Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a Question about Renting Property?

The information contained in this page is intended as a general guide for owners, tenants, and anyone else dealing with rental properties in Queensland.

Just enter your question or key words in the search query below.

While every effort is made to keep the information as accurate as possible, it is always advisable to seek confirmation for your particular situation.


 

A. Hiring a Managing Agent (1)

Just like there are competent and incompetent people in every profession, there are excellent managing agents and useless ones. Hiring an incompetent agent is worse than managing the property yourself because you are led to believe all is being taken care of when it isn’t.nnHere’s the problem – Real Estate agents are expert self-promoters – it’s how they win sales listings. They have slick websites and tell you everything you want to hear – how good they are at marketing, finding tenants, arrears management, property inspections.. etc etc.nnBut you don’t have to take their word for it – it is easy to find out how true any of this is.

Following is a list of 10 things you can actually verify for yourself when choosing a managing agent:

1. What priority does the office place on their Property Management section? Check the company website and note as a percentage how much space is devoted to Property Management. You may also notice that this section is placed AFTER the Sales section, indicating that Property Management plays second fiddle to Sales.

2. What kind of staff do they employ in their Property Management Department?
Look at the Property Management Department section on their website and see if they are proud to tell you who works there and provide a photo. Does the staff have the experience and ability you believe they should have? Be aware who will be taking care of your property and ask yourself if this fills you with confidence.

3. Does the Principal/Business Owner know anything about Property Management?
Check their website and read the Principal’s bio. Does it mention any experience in Property Management? Note that the typical real estate office is headed by a Sales Principal who knows very little about managing properties. Even the ‘specialist’ Property Management agencies are often headed by a business person who has never managed a property. Is this important to you? Don’t you think that the head of the company which manages your property should know what is involved and be able to train their staff accordingly?

4. How effective is their marketing?
Check online to see how they advertise rental properties. Look for any errors in the text or inadequate descriptions. Look at all the photos and rate how they present the property. Would you like your property to be advertised like this to potential tenants?

5. How easy is it to apply for a rental property?
Do some ‘mystery shopping’ and make an enquiry with one of their available rental properties. You can see from the tenant’s point of view if the agent makes it an easy process and provides professional service that reflects your valuable investment.

6. How many vacant properties do they have?
Look at the availability date of all of the agency’s rental listings. ‘Available Now’ means the property is vacant and the owner is losing rental income. In most cases, properties should be advertised well before the tenants vacate, so that tenants can be secured BEFORE the property is vacant. If a high proportion of the agency’s properties on the rental market are actually vacant, this is a tell-tale sign of a lack in the agency’s procedures, pro-activity, and efficiency throughout the office. It also means that your property may remain vacant for longer than it should be.

7. How efficient is their office?
Your initial enquiry into the agency’s property management services is the first test of whether procedures are in place and working. Is your enquiry answered within 24 hours? Are all your questions answered professionally and truthfully? Do they follow through with what they say they will do? Do they follow up after the first contact? If this is not done when you are a POTENTIAL client, how can you expect any more once you are an ACTUAL client?

8. What do their clients say about them?
Most agencies feature testimonials on their websites. Unfortunately, you need to be wary of the authenticity of these, but you can spot the genuine ones. Look for a common theme, simple non-industry specific language, and an underlying emotional content. And look for the number of posts – there should be at least 20.

9. How ‘Tech Savvy’ are they?
Technology has revolutionised our industry, enabling Property Managers to provide a higher standard of service and complete their duties more efficiently. Your best representative will be the one who has kept up with these changes. Is the agency’s website kept up to date? Can you see recent blogs or newsletter articles? Do they offer an online portal where you can access information about your property 24/7? Do they use an online inspection booking system that tracks all rental enquiries so you don’t miss out on good tenants?

10. What kind of negotiators are they?
A good agent will negotiate on your behalf to get the highest rental price from the best tenants, the most competitive price from contractors, and the best outcome in tenancy dispute matters. All you need to ask an agent is ‘Will you discount your fees?’ If they do, they are telling you that they do not value their own service and they are lousy negotiators.

C. Starting a Tenancy (6)

The General Tenancy Agreement (‘Lease’) is a legal document that is governed by strict legislation.

If a special condition is added that contradicts the legislation, the legislation overrides the special condition which becomes null and void.

Owners should therefore be very careful about what special conditions are written into lease agreements, and how to word them. You should engage a solicitor to word these, as an Agent is not qualified to do so.

No, they don’t.nnA Management Agreement states that the agent can sign official RTA forms on the owner’s behalf. Therefore, where there is provision for the ‘Owner’ to sign, the Agent signs as their representative.

In some states in Australia, it is common practice to take a ‘Pet Bond’ which can be used at the end of the lease to pay for any damage caused by pets.nnin Queensland we are NOT permitted to take extra bond money for pets.

