Renting Tips

RENTING TIPS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RENTING

 

Here at Burleigh Miami Realty we are committed to helping you create your own perfect Lifestyle Property Solution. So come prepared to create our perfect lifestyle. The better prepared you are the more we can help you. Bring references, and all the supporting documents you have like rent receipts to show you are a great tenant.

 

So click on the link to tenancy forms, fill in the form and we will email them back to you.

 

Communication is the way to a great relationship.

 

Here are a few of the things that you should consider when looking for a property to rent:

 

  • Is the property suitable for your needs (do you have pets or small children that require fenced yards? Do you need to be close to public transport?)
  • Are you readily available to inspect or move into a property?
  • Have you provided as much information as possible with your application for the Landlords consideration? Just like us, our landlords are committed to communication.

 

For further information about tenancies read all the great information REIQ set out below.

The information below is designed to assist you with some general information about the rights and responsibilities of tenants. Please refer to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) for further information.

 

Beginning a tenancy

 

At the beginning of a tenancy, the tenant is required to:

 

  • sign a written tenancy agreement (Form 18a) that includes the standard terms and any additional special terms;
  • receive a copy of the Form 17a. The lessor/agent is required by law to give this booklet to every tenant in Queensland;
  • complete an ‘Entry Condition Report’, Form 1a and return a signed copy to the lessor/agent within three days of taking possession of the rental premises; and
  • pay a bond and commonly the first two weeks’ rent.

 

There are two types of tenancy agreements – a fixed term and a periodic. A fixed term has a definite start date and a definite end date. A periodic tenancy has a start date and no definite end date. The rights and obligations for both parties are the same regardless of what type of tenancy is in place. However, the only difference is the notice period to terminate the tenancy. In regards to ending the tenancy, please refer to ending a tenancy section. However, in order to increase the rent during a fixed term agreement, the increase must be written in the special terms of the tenancy agreement. The agreement must state the amount and dates in which the increase will take effect from. In addition, two months’ written notice must be given to the tenant to remind them of the rent increase. If the increase is not written in the terms, the increase can not take effect until the end of the fixed term agreement. For a periodic tenancy, two months written notice must be given. For further information regarding rent increases, refer to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) website. The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act states that rent cannot be increased during a six-month tenancy.

 

The entry condition report could be said to be one of the most important documents in a tenancy. The successful and thorough completion by both parties will go a long way to ensuring that the end of the tenancy will go smoothly and satisfactorily for both parties. Begin with the end in mind. The entry condition report is a record of the property’s condition at the commencement of the tenancy. This report is used at the end of the tenancy. The property must be returned to the lessor/agent in the same condition it was in the beginning, fair wear and tear excepted. It is good practice for the lessor/agent and the tenant to complete this form together on or before occupation day, however this is not possible in most cases. However it is a legislative requirement for the lessor/agent to complete the form and give one signed copy to the tenant on the day they take possession of the premises, or the day they give the tenant the agreement for signing. Commonly it is the day the tenant moves in.

 

The tenant has three days in which to return the signed entry condition report to the lessor/agent noting any changes, additions or comments regarding the property. It is crucial at this point that both parties discuss any areas of concern and come to some agreement to help eliminate any dispute at the end of the tenancy.

 

It is very important to mention that the tenant is responsible for their own contents insurance. Some tenants believe that their belongings are covered under the lessor’s insurance, this is not correct.

 

Rents, bonds & other expenses

 

Most lessors/agents will require a tenant to pay a bond at the beginning of the tenancy. As per the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act, the bond can be no more than four times the weekly rent if the rent is $700 or less per week. However if the weekly rent is more than $700, there is no limit on the bond that can be charged. The lessor/agent must forward the bond monies to the RTA within 10 days of receiving the monies. The tenant will receive a receipt from the RTA acknowledging receipt of the monies from the lessor/agent. The bond will be refunded at the end of the tenancy if all obligations of the tenant have been met. Example: rent is paid up until the end date, and the property is not damaged. Should the tenant dispute a claim made against the bond by the lessor/agent, the matter can be discussed with the RTA’s dispute resolution service.

 

Most lessor/agents require tenants to pay their rent in advance. However the lessor/agent can not request the tenant to pay more than one months rent in advance for a fixed term agreement, or more than two weeks in advance for a periodic agreement. The tenant can pay more rent in advance if they wish too, however tenants cannot be asked to pay more rent until the rent paid in advance has been used up.

 

The tenant will also be required to pay for expenses such as services connected to the property, like gas, electricity and telephone. How water is to be charged must be stated on the special terms of the tenancy agreement. If the premises are individually metered for water, the property is deemed water efficient, and there is a special term in the agreement, a lessor can pass on the total water consumption charges to a tenant. Refer to the RTA website for more information.

 

In some cases, a tenant living in a unit or flat may find that there is only one bill for electricity, meaning that the service is not individually metered. In this instance, the tenancy agreement must state how the tenant’s share of the costs will be worked out.

 

Ensure that you have your copy of the entry condition report and tenancy agreement in a safe and easily accessible place.

