As any landlord knows, property management is seldom as it seems at a glance. Many homeowners who plan to let out their property assume that managing tenants and the property itself will be simple and straightforward, without understanding the huge amount of administration and effort that goes into the management of a property. For new landlords hoping to learn how to effectively manage their property in Melbourne, here are a few things to consider when letting out your property to prospective tenants:
Finding the right tenant
This is the first and often the trickiest step when managing a property. A company that has experience in dealing with tenants is able to determine what sort of tenant to avoid and which tenants will be the least problematic, while an inexperienced landlord may not know how to approach this without added stress. Things like background checks, references, suitability and other factors all play a huge role in property management (see our article on tenancy application) to ensure that you find only the best tenants, who do not have a history of rent payment delays, property damage or other factors.
Day to day tenant management
Another huge aspect of the landlord job is dealing with tenants on a regular basis. Landlords may be expected to speak to tenants about rent owing, rent increases, problems in the area, noise complaints, any items that need repair and many other issues that may arise on a daily basis. Having to always be on call can be demanding and extremely stressful to many landlords, especially those who have full-time jobs in addition to managing their property. Note that this is a worse case scenario, many tenants will give you absolutely no trouble and you will only come into contact with them during inspections or on the odd occassion where repairs need to be carried out. However, this is where property companies come in – they are able to deal with any petty issues that arise, leaving landlords free to focus on the bigger issues without having to worry about being bothered throughout the week with small complaints.
Property maintenance and upkeep
Yet another aspect of managing a property in Melbourne is the property maintenance and repairs that arise. Landlords often under-estimate the level of work and patience that this requires, from dealing with the tenant and addressing their queries, all the way through to finding a repairman to fix the problem at stake, and getting the best quote too. Then the landlord needs to liaise with the tenant to ensure that they will be at the premises when the repairman is due – all of which can result in a huge amount of time and sometimes, frustration. You also need to be aware of the tenancy laws to know which repairs you as a landlord are obligated to undertake.
Rent payments and other issues
How do you go about ensuring that rent is paid on time each month? This is huge factor when it comes to managing a property, and with many tenants lapsing on payments (especially as the holiday period arrives at the time of writing this article) it can become a huge chore to keep track of who has paid their rent. This is one of the biggest values of a property management company – they are able to keep track of rent and all other aspects, ensuring that landlords can focus on the profits rather than the day to day stress. A good property manager will have procedures in place to reduce the risk of non-payment.
Regular and thorough inspection of your property
As a landlord you do not have the right to ‘pop in’ to inspect your property whenever you are in the area however you are entitled to carry out regular, scheduled inspections at a time suitable to both yourself and your tenants. Property management is about keeping an eye on areas coming up for repair and to make sure your tenants are happy with their home, it is also about ensuring your tenants treat your property clean, undamaged and up to a standard outlined in your tenancy agreement. Use check lists, your camera and a good eye for detail to ensure your property is being cared for and to catch any signs of possibly damage early.
Are you the landlord or a tenant? Share your ideas on how a landlord can best manage his property.