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Thinking of becoming a landlord? Here’s what you need to know

By Monica Boyd

Top reasons to ‘rentvest’

Here’s some tips as to whether renting and investing is for you.  There is more to being a landlord than unblocking the sink, collecting the rent and watching your investment grow. Here are some tips for successfully renting your property.

Going it alone

It is possible to manage your own property but it can be hard work, time consuming and may not fit around your work and family commitments.

“Make sure everything is in writing from the agent or the tenant if you are self-managing” says Nicole Ciantar, director at Vogue Real Estate in Castle Hill, Sydney.

There are many things to consider before handing over the keys to your house. Photo: Stocksy, Jovana Milanko

Living close to your rental property is a huge advantage. Tenants will expect you to deal with a problem straight away and not when it suits you. I once had a series of 3am phone calls from a tenant 80 kilometres away telling me that the lady upstairs had woken her because she was vacuuming. It wasn’t long before I engaged a property management service.

Find trustworthy handymen and tradespeople for the jobs you can’t do

Build good relationships with professional tradespeople. You will need them to respond quickly when there are urgent repairs as well as completing good quality work at a reasonable price.

Find good tenants

If possible meet your future tenants. They might sound good on paper but meeting them face to face is the best way to find out all about them.

“Landlords should always ask and verify that all references have been checked and vetted over the phone. Positive references are a great indicator of a quality tenant” says Karina Reed, manager of the property management department at Hockingstuart, Glen Iris, Victoria.

Use a property management service

“If you are already busy with a full-time job and spare time is at a premium, then you may find it overwhelming when you need to run inspections, do condition reports, organise repairs, attend tribunals” says Andrew Cook, marketing manager at Mint360property in Sydney.

Having a property manager will also avoid you having to engage in awkward conversations about why the rent hasn’t been paid.

Research property management agencies within close proximity of your investment property, says Reed. “The reason why you want to opt for a local agent is because they will have in-depth knowledge about the local area, buyer demographics, the best marketing tools and competition in the area.”

Renting out your own home

“If an owner leases out a property they have lived in prior, it’s important to remove any emotional attachments because a home will not return in the same condition and will naturally be subject to wear and tear,” advises Reed.

Get property insurance

Make sure you take out a landlord insurance policy to protect your property and contents says Ciantar and ensure the bond is lodged with the Rental Bond Board and not the agent’s or owner’s pocket she adds. You can opt for additional insurance cover against rent default.

Not everyone will look after your property. I once had tenants ride a motorbike around the living room of an investment property. I was able to replace the carpets through my landlord insurance.

Comply with your legal obligations

“Be aware of the rules and responsibilities which bind tenants as well as landlords” says Reed. “I always recommend landlords have a grasp of even the most basic consumer affairs laws relating to rental properties as well as informing them of their maintenance obligations.”

Sandy Smith

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