Rent rises, parting with pets and other common tenant fears

Regardless of why people rent, there are still some common issues and fears. As a landlord, it’s wise to be aware of these fears so you can either prevent or address them before they become a major issue.

Good tenants are worth hanging on to. After all, they are paying your mortgage and looking after your property. If you lose a tenant, the property may sit empty and not earn you an income while you look for a new tenant.

Some tenant fears include:

Cancelling the lease

Having a lease cancelled or not renewed is probably the biggest fear for tenants who are happy in their home.

Sometimes, you can’t anticipate when you need to sell or develop the property, so ideally you should give tenants as much notice as possible of your intentions to give them plenty of time to make alternative plans.

Unexpected or unreasonable rises in rent

As a landlord, you are entitled to increase the rent from time to time, and generally tenants are aware they will have rent reviews; but be reasonable and think it through. Does the property need maintenance? If so, can you really justify a rent increase? Tenants do have rights and if the tenant believes the rent increase is unreasonable, they may request an assessment from the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Legally, you also need to give your tenant sufficient warning there is going to be an increase. The NSW Residential Tenancy Act state when and how often rent can be increased. For example, when renewing a lease or if the tenant is on an extended lease 60 days notice is required.

Sometimes, if you have a good tenant, it’s not worth putting the rent up by another ten dollars a week. What appears to be a gain may end up being a loss when your tenant leaves and the property is sat empty while you look for new tenants.

Blacklisting

Being put on the Tenancy databases, often referred to as ‘blacklisting’ is a very common fear for tenants.

Once again under the Tenancy Act they have set guidelines on this which includes only listing a tenant should NCAT have made orders that money is owed and remains unpaid.

Legally you can’t ‘blacklist’ a tenant if, for instance they are making reasonable requests to have the property properly maintained.

It’s within your interest anyway to keep your property maintained and in good working order to avoid more expense later down the track. Plus a well-maintained property generally attracts higher quality tenants and many maintenance and repairs costs are tax deductible.

Parting with pets

Many potential tenants do have pets, and many tenants do want a pet. In some properties, such as strata titled properties, animals are not permitted. However, if your property does permit animals, consenting to pets in your property will make it attractive to more tenants when you’re advertising.

It may also be worth considering allowing your current good tenant to have a pet if they ask; they may think about leaving and look for a pet-friendly property elsewhere. As a result, you’re back to finding new tenants.

You can make stipulations, like having the property sprayed for fleas when they leave, most
pet-loving tenants are willing to pay this.

Losing bond money

As bond money is generally four weeks’ rent, losing bond money for a tenant is a big issue.

General wear and tear is not a reason to withhold bond money, but it can be retained if, for instance, there is unpaid rent or damage.

If the tenant has been a good tenant, paid their rent on time and generally looked after the property, it might be worth overlooking that small stain on the carpet and put any cleaning expense as a tax deduction, particularly if it’s you who’s ended the agreement.

It’s always nice to end a tenancy agreement on good terms.

Want to know more about what tenants worry about or have any questions? We’ve been managing property for over 40 years, and our knowledgeable and experienced team is keen to help you get the best out of your investment property.

Give us a call on 02 4956 9777, send us an email to mail@newcastlepropertymanagement.com.au  or pop into our Cardiff office for an informal chat.

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