The short answer is ‘No’.nnRental property owners are subject to anti-discrimination laws that state you cannot refuse a tenant based on such factors as religion, sex, and age.nnIf your property is more suited to a certain section of the community – such as retirees or families – this should be promoted in the advertising which will make your property more attractive to these types of tenants.

nnAs property managers, it’s not uncommon to receive phone calls from a neighbour with a complaint that one of our tenants is being too noisy.nnOne of the most common questions we’re asked regarding noise complaints is, ‘what are you going to do about it?’nnThe reality is that as agents, we aren’t responsible for the actions of our tenants and are under no obligation to act simply because a complaint has been made. When living in a rental property, tenants are obliged to not disturb the peace, comfort or privacy of their neighbours. In other words, the neighbours are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property. However, it’s important to note that ‘quiet enjoyment’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘not noisy’.nnThere are a lot of activities that people may take part in which may create noise, and yet would not be deemed unreasonable. For example, if your neighbours want to have a party and have loud music playing, that’s not grounds for a noise complaint, as long as the volume isn’t at an unreasonable level and doesn’t carry on well into the morning.nnThe first thing we always advise is to directly discuss the matter with the tenant in question. If this does not lead to a resolution, then the neighbour should proceed to make a complaint with the police or the council authority. If we receive repeated written complaints about one of our tenants from several neighbours, this may indicate that there is a bigger issue to resolve and we would seek instructions from the owner of the property as to how they wish to proceed.nnNote that if the tenant is an owner occupier, there is no recourse available through a property manager or the RTA, as there is no tenancy agreement in place, and tenancy laws will not apply.nnIt’s also important to know that if the property is in a building complex, the tenant may be breaking Body Corporate by-laws. In this case, the complaint should be made directly to the Body Corporate for further action, rather than the property manager.nn 

When searching for a rental property, you may find that different agencies handle the application process differently. This may be dependent on their internal processes, staffing levels, type of properties, or current market conditions.nnMost agencies prefer you to view the property before you submit an application form. In this way, you can save time by applying for the properties that you are definitely interested in.nnSome agencies require you to submit an application form BEFORE you view the property. These agencies will advise you of this up front.

D. Lease Agreement (3)

The General Tenancy Agreement (‘Lease’) is a legal document that is governed by strict legislation.

If a special condition is added that contradicts the legislation, the legislation overrides the special condition which becomes null and void.

Owners should therefore be very careful about what special conditions are written into lease agreements, and how to word them. You should engage a solicitor to word these, as an Agent is not qualified to do so.

No, they don’t.nnA Management Agreement states that the agent can sign official RTA forms on the owner’s behalf. Therefore, where there is provision for the ‘Owner’ to sign, the Agent signs as their representative.

The short answer is ‘No’.nnRental property owners are subject to anti-discrimination laws that state you cannot refuse a tenant based on such factors as religion, sex, and age.nnIf your property is more suited to a certain section of the community – such as retirees or families – this should be promoted in the advertising which will make your property more attractive to these types of tenants.

E. Rental Bond (1)

No, they don’t.nnA Management Agreement states that the agent can sign official RTA forms on the owner’s behalf. Therefore, where there is provision for the ‘Owner’ to sign, the Agent signs as their representative.

F. During a Tenancy (2)

This is a common misconception among owners. Some agents even write this into their lease agreements. Unfortunately, this is contracting out of the Act, and a lease with these conditions would not stand up in Court.nnWhile we can REQUEST a tenant to pay fortnightly, or be two weeks in advance, the Legislation does NOT allow us to enforce this. In fact, the first legal step we can take is when the tenant’s rent becomes 7 clear days in arrears.

The tenancy laws concerning times and frequency of owner/agent inspections are quite rigid. This is to allow the tenants ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property in which they are living.nnIn a nutshell, an Owner can’t just turn up at his/her property and request entry. The following terms must be adhered to:n

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  1. The tenants are to be given 7 clear days’ written notice on the appropriate RTA form.
  2. n

  3. The Owner or Agent must not have performed a property inspection within the past 3 months.
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nIf the Owner or Agent fails to adhere to these terms, the tenant has the right to refuse entry and/or issue a Breach Notice to the Owner.

G. Rent (1)

This is a common misconception among owners. Some agents even write this into their lease agreements. Unfortunately, this is contracting out of the Act, and a lease with these conditions would not stand up in Court.nnWhile we can REQUEST a tenant to pay fortnightly, or be two weeks in advance, the Legislation does NOT allow us to enforce this. In fact, the first legal step we can take is when the tenant’s rent becomes 7 clear days in arrears.

H. Inspections & Entry (1)

The tenancy laws concerning times and frequency of owner/agent inspections are quite rigid. This is to allow the tenants ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property in which they are living.nnIn a nutshell, an Owner can’t just turn up at his/her property and request entry. The following terms must be adhered to:n

    n

  1. The tenants are to be given 7 clear days’ written notice on the appropriate RTA form.
  2. n

  3. The Owner or Agent must not have performed a property inspection within the past 3 months.
  4. n

nIf the Owner or Agent fails to adhere to these terms, the tenant has the right to refuse entry and/or issue a Breach Notice to the Owner.

J. Selling a Tenanted Property (1)

This is an extremely contentious issue, because the wording in the legislation of the notice periods required can be misleading.nnThe first thing to remember is that the Lease Agreement overrides all other contracts – including Sales Contracts. Therefore, the Lease must be seen through to completion unless there is a written agreement from all parties for early termination of the Lease.nnWritten Notice to be given by the Owner:nnFor Fixed-Term Lease Agreements – at least 2 months OR the expiry of the lease – whichever is the latter.nnFor Periodic Lease Agreements – at least 28 days upon the completion of a contract of sale.


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