RENTING AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As a tenant there are a number of responsibilities that you have. It is important that you are aware of these so that confusion and disputes can be minimised. The following is a helpful guide to help you stay informed and enjoy your home. Please note that the conditions set out in your lease (also known as the Residential Tenancy Agreement) should always be your first port of call.
It is strongly suggested that you take out insurance on your contents. The insurance of house hold goods is not the Landlord’s responsibility.
If there is a problem with the keys that you have been provided with then you are required to advise us within 72 hours of handover. Otherwise, the replacement or repair of locks will be at your cost.
Under Section 102 (RTA Act), noise must be kept within the legal limits, particularly between 11pm and 8am. This is of special note to tenants in townhouses or unit complexes where noise at all times must be controlled.
Unless the prior permission of the Landlord is obtained through the Property Manager, NO pets are allowed on your property (this includes pet sitting). If pets are approved, they will be noted on your Residential Tenancy Agreement, and must be strictly kept outside (unless, once again, prior agreement has been reached).
Any additional or new pet other than that noted on your Residential Tenancy Agreement requires the permission of your Property Manager.
Under no circumstances are pets allowed in townhouses or units as it is often against the Body-Corporate by-laws. You can check with your Property Manager as to whether pets are allowed, but generally speaking, most townhouses and units do not allow pets other than birds or fish tanks.
If a dog or cat is allowed in a rental property then we specifically request that they be registered with the council and a tag indicating this must be worn at all times. Any damage caused to the property by a pet will be the tenant’s responsibility.
If pets are allowed the Residential Tenancy Agreement will have a clause indicating that a flea treatment (internal and external) must also be done at the end of the tenancy and a receipt provided upon vacating.
If smoke alarm batteries fail during your tenancy it is the tenant’s responsibility to change them. A professional tradesperson will be engaged by the Property Manager to test and clean the smoke detector within 60 days of your tenancy agreement commencing at no cost to you as a tenant.
Parking & Care of Premises
Vehicles must not be parked on either the footpath or the lawns. Vehicles are to be parked on the driveway or in the designated parking space (eg garage).
In Body Corporate situations, there is only provision for one vehicle, and visitors should park in the visitors’ car park.
Oil stains on driveways are the responsibility of the tenant to clean and remove. Unregistered vehicles should not be kept at your property unless they are properly garaged, fully assembled and the only vehicle owned by you unless written permission is granted by the Landlord.
Lawns and Gardens
Unless your lease provides that gardens will be the Landlord’s responsibility, you must keep gardens and lawns weeded and in good repair (this includes trees and shrubs). Lawns should be mowed and gardens weeded once per fortnight in summer and every three to four weeks in the middle of winter. Tenants must adhere to council water restrictions in regards to watering gardens and lawns. Take care not to store equipment, boxes or rubbish in the yard as it kills the lawn and encourages pests.
Taps washers/Stove Elements
In general you’re not responsible for tap washers or stove elements as these last many years. However, you should note that where unreasonable wear and tear were to occur, eg taps being turned off with more force than required or stove elements being damaged by pots boiling over where either water or other cooking liquids have burnt onto them, this would then be considered your responsibility and, as such the cost of repair or replacement will be passed onto the tenant.
Hot Water Systems
In most properties – whether it be fed by electricity or gas – your hot water system will be a storage unit. As a rule of thumb, they will need to be topped up every three months. This is done by opening the valve at the top of the unit until water flows out BEWARE this water will be very very hot!! This is the primary cause for loss of hot water, particularly in winter.
Excessive Water Usage
Section 90(1A) of 91A of your Residential Tenancy Agreement requires that you will be responsible for any excessive water charge levied to your Landlord or any water charge levied to your Landlord beyond an agreed limit as per your Tenancy Agreement. Excess water can only be charged to tenants whose properties are individually metered.
Under your Essential Terms and Conditions you are not permitted to place any picture hooks on the interior walls of your property without prior written permission from the Landlord. Tacks in particular make a mess of the walls and are not allowed. Damage caused will require sanding and repainting at your cost.
Breach of Tenancy
Take note of the advice regarding breach of tenancy in the Residential Tenancies Authority Form 17a – Information Statement. Generally speaking, if you decide to break your lease and leave early, you will be responsible for payment of rent up to and including the day the new tenant commences their tenancy.
In addition, it is your responsibility to pay the Landlord’s costs in re-letting the property (normally equivalent to one week rent plus GST) and the cost of re-advertising required.
Wheelie Bins & New Properties
If your bin requires repairs, or if you are a tenant in a new property and need to organise a wheelie bin, you need to contact your local City Council.
When you move in both you and the Landlord/Agent need to complete an Entry Condition Report (Form 1a) given to you by the Real Property Management Australia. This is a record of the condition of the property at the start of your tenancy. Complete the Entry Condition Report and return a signed copy to Real Property Management Australia within 5 days after the first date of your tenancy agreement. (Note: if not returned within 5 days you will forego you rights of notation of the Condition Report at the commencement of tenancy; it is therefore in your best interests to fill it in and return it promptly). Keep your copy in a safe place; it’s your evidence about the condition of the property when you moved in, it will protect your bond (See protecting your bond).
You can expect Routine Inspections of your property to be carried out every 3-4 months unless otherwise agreed with your Landlord. You will be advised of these inspections at least 7 days prior in writing. You are not required to be present at these inspections. We have a key to your property and will do the inspection in your absence. To help us with our inspection, please leave a message on your kitchen bench with a list of any items which require attention.
