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How to Give Tenants’ Notice Without Grounds

A lessor rents out his investment property on a fixed term agreement which is due to end on 31 December. He decides to allow his student son to move into the property, which is near the university, on 1 February.

The lessor would like the current tenants to move out on 31 January, and he gives them written Notice to leave on 30 November.

After the fixed term agreement ends on 31 December the agreement becomes periodic, meaning the tenant can leave at any stage by giving two weeks notice.

When a lessor ends a tenancy agreement without grounds, they must give the tenant two months notice to leave. This applies to fixed term as well as periodic agreements.

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) allows a tenancy to end for a number of different reasons, such as non-liveability or abandonment. The Act also allows a tenancy to be ended ‘without grounds’ if the party ending the agreement does not give a specific reason.

A lessor cannot end a fixed term agreement without grounds before the agreement’s end date, unless the tenant agrees.

Fixed term agreements can end only when either the lessor or tenant gives written notice. When the fixed term agreement moves beyond its agreed end date – and if neither party has given notice – it becomes a periodic agreement.

A lessor or tenant can end a fixed term or periodic agreement. When a tenant decides to leave the rented property, they must give the lessor two weeks notice. However, if it is a fixed term agreement, a tenant cannot leave before the agreement’s end date unless the lessor agrees.

If a fixed term agreement is for a period of six months, the lessor and tenant should be aware that negotiations about continuing the tenancy agreement may sometimes begin three months before the end of the tenancy.

When a lessor presents a tenant with a Notice to leave (Form 12), giving the required two months notice, the tenant might choose to find a new rental property immediately, but in a fixed term tenancy, the tenant cannot leave before the agreement’s end date unless the lessor agrees.

More information about ending a tenancy without grounds is available on the RTA website.

Last Updated: 03 August 2011  Source RTA

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Smoke Alarms – Seller, Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities Made Clear

Know your responsibilities in relation to the latest smoke alarm legislation. The stakes are high so let’s be sure to get it right!

Landlords

Landlords are required to:

– install and maintain smoke alarms in rental properties in accordance with Australian Standard 3786. This can be a 9 volt battery operated smoke alarm, with a one year battery for dwellings built before 1997. However, a good quality 10-year battery alarm or hard-wired alarm is more reliable and effective in the long term. Homes built after 1997 must have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

– test and clean each smoke alarm within 30 days before the start of a tenancy agreement. A landlord may arrange for an agent to do this.

– replace each battery in the smoke alarm that is flat or that the landlord or the landlord’s agent is aware is almost flat within 30 days before the start of the tenancy. This must be done in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.

– replace the smoke alarm unit before it reaches the end of its service life. The service life is usually indicated by the warranty offered by the smoke alarm manufacturer.

– have checked by a competent professional a smoke alarm which the tenant has reported as not operating. Repair the smoke alarm as required. Alternatively, replace the smoke alarm. A managing property agent may be able to arrange for a landlord’s legislative requirements to be met.

Fire Officers will investigate complaints received. There is a maximum fine of $500 for failing to install smoke alarms.

Tenants

Tenants are required to:

– test and clean each smoke alarm in the dwelling at least once every 12 months (once a month is recommended)

– replace, in accordance with the information statement in RTA Form 171 provided to you, each battery that is flat or is almost flat during your tenancy

– advise the landlord or the landlord’s agent as soon as practical if a smoke alarm in the rented property

Sellers

On the sale of a property, the seller must lodge a form with the Queensland Land Registry (www.nrw.qld.gov.au) stating that smoke alarms are installed in the property and that the purchaser has been informed that smoke alarms are installed.

Information taken from the 11 page Qld Government Booklet downloadable here which has Everything you need to know about smoke alarms and more!

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Take Your Pick – Selecting the Right Tenant

Getting a good tenant is a critical part of good property investment. Not only do you want a tenant who pays rent in a timely manner and looks after your property, but it’s highly advisable to get a secure tenant with a long-term lease. Securing your tenant for lengthy periods minimises your vacancy factor and give you better rental returns.

So how exactly do you find good tenants?

An agent’s role is to secure quality tenants on behalf of a landlord and it’s important that all tenancy applications are reviewed thoroughly. At Re/ MAX Profile we have an extensive tenancy review system to make sure that all references are verified, as well as employment history, previous landlords and savings history. The rental market is very competitive of late and landlords are in a good position to select from a number of applicants. Every investor wants a “hassle-free” investment and we’re more than happy to help you find the right tenant to make your investment worthwhile.

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Mouldy Rental Properties, Whose Responsibility is It to Fix it?

Mould is proving a major concern for tenants and landlords after increased rainfall and flooding across the state.

As mould can take weeks to emerge after flood waters recede, the number of rental properties affected by the problem is expected to rise.

The RTA’s call centre has been fielding an increasing number of calls about who is responsible for removing mould from rental properties. The answer depends on why the mould is there in the first place.

Although the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 doesn’t make specific reference to mould, it does detail requirements about the standard maintenance of a property throughout the agreement.

Based on these standards, it’s the responsibility of the tenant to notify the landlord or agent of any mould.

If the mould is a result of fair wear and tear in the premises, it is the landlord’s responsibility to clean the mould and make any repairs necessary to maintain the property in good repair.

If the tenant caused the mould, they are responsible for its removal and repair of any damage that may have been caused.

For example, if the tenant continually allowed steam to build up in the bathroom and kept all windows shut or extractor fans turned off resulting in mould, then the tenant may be liable. But if the mould is a result of a structural issue, then the landlord would be liable for the repairs.

If the landlord or tenant can’t agree about how to deal with the issue by talking with each other, the RTA’s dispute resolution service may be able to assist. You can apply for this service by lodging a Dispute resolution request (Form 16).

If dispute resolution is unsuccessful, an application can be made to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order.
Any arrangement between parties about mould should be included in the special terms of the tenancy agreement.

Source RTA Website, 03 February 2011

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Tenants and Landlords – Who Has to Do What in the Wake of Natural Disaster

With a predicted increase in cyclones and severe storms this season, tenants and landlord should be aware of their rights and responsibilities in the event of a natural disaster. If damage is severe, and the property is unlivable, a tenancy can be ended. However, the agreement needs to be legally ended by one party and agreed to by the other. Damage to the property must have been caused by the natural disaster and not due to the actions of the tenant, landlord or property manager.

In cases where part of the premises has been damaged or destroyed, a rent reduction may be negotiated.  Any reduction in rent must be negotiated by the tenant and the landlord or property manager.

Tenants are obligated to report any damage to the house to their landlords as soon as possible. It’s important that the tenant and landlord talk with each other, either directly or through a property manager, about any repairs that are needed.

More information on tenancies and natural disasters is available at http://www.rta.qld.gov.au/natural_disaster_victims_fs.cfm.

Source RTA

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