Advice for Landlords: Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
How long will it take to lease my investment property?
Blackshaw Real Estate’s average time to lease an investment property varies depending on market conditions. To keep vacancy rates at a minimum we make sure that your property has maximum market exposure through:
- Extensive online advertising
- Prominent signage when possible
- Circulation of weekly rental list
- Presentation to pre-qualified applicants
Do Blackshaw Real Estate staff personally show prospective tenants through my property?
A Property Manager or Leasing Consultant will accompany all prospective tenants during exhibitions. This means that your property is secure and our staff can answer any queries immediately while also ensuring that any facilities such as pools, gyms, tennis courts, security features and on-site parking are identified and presented.
When you find prospective tenants, how do you qualify them?
Before any application will be considered, Blackshaw Real Estate conducts an extensive background check on every applicant, including:
- Confirmation of the applicant’s employment or source of income
- Confirmation of past and current landlord/agent references
- Confirmation of the applicant’s identity through our ‘100 point’ check system
- Tenant check with Australia’s largest tenancy history database TICA
These stringent checks are an important part of the role we play in managing your investment. After performing these checks, the applications are then submitted to you, so you can choose the tenant that will live in your property.
I am being posted out of Canberra with a government agency; will I require a Fair Posting Clause?
We recommend to owners that are being posted out of Canberra that a Posting Clause or Diplomatic Clause is incorporated into their tenancy agreement. This clause will allow you to terminate a fixed term agreement with 8 weeks notice should you be posted back to Canberra in the course of your employment. This is quite common in Canberra and is explained to the tenant at the exhibition before the tenancy agreement is signed.
A posting clause can also be used by a tenant. This will allow the tenant to terminate the tenancy with 8 weeks notice should they be posted out of Canberra in the course of their employment.
Can Blackshaw Real Estate assist with the sale of my property?
Blackshaw Real Estate is one of Canberra’s premier real estate brands, and our property management departments have direct access to highly regarded sales consultants who possess in-depth knowledge of market values and are able to confidently advise on current market conditions and preferred sales methods to achieve the best possible result.
If you are considering selling, please contact your Property Manager to arrange a free market sales appraisal from one of our experienced Sales Agents.
How frequently will you inspect my property?
As your property manager, Blackshaw Real Estate has a responsibility to conduct regular inspections. As per the legislation, we conduct the following inspections:
- Prior to your tenant occupying the property
- Once during the first four weeks of tenancy
- Once every six months from there
- Upon the tenant vacating the property
At the completion of each inspection, a report will be filed and issued to you for your records. You will be notified of any maintenance issues and any other relevant matters.
What happens if my tenant vacates at the end of their tenancy?
When your tenant decides to vacate the premises at the expiry of their fixed term lease, they must submit written notice of their intention to vacate 21 days prior to vacating.
We will contact you immediately to advise you of the change of circumstances, arrange to advertise and discuss the rental price.
We always aim to commence exhibitions prior to the completion of the current lease to minimise the vacancy of your property.
What happens if my tenant vacates during a fixed term tenancy?
If your tenant decides to vacate the premises prior to the expiry of their fixed term lease this is commonly known as ‘breaking the lease’.
The break lease clause determines the fee that the tenant must pay if they end a fixed term agreement early (other than for a reason permitted under the Act). The fee will be capped at between 4 to 6 weeks’ rent, depending on how much of the term of the lease is left. However, if a tenant breaks their lease, your property manager must act to find replacement tenants. As soon as new tenants are found and commence their tenancy, the previous tenants' liability to pay compensation will reduce by the amount that the new tenants pay in rent.
Who will arrange for the maintenance of my property?
If maintenance items are reported by your tenant or noted at inspections, or if you know that your roses need to be pruned in September, we will be happy to arrange for one of our highly qualified and insured tradesman to attend these needs on your behalf.
We will always contact you first to obtain your approval before proceeding with any standard maintenance items.
How often can I increase the rent?
A rental increase can take effect every twelve months. The tenant must be given 8 weeks’ notice, and the increase cannot take effect during a fixed term tenancy. We will contact you 3 months before the increase is due to take effect, and discuss with you the current rental market and advise you on a recommended increase.
Legislation states that the increase cannot be excessive, and must be within the current market conditions.
At this stage, the tenants can accept the increase, vacate the premises, or apply to ACAT if they feel it is excessive.
We always try to negotiate the best possible rental increase for all parties involved.
How am I paid?
Our lessors are paid on the last business day of each month. The funds can be transferred into your nominated bank account or sent via cheque. A statement showing rental payments and expenses will be issued to you via email or post.
What is the difference between a fixed term and a periodic tenancy?
A fixed term is a specific period that both the tenant and the lessor have agreed to the tenancy for the property. This is commonly 26 or 52 weeks, however, it can be any period that both parties have agreed to. A periodic tenancy is a non-specific period during which the tenant has their right of occupancy and is also obligated to comply with the requirements of a tenancy contract. The non-specific period entitles the tenant to remain in occupancy, until either they issue three weeks’ notice to vacate or the lessor issues a notice to vacate in line with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
Can I terminate the tenancy if the tenant does not sign another fixed term?
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the lessor is provided with very specific guidelines of when they may issue the tenant with a notice to vacate. The failure to sign a further fixed term period does not permit a lessor to vacate the tenant. The tenant has the right to continue their tenancy on a periodic tenancy arrangement. Should you wish to issue the tenant with a notice to vacate, please contact your agency for advice.
What is land tax and do I have to pay it?
Land tax is collected by the ACT Government to provide a range of essential services to the ACT community. Land tax is imposed under the Land Tax Act 2004.
You are liable to pay land tax if you:
- own vacant or rented residential properties that are not your principal place of residence (your main home)
- own vacant or rented residential properties owned by a trust or corporation
- rent out a secondary dwelling at your principal place of residence, such as a granny flat
If you are not an Australian citizen or resident, you will also need to pay the Foreign Ownership surcharge.
How much does land tax cost?
The ACT Government assesses the status of your property on the following four key dates each year: 1 July, 1 October, 1 January and 1 April. You must pay land tax for each whole quarter.
The amount of land tax you pay is made up of two parts – a fixed charge and a valuation charge. The fixed charge for land tax is $1,392. The valuation charge for the year is calculated by applying a rating factor to the average unimproved value (AUV) of your property. The AUV is the average of the property’s unimproved value over a number of years. The marginal rates used to calculate land tax are determined under the Taxation Administration Act 1999.
More information about calculating land tax can be found here.
Do I have to let ACT Revenue know if I rent my property?
Yes, you must advise ACT Revenue within 30 days if a residential property you purchase, or have an interest in, is rented or becomes rented. This also applies to you if you own a residential property under a trust or corporation. You can let ACT Revenue know by completing the land tax notification form. If you don’t supply this information within 30 days, you may need to pay interest and penalties in addition to the land tax.
Are there any land tax exemptions?
Yes, all commercial properties are exempt from land tax. Some residential properties are also exempt from land tax. More information about exemptions can be found here.