Landlords and their tenants won’t always see eye to eye, but it’s largely the same mistakes from both parties that cause misunderstandings.
Rae Tolley, manager of the property management department at Beller Real Estate, said communication often breaks down between tenants and landlords over their interpretation of their responsibilities.
“Owners can have a different interpretation of what good repair standards are,” Ms Tolley says, naming ‘Band-Aid repair jobs’ as one of a landlord’s biggest mistakes.
Recent tribunal decisions show tenants have won significant compensation from landlords over failing to maintain the premises in good repair, including failure to fix a toilet that didn’t flush or a leaking roof.
Owners can have a different interpretation of what good repair standards are.Rae Tolley, Beller Real Estate
“It’s not worth trying to save a couple of hundred dollars on repairs,” Ms Tolley says. Going to the tribunal could be more costly for everyone involved.
She advises both tenants and landlords to use their property manager as an intermediary.
Belinda Butler, distribution manager at landlord insurance company Terri Scheer Insurance, agrees. She says a property manager who has good knowledge of the legislation and the rights of both parties can assist significantly in reducing problems.
“They need to know their responsibilities that are in the tenancy agreement,” Ms Butler says.
If either landlord or tenant fails to meet these responsibilities, some of the mistakes may not be easily rectified, warns Tenants Union of Victoria policy officer Yaelle Caspi.
“Tenants feel under pressure to accept any property in case they cannot find something more suitable in the necessary time frame,” Ms Caspi says.
She recommends tenants and landlords or property managers keep records of conversations and condition reports so misunderstandings are minimised.
Top 10 tenant mistakes
- Failing to notify the agent, in writing, when they want to vacate
- Rushing through the ingoing condition report or not completing it
- Not reporting necessary repairs to the property manager
- Leaving items behind when moving, or assuming they’ll be wanted by the next tenant
- Forgetting to keep records of communications with the agent and landlord
- Feeling uncomfortable about asking for changes to the lease upfront
- Failing to properly inspect and ensure the home is suitable for the length of the lease
- Not taking out renters’ insurance
- Failing to pay rent in times of hardship without contacting the agent
- Signing the bond form before the returned amount is decided
Top 10 landlord mistakes
- Failing to maintain the premises in good repair
- Making ‘Band-Aid’ repair jobs themselves or using amateur tradespeople
- Increasing the rent every 12 months without any financial argument for an increase
- Entering the property without approval or turning up without written warning
- Holding too many rental inspections during a tenancy
- Holding too many open for inspections during a sale campaign or to find another tenant
- Having a loose interpretation of fair “wear and tear” during the tenancy
- Not returning the bond within the legally specified time frame
- Not ensuring all “installations” are working, including heating and smoke alarms
- Not listening to the advice of the property manger
Reproduced from domain.com.au