 

Maintenance and access. Lessors are required to maintain the premises in such a way that it is fit for a tenant to live in, and must maintain the premises and inclusions in good repair. Most real estate agents may request the tenant to advise of any routine maintenance in writing to their agency. This is best practice for both parties. The definition of routine repairs according to the Act is “routine repairs” are repairs that are not emergency repairs.

 

The meaning of emergency repairs are works needed to repair any of the following:

 

  • a burst water service
  • a blocked or broken lavatory service
  • 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 resident of the premises
  • a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of premises that unduly inconveniences a resident in gaining access to, or using, the premises.

 

Routine repairs are any matter other than the above mentioned. The lessor/agent must attend to routine maintenance within a reasonable timeframe. If the tenant has any concerns or questions in relation to maintenance, they can contact the RTA on 1300 366 311. Emergency maintenance must be attended to immediately. Please refer to your tenancy agreement for instructions on who to contact if the emergency occurs out of hours.

 

Most agents inspect rental premises every three to four months as per their professional duty to the lessor and to ensure that the premises are maintained in a reasonable condition. The lessor/agent will give no less than seven days written notice on the RTA-approved Form 9, (entry notice) the amount of notice needed depends on the reason for entering the premises.

 

The minimum notice periods are:

 

  • to inspect the premises – seven days (lessor/agent allowed to enter no more than once in a three month period, unless the tenant agrees)
  • to complete routine repairs or carry out maintenance – 24 hours
  • to inspect after repairs or maintenance has been carried out – 24 hours’ notice
  • if you agree; anytime by negotiation
  • to repair or carry out maintenance where the premises is in a remote area and there is a shortage of qualified tradespersons in the area – no notice
  • in an emergency, or to protect the premises from damage – no notice
  • if the lessor/agent believes that the premises is abandoned – 24 hours
  • to show the premises to a prospective tenant or buyer or for valuation purposes – 24 hours ( if the property is for sale, a Form 10 – notice of lessor’s intention to sell must have been issued)
  • by order of the Small Claims Tribunal – as stated in the order.
  • if during a routine general inspection, a notice to remedy has been issued to a tenant for a “significant breach”, a 24-hour re-entry notice can be issued to ensure the breach has been remedied. The re-entry must be done within 14 days of the expiry of the notice to remedy
  • a significant breach is: the tenant using the premises for an illegal purpose; unapproved occupants; unapproved pets; another matter, if the cost of rectifying that matter exceeds one weeks’ rent.

 

The parties may wish to negotiate a time that is suitable to everyone. If entry is for a lawful purpose, the correct notice has been given, and the entry is at a reasonable time the tenant can not refuse entry. Under the Act, the tenant does not have an automatic right to be present when the lessor/agent enters. If you have any concerns or questions regarding entry contact the RTA.

 

If you wish to make any structural changes to the premises, (i.e. install air conditioner or picture hooks etc) you must seek permission from the lessor/agent in writing BEFORE any changes are made. The agreement with the lessor about any structural changes or improvements must be in writing.

 

Tenancy Disputes

 

hould a dispute occur at any stage of your tenancy, it is important to remember that being patient and trying to see your lessor/agent’s point of view may resolve the matter more quickly. Often tenants and lessors can resolve disputes by referring to their rights and responsibilities as set out in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act.

 

If however the dispute continues, the RTA’s dispute resolution service may help. A request for dispute resolution can be made by lodging an RTA Form 16 (dispute resolution request) with the RTA. If the parties can not reach an agreement with the help of the RTA an application can be made to the Small Claims Tribunal for an order about the dispute.

 

For more information contact
Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)
Level 23
179 Turbot Street
Brisbane Queensland

 

OR

 

GPO Box 390
Brisbane QLD 4001
Ph: 1300 366 311
Fax: 07 3046 5266
Website: www.rta.qld.gov.au

 

Small Claims Tribunal
179 North Quay Street
Brisbane Qld 4700
Ph: 07 3247 4578

 

Ending a tenancy

 

How to end your tenancy agreement with the lessor/agent depends on what type of tenancy agreement you currently have. For a fixed term tenancy, you are bound by the terms until the tenancy ends. You are required to give 14 days notice on or before the date the tenancy ends on the approved Form 13 (Notice of Intention to Leave). The lessor/agent is required to provide two months’ written notice, using a Form 12 (Notice to Leave). However if the tenant wishes to end the tenancy earlier, commonly referred to as a ‘break lease’ situation, they may be required to pay rent up until the lease ends or when a suitable replacement tenant is found, whichever comes first.

 

There may be costs associated with breaking your lease, such as letting commissions and advertising costs, refer to your agent for more details. However if the tenancy is periodic, the lessor/agent is required to give two months written notice on the approved Form 12 (Notice to Leave). The tenant on a periodic lease can give 14 days written notice on a Form 13 at any stage. The tenant is required to complete an exit condition report upon vacating the premises and supply the lessor/agent with a signed copy of the exit report as soon as practicable after the agreement ends.

 

The lessor/agent has three business days in which to sign the copies and if they do not agree, indicate the parts of the report not agreed with. At the end of the tenancy the tenant is required to give the lessor/agent a forwarding address, unless the tenant has a reasonable excuse for not doing so. As per the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct, the agent must give the tenant a reasonable time to fix any items that may require attention. Also if you wish to attend the final vacate, contact your property manager to make an appointment.

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