Tenants and landlords have different perspectives, so how do they find middle ground on common issues? We look at the most common tenant and landlord questions and how to deal with them.
Renters and landlords approach tenancies from different perspectives. For one, the property is their home, but for the other, it’s an important financial asset. With each person focused on a different aspect of the property, how do they find middle ground? We take a look at the common questions asked by landlords and tenants, as well as how to resolve them.
Tenant Question 1: Can I Make Changes To The Property, Like Hanging Picture Hooks Or Repainting The Walls?
This is one of the most common questions we hear from tenants looking for ways to make a property feel more like a home. Some tenants want to make aesthetic changes, while others might want to add security features or railings in the bathroom to help elderly residents. According to Fair Trading NSW, changes like these are generally considered as “minor changes” and landlords can’t unreasonably refuse the request. However, there are some reasons that are acceptable for refusals, and even if the request is approved, tenants must still get the landlord’s consent in writing.
Landlord Question 1: How Can I Make Sure Tenants Don’t Damage The Property?
When tenants ask to make changes to a property, hesitation from landlords usually comes from concern about damage to the property that might cost a lot of money. A landlord can refuse the changes if there’s a chance it will be difficult to remove or repair later. While a written agreement always helps with proposed changes, we also know that regular inspections and due diligence in finding great tenants are essential in making sure a tenant will take good care of a property.
Tenant Question 2: Can I Have A Pet?
Renters with pets often faced a lot of challenges finding somewhere to live in the past, but recent changes aim to make it much easier to have furry companions. Strata schemes can no longer unreasonably refuse pets in a property, but there can still be some restrictions placed in the by-laws, so there are no guarantees. Landlords must also make a decision on the pet and one way to 'sell' having a pet to a potential landlord is to have a detailed pet CV and a thorough plan for damage and cleaning as a precaution if something was to go wrong. Read more about pets in rental properties.
Landlord Question 2: Do I Need To Allow Pets?
When landlords think of pets in their property, they might be thinking of potential damage to floors, carpets, curtains and furniture, which can affect the value of their investment. Landlords don’t need to say yes to pets, but if a tenant can propose a plan for reducing any damage and paying extra cleaning costs if necessary, both parties can often reach an agreement they’re happy with.
Tenant Question 3: What Do I Do If Something Needs To Be Fixed?
When something breaks in the property, tenants might be really inconvenienced, or left feeling unsafe or concerned about the effect of the damage. The property is their home, so repairs must be done as quickly as possible. Understanding the process for reporting damage, getting repairs or even doing some maintenance themselves is important in making tenants feel comfortable and happy in their tenancy.
Landlord Question 3: How Should Maintenance Be Handled?
Dealing with maintenance quickly is equally important for landlords, because it can affect how much their investment is worth, as well as how likely their tenant is to stay long-term. Landlords should familiarise themselves with their legal obligations, as well as the importance of doing the right thing by their tenant and their investment. A good place to start is by speaking to the property manager to understand the process for managing repairs, as well as having trustworthy tradespeople on call.
Tenant Question 4: Will The Rent Increase?
Rent increases may be a natural part of tenancies, but a rent increase isn’t always what a tenant wants to hear. But it is absolutely possible to manage rent increases in a way that makes tenants feel prepared and respected, such as explaining the reason for the increase and making sure it’s in line with legal requirements. Property managers are experts in handling these conversations.
Landlord Question 4: How Do I Know When To Increase The Rent?
From a landlord’s perspective, a rent increase can be an essential part of covering costs and remaining competitive in the market, so it’s natural to want an increase to look after the investment. Landlords can evaluate the market with their property manager so they know what the time is right to make a reasonable rent increase.
The Role Of Property Managers In Answering Tenant And Landlord Questions
When tenants and landlords are concerned about similar issues, it’s easy for each side to focus on their own perspective. Property managers can be excellent mediators in helping both groups understand their rights and responsibilities, using great communication to find a solution that works for everyone.
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