet at the property. Over 60% of tenants own pets, so excluding pet owners significantly reduces your potential tenant pool and therefore reduces your potential rental income.
Fenced houses are appealing to people with pets which broadens your options in the marketplace and makes your property more appealing to prospective tenants. A special term can be written in to only allow pets to remain outside of the home or if you allow pets to be inside this can occur. Also, a special term can be added to the tenancy agreement to require tenants to carry out pest control and carpet cleaning upon ending the tenancy.
"Sean and his team have done an excellent job managing my property for years."
"I have always received timely communications and have not been disappointed by their service even once. Sean has always gone above and beyond to help me with any queries I have regarding any renting or even buying properties. Having worked for years, Sean is very well versed with the real estate market and has no hesitations sharing his knowledge even when there no monetary benefit for him. I highly recommend Sean and affinity Property.”
-- AMIT & PAHLAVI
"I chose Jodie O'Brien to market my property after interviewing a range of other agents. Jodie stood out - she listened carefully to my needs."
"She was clearly in touch with both buyer expectations and the prevailing market conditions which seemed to change almost on a daily basis. She advised on renovations and styling, always mindful of my budget and without the usual heavy costs of styling. She achieved top dollar for my property, quickly, shielding me from stresses and at the same time treating prospective buyers with respect and understanding I have dealt with many Real Estate Agents over time and Jodie stands out from. She's a star and I wish I had another house for her to sell - just to keep working with her!"
-- HELEN M.
"We first met Sean and his team about 10 years ago when we invested in an NRAS property in Dakabin. Affinity Property managed our duplex investment for us. As managers, Sean and his team did an excellent job for us."
"Everyone was approachable and we felt confident that our investment was being looked after. As the time came to sell our duplex, we did not hesitate to choose Sean and his team to sell it for us. Kyle was fantastic and was able to sell the duplex for us off-market for the price we wanted within a short time frame. Kyle kept us in the loop at all times and went above and beyond for us. We are extremely happy with the result"
-- WAYNE & KATH
The ongoing management of not only the property but the flow of information when things are needing attention is just outstanding, and has been for the last 9 years."