Water, Gardens, Pets, Smoke Detectors & Safety Switches

Water – Landlords now have the ability to charge tenants for water usage (not access charges) provided the home meets certain criteria: the premises are individually metered for water; and the premises are water efficient. To be compliant with the water efficiency level set out in the Regulation, toilets, showerheads and internal cold water taps must have a 3 star rating or higher under the Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards Scheme (WELS)  In order to prove to tenants the home does meet the water efficiency criteria it may be prudent to obtain such certification from a licenced plumber . To collect the charges from the tenant the lessor/agent will also be required to provide the tenant with documentation, such as a copy of the bill, showing the amount that is to be paid. The tenant then has one month to make payment

Gardens – A tenant is only obliged to mow, weed and edge lawns and garden. Tenants are not required to prune, cutback or attend to any maintenance in areas that may be onerous/dangerous to access. In addition tenants are not obliged to nurture any newly established landscaping. Landlords therefore may be well advised to budget for the cost of pruning and providing maintenance for areas such as steep embankments or narrow areas above retaining walls/rock features.

Pets – We have noticed a significant increase in the number of tenants who have pets. A blanket refusal to consider applications with pets most certainly reduces the target market of potential tenants. Being open minded on the subject may well give you the leading edge in what has become a very competitive market place.  We do obtain references on the pets and do explain to tenants their responsibilities. We have experienced very few problems that have arisen as a result of pets and these have all been resolvable.

Instruction Manuals – Please provide us with instruction manuals for any appliances including stoves, dishwashers, air-cons, alarm and irrigations systems. Tenants are not always able to figure out timers on stoves; different setting on air-cons etc, and this would then require a callout (at your expense) from a professional to explain.

Smoke Detectors & Safety Switches – Please also remember changes to legislation that now requires all rented homes to be fitted with a safety switch to all power points.  Additionally all homes must be fitted with smoke detectors. Lessors are also required by legislation to test and clean detectors within 30 days of every tenancy commencing as well as being required to change batteries when made aware the batteries are spent or almost spent. These obligations cannot be passed onto the tenant.