There are over 2 million individual property investors in Australia, CoreLogic data shows. The vast majority of these speculators only own one property, meaning they're either casual investors or beginners.
If you count yourself as a beginner, or if you're a little fuzzy on the finer details of tenant law, you could be exposed to extra costs or disputes. Make sure you're covering all your bases by checking out these three obscure things Melbourne landlords need to know.
1. Water and power must be separately metered
If power and water are not separately metered, as is often the case in flats or apartments, those bills are the responsibility of the landlord not the tenant. What's more, if your tenant has paid these they are entitled to be reimbursed by you within 28 days.
Always check how the power and water meters are set up before purchasing an investment.
To avoid this confusion always check how the power and water meters are set up before purchasing an investment. If the property doesn't have a separate meter you can build the costs of these services into the rent.
2. Tenants can arrange their own urgent repairs
If your tenants need an urgent repair and they can't get ahold of you right away they can arrange their own repairs up to the value of $1,800.
Your tenants must then send you a notice including the details and cost of the repairs, with a receipt attached for proof. Provided the costs are reasonable you are then liable to reimburse them the full cost within 14 days.
To avoid this happening and to ensure you have full control of all repairs:
- Make sure you or your property manager are easily contactable on an emergency number.
- Undertake regular maintenance to minimise the need for emergency repairs.
Doing so could save you money: by using your own tradesmen, avoiding unexpected landlord costs, or even by removing the need for emergency repairs entirely.
3. Rules around rent increases in Melbourne
The market here is extremely tight so most tenants will accept rent increases. However, according to Legal Aid Victoria and the rules around rent Increases in Melbourne they don't have to if:
- The increase is too much compared to comparable local rental properties.
- The owner has reduced or withdrawn services or facilities that are part of the premises.
If these criteria apply your tenant can request a rent assessment from Consumer Affairs Victoria and take you to the tribunal, where a committee may limit the maximum rent. Avoid this inconvenience by always consulting with a professional property manager you can trust before increasing rent.
For more useful tips and things to watch out for speak to a local Melbourne property manager or real estate agent today.