REINSW Helpline: your property management questions answered

REINSW Helpline: your property management questions answered

Answering more than 13,000 calls each year, the REINSW Helpline team collectively has over 95 years of practical experience in the real estate industry. All enquiries are confidential, and there’s no limit to the number of times a member can contact them.

Team members, Robert Anderson and Marie Babka recently took part in a live webinar fielding the most frequently asked questions by property managers.

The core focus of this webinar was to help property managers by providing in-depth feedback on a variety of important queries and concerns.

Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions featured in the webinar:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In relation to the landlord information statement - is it a requirement of the agent to obtain acknowledgement from the landlord that they have read and understood the statement each and every time they enter into a lease?

Not necessarily each and every time, but all agents certainly will have had to obtain the acknowledgement from the landlord for the first lease written for each tenant from 23 March 2020. It’s a protection for the real estate agent, should something go awry with the tenancy later on, and is required in order for the agent to sign the acknowledgement on the residential tenancy agreement. The recommendation is to do it periodically to protect against potential issues in the future.

Can a tenant do renovations to a property which they rent?

Yes, they can, however they must always first seek the landlord’s consent. As part of legislative reforms, from 23 March this year, a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse a tenant request to carry out renovations considered to be of a minor nature. We recommend to property managers to always make sure the tenant is aware that they’re obligated to repair and rectify or make good any damage they may cause, or to compensate the landlord for the reasonable costs of repair. Property managers should also recommend that all changes be carried out by a qualified tradesperson, not the tenants themselves.

How do you define reasonable wear and tear?

‘Fair wear and tear’ is the normal deterioration or ageing of the premises which occurs naturally over a period of time because of ordinary use of the premises by a tenant. It is not, however, an accident or damage caused by the tenant. The tenant is not responsible for ‘fair wear and tear’.

Are landlords required to have an annual check of all smoke alarms in residential properties?

Yes, it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure an annual inspection is conducted. It sits in Clause 42.2 of the prescribed residential tenancy agreement, so it’s a contractual term.

Furthermore, remember, that normal 9 Volt batteries are required to be changed once a year, which is mentioned in Clause 42.3. In addition to this, lithium batteries must be replaced in the period specified by the manufacturer (Clause 42.4).We recommend property managers to put processes in place to ensure all smoke alarms are checked annually by a recognised smoke alarm company or an authorised electrician, and always ask for a certificate of compliance upon completion. When engaging an authorised electrician or qualified technician (as applicable) for the repair or replacement of a smoke alarm, their licence should be checked for validity and currency with NSW Fair Trading. Further, their name and licence number should appear on any work order. Upon completion of any work, the invoice should show details of the tradesperson who carried out the check and their licence number.

What is the notice period the landlord or property manager is required to give a tenant if a property has been sold with vacant possession?

If a property has been sold, and bear in mind the front page of the contract for sale must be marked ‘vacant possession’, then it’s 30 days’ notice. But the termination date has to fall in a periodic part of the lease (i.e. during hold over), so you can’t terminate a tenant on a fixed term purely on the basis that the property has been sold.

Can assistant agents perform open inspections, sign tenancy agreements, and complete the sales inspection report?

Yes. There is nothing restricting a certificate of registration holder or an assistant agent being able to conduct an open home – whether that’s for sales or for rentals. Likewise signing a residential tenancy agreement, no restrictions there.

Yes, the assistant agent can certainly undertake and complete the inspection report on their own, however the licensed agent (who will ultimately be signing and executing that agreement) needs to make sure the inspection report has been completed properly and that they are satisfied that the contents of the report are true and accurate.

For more answers to common property management questions, we encourage you to watch the Webinar: REINSW Helpline – Your questions answered.

You can also visit the Helpline - COVID-19 FAQs web page or contact the Helpline team on 9264 2343 or at helpline@reinsw.com.au .

30 October 2020

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