RPMA prefers rent payments to be via direct deposit into our trust account. You will be given the details of this account when you are approved for the property.
If you are experiencing difficulties paying rent, please contact us so that we can assist you in working out a mutually acceptable solution.
Please note it is our standard policy to take the following course of action for Rent Arrears;
2+ days late – a text message
4+ days late – a phone call from us
8+ days late – RTA Form 11 – Notice to Remedy Breach
8+ days + Form 11 issued = Form 12 – Notice to Leave
If you are given a Notice to Leave and there is still rent outstanding we will have no choice but to commence legal proceedings. The cost of these proceedings will be added to the amount you owe.
Caring For Your New Home
Here are some general tips to help you use and care for the hot water system and electrical appliances in your property.
If you don’t have power, check that your safety switch hasn’t tripped. If it has, reset it according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the switch. If it trips again you should remove all appliances with a plug from the power points, making sure that all points are switched off. Reset the safety switch, replug all appliances one at a time until the safety switch trips again. This will pinpoint the faulty appliance. If you have a power board that is old style fuses and not circuit breakers, you should not attempt to change a fuse unless you are experienced and have turned the main switch to the power board off while replacing the fuse.
If you don’t have power, and the above checks have failed, check with your neighbours to see if they have power and call your electricity supplier.
Loss of Hot Water
If your hot water system seems to be running out of hot water quickly check to see if your system needs topping up (Not all systems have this facility). For instructions on how to top up your hot water refer to the above notes on Hot Water Systems.
Electric – If the oven is not heating, check to see if the indicator light is on; if not, the oven may have switched to automatic. Refer to the instruction booklet to reset the oven to manual cooking; the light should come on and the oven will work. If not, contact us to get a tradesperson to attend.
Gas – you should contact us to arrange a tradesperson for any gas oven faults.
N.B to avoid confusion please check that all invoices to your electricity or gas supplier are up to date. If we get a tradesperson out and the issue is non-payment to your supplier we will look to you to pay the tradesperson’s invoice.
Very few of our rentals include a washing machine. If your apartment does come with a washing machine, please ensure that it has been cleaned and a rinse through (i.e. a cycle with no clothes in it) performed before contacting us for repair.
Please ensure that the lint filter has been cleaned out before contacting us for a service on the dryer. Most modern dryers require the lint filter to be cleaned at least once a week.
If your garbage disposal unit isn’t disposing of waste, check it is not jammed.
TO FREE FOREIGN OBJECT – METHOD A
- Turn the unit OFF at the power point and remove the plug top.
- Remove the blockage and un-jam with the key supplied.
- The re-set button may have tripped. The button is located under the unit and is usually red. Press the button, re-fit the plug top.
- Turn the disposal unit on to test.
TO FREE FOREIGN OBJECT – METHOD B
- Turn the unit OFF as in Method A, then turn the cold water OFF and insert one end of the Self-Service wrench ( provided with the disposal unit) into the centre hole at the bottom of the unit.
- Turn the wrench until it moves freely for at least one complete revolution or circle. Remove foreign objects with kitchen tongs.
- Make sure you remove wrench and tongs.
- Wait 3-5 minutes for the unit to cool, then press the red reset button (as in Method A). Turn on the disposal unit to test.
Regular vacuuming slows down the wear and tear and prevents everyday dirt and soil from causing unnecessary damage. Vacuum thoroughly (5-7 passes over one area) at least once a week. Heavy traffic areas (ie hallways) may need vacuuming twice a week.
Please don’t iron directly on the carpet.
DAMAGE TO CARPETS
- If you spot a loop or tuft of carpet that has pulled out, please refrain from trying to pull out a sprouting yarn. This result may be an unattractive run in the carpet, which can be expensive to fix. INSTEAD cut off the pulled loop level with the rest of the carpet, using sharp scissors (blunt scissors cause fraying).
- With wall-to-wall carpets, high humidity can cause a rippling effect. If it remains after the humidity has left, contact your Property Manager for a professional assessment of the damage.
- Where burn marks ie from cigarettes have occurred on carpets, these in many cases can be repaired but should not be attempted by yourself, but by professional repairers. This can be arranged by your Property Manager, minimising the cost to you as tenants by having the job professionally done.
- Act immediately, if there’s a spill or accident and you will help minimise the stain. Here’s 5 simple steps to follow;
- SCOOP up any solids before cleaning.
- BLOT as much liquid as possible with clean white towelling or paper towel.
- CLEAN. Apply cleaning agent to a clean towel, NOT directly on the carpet.
- RINSE with cold or lukewarm water, but don’t saturate.
- BLOT DRY with absorbent material such as paper towel or use a cold air fan to complete drying.
REMEMBER; DO NOT rub or scrub the area. Start from the outer edge and work your way towards the centre.
When you’ve decided you will be moving, you will need to give your Property Manager a minimum of two weeks written notice of intention to leave. The date you vacate cannot be sooner than the end of your tenancy agreement or before the expiry of the two weeks from the date of issue. You should use a RTA – Form 13 for giving notice.
When you hand in your keys, you must supply us with details of your forwarding address (this is in accordance with Section 115 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1994). A post box number is not sufficient. If you don’t supply a correct address, you may be liable for a $1500 fine, of which application for enforcement will be pursued by Real Property Management Australia.
Rent will be charged (minimum) up to and including the day you hand your keys in to our office. All final inspections will be carried out after you have completely vacated the property and returned the keys to our office.