Your Rights and Responsibilities as an Investment Property Owner

It’s important for landlords, particularly those new to property investment, to understand what they’re allowed to do in relation to their property. Even with professional property managers taking care of the property, knowing the ins and outs of investment property ownership can be valuable.

With this blog, Goodman Group Lawyers aim to make your rights and responsibilities as a landlord clear, lifting the veil on several of the more confusing aspects of property ownership. Read on to learn more.

Duties as a landlord

Being a landlord is not simply a case of having tenants move into your property and taking their rent money – there are certain legally binding responsibilities that are required of all landlords.

Landlords must make sure that the premises are vacant and clean on the day the tenant is scheduled to move in, ensure that the premises are always in good repair (if replacing water appliances, fittings or fixtures, they must meet Standards Australia ‘A’ rating).

There is also a need to ensure that external doors have locks and windows can be secured and that if locks are changed, that tenants are given the appropriate keys as soon as possible.

Entering a property

You may realise that a landlord is able to enter a property to inspect it, but this procedure must be conducted under very specific guidelines. A landlord may enter at a time and date that is agreed with the tenant, but this agreement must be made at least seven days before the agreed upon time. This prevents landlords from entering premises without prior warning – if they still do so, it is considered an offense.

Landlords are still able to enter a property after giving tenants 24 hours’ notice for specific duties. These include valuing the property, demonstrating the property to prospective buyers, new tenants, or financial lenders, if they are under the impression that tenants have damaged property or have caused a nuisance. In these instances, the landlord is permitted to enter the property between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on any day except public holidays.

Understanding what to do with the bond

The bond in essence is used as a security deposit for the landlord, and in most cases the bond is equivalent to the value of four week’s rent. In some cases, the bond may exceed this value (such as in more expensive or furnished properties).

Bond should always be forwarded to the relevant state’s residential tenancies bond authority. This body will hold onto the bond money on behalf of both tenants and landlords.

The money given to a landlord as bond can be taken for the following:

  • Damage to the property caused by the tenant or those related to the tenant.
  • The tenant leaving the premises without notice.
  • Relevant cleaning expenses.
  • The tenant leaving the landlord to pay bills the tenant should have paid.
  • Loss of the landlord’s goods.
  • Unpaid rent.

If there is a bond dispute or if the landlord is seeking to claim compensation that exceeds the value of the bond, they are then required to apply to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal within 10 business days of the tenant vacating the property.

Learn more about property ownership from the experts

There are a variety of other duties the landlord must attend to while renting out a property, but this guide should provide some of the more important basics. If you’re still unsure about your rights as a landlord, Goodman Group Lawyers are here to help you in every way we can.

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