Tenant Question: “While on vacation, I let a friend stay in my rental home. My friend accidentally left the freezer door open, which allowed the freezer to defrost. Water soaked and ruined the kitchen hardwood floors. Can the landlord charge me with this repair bill?”
A. Yes. By law and per the lease terms, tenants are responsible for damage their guests cause to the rental. Don’t get sidetracked by the fact it was your friend, not you, who left the freezer door open. Your friend was there with your consent and, legally speaking, their mistakes while in your rental will be your responsibility.
Tenants are an important part of your investment property succeeding, so how can you secure the right ones every time? In the first of this two-part series, Matt McCann, CEO of LocalAgentFinder.com.au shares his 10 tips on getting the best tenants and avoiding high turnover.
1. Find the right property manager Finding the right team to manage your property is crucial and by following these tips you can ensure you’re getting the best from your property manager:
They must have a dedicated property management division
They should be experienced and have previous success with problematic tenants
The agency principal should be involved in the function of the property management division
Your manager will attend inspections even on weekends or during extended hours to cater to tenants’ needs
The agency has good programs and processes for vetting applications and monitoring rental arrears.
2. Update your property By keeping your property in top condition, you’ll attract tenants who take care of their belongings and property, and it will also keep you ahead of the competition. Ensure property updates suit your target demographic; talk to your agent and find out who your potential tenants would be and how you could better present your property to them. 3. Set the right price Keep your rental price in line with similar properties in the area or other landlords will gain a competitive edge in the search for good tenants. Ask your real estate agent about the current market and how much similar properties in the area are being rented out for before deciding on a realistic price. This is also why it’s important to be aware of the market your property is in. 4. Consider a short-term lease If you’re on the fence about a candidate because they have very little established credit but do have steady employment (such as a recent graduate), you could ask your property manager about offering them a shorter lease as a trial period. The contract could then be extended or terminated according to both parties’ needs. 5. Check your agent has run a credit check It’s a good idea to include a credit check in the screening process as it is usually safer to choose a tenant who has good established credit. Your property manager should look to see if any late payments by the potential tenant on their previous rental were a one-time deal or persistent, and how recently they occurred. Your property manager should be doing all these checks anyway, but open communication with them will make sure they are doing their due diligence.