My Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Property Management Fails

17/11/2021

When Property Management fails to fulfill its role, it can certainly have a domino effect. Issues in management can work their way through all staff and vice versa, leaving a trail of poor attitude, zero care factors & staff that are generally unengaged. The internal dominoes roll onto the entire client experience which then naturally impacts landlords & their tenants alike.
So what’s the outcome for clients & tenants, issues with responsiveness, attention to detail, or any attention at all.

Aside from the internal politics of an agency, of which a lot goes on, the management of an agency in effect has a huge role in the staff that they keep so how an agency is run is the start of where Property Management can all fall apart.

“As an owner, you need to be able to pick out who may make a good Property Manager. Read to the end for how I would start my search.”

So, Pitfalls! Here is where and how it all falls apart, from a Property Manager simply not caring, being overloaded with Properties to clients shopping for the cheapest agents.

Not planning, Too Busy & Poor Organisation

Planning is essential for any job that involves a large workload. Property Managers are working on a multitude of tasks at any one time- seriously. Repairs, mixed in with arrears, vacancy and Routine Inspections. A Property Manager can certainly have many days where every part of their Job Description can be involved.

It is a busy job, so pre planning, being highly organised and moving quickly are all musts. Every Property Manager need their own systems to manage their tasks in a way that works for them individually.

 

Not being thorough with the tenant selection process

Thorough Reviewing now saves a lot of work & heartache down the track, Proper tenant selection benefits the Property Manager as well as the owner.

Putting any tenant into a property might seem opportune at the time to save the short-term pain of vacancy, but just wait on the time spent trying to clean up a tenancy gone wrong. Risk management is a HUGE part of a Property Managers role and this is always a factor in this process.

The number of agents not conducting proper reference checks on tenants is terrifying and I can say that first hand when a tenant of mine is moving to another rental, and no one has contacted me for a reference.

 

Failing to communicate with landlords 

Communication is the primary factor determining a property manager’s success. This isn’t surprising for an industry based on managing relationships with landlords and tenants. Property Managers have to keep on top of calls, emails and SMS communication with landlords & tenants and document any important correspondence at the same time.

Responsiveness is important for all but so is the proper communication of things such as condition reports, inspection reports & being an appropriate intermediary between a landlord & tenant. That is, passing on information but also adding value in providing recommendations & solutions to all parties. This means, a lot of the time, communicating on difficult issues and outcomes that are less than ideal for one or both parties.

Breakdowns in communication can easily result in Damaged properties, damaged relationships & damaged reputations.

Good communication though leads to long-term tenancies, lower vacancy rates, and genuine client satisfaction.

 

Not documenting important information

Property managers manage a large number of formal agreements with clients and leasing agreements with tenants. Aside from these they need to maintain and manage records, logs, ledgers and note notes notes!

File notes, Reminders, preferences & task management, the number of records needed would amaze most people. What a Property Manager records can be crucial when called up, Notes documenting a conversation or files notes of actions taken can be of huge significance when protecting themselves from liability but also protecting an owner or tenant from a wide range of possible issues. Proper documentation and record-keeping requires not only organisation but systems, internal policies & procedures, without these, an agency will fall short time and time again and a Property Manager is doomed to be blamed, stressed & eventually burn out.

 

Lack of attention to routine inspections and maintenance 

I’m not going to lie; I’ve been caught out here before. When you schedule too many Inspections in a set timeframe, the inspections become rushed, and critical issues are overlooked. It’s happened to me but you live & learn to set realistic expectations on how many inspections can be done in a set time frame and really not rush them or get caught up on your Inspection run. See for a Property Manager when you’re out and about doing appointments, you’re usually likely getting back to a whole day’s work waiting for you, and then some.

The other end of the scale sees routine inspections not being done so it’s extremely important to inspect properties on a regular basis so you can identify and fix minor problems before they become worse. Tenants need to be invited/ asked to report issues at or before these inspections, even if an owner doesn’t want to address a maintenance list it needs to be passed on to the owner.

 

Being too tolerant with rental arrears 

Another common property management pitfall/shortfall is not promptly attending to rental arrears. This is where procedures have to come into play, a not negotiable procedure that you carry out no matter what conversation has been had or promise made.

Contact has to be made & documented from the first days in arrears, sure it all starts off nice as a courtesy reminder, as it should. These “nice” reminders tackle most arrears before they get out of hand.

Failure to pay rent is THE main reason for abandoned properties, evictions & tribunal hearings. Agents need to be able to display the steps that they have taken to follow up, manage and communicate arrears and warnings to tenants that fall behind.

Early intervention is key when it comes to managing rental arrears.

 

Discounting fees and managing too many properties

Agencies take on new business as it comes in and don’t necessarily concern themselves with remaining sustainable. Unfortunately, instead of keeping to proper staffing levels, many Property Managers are overloaded with more & more new clients as time goes on.

The more an agency discounts their fees, the more new business they need to turn a profit and the more properties that a Property Manager needs to manage.

At this high rate, a decent service cannot be offered. THIS is the primary reason why the industry has such a high turnover rate and good Property Managers are so hard to find. They simply are overworked, overstressed, and leave. It’s happened to me and it’s happening to friends & colleagues of mine in the industry.

Sure, it’s tempting to take on every property that comes your way, but not all Properties we manage help us to be profitable, not where they command hours and hours of our attention due to being in poor condition & poorly maintained.

This further contributes to burnout and subsequent resignation of property managers. In the end, the company is left with mostly new and inexperienced staff, resulting in poor service overall and Landlords paying for the fact that critical information about their property is lost along the way, amongst other pitfalls this causes.

Thanks to the low service fees offered it is clear that large portfolios for Property Managers do not work and long-term investors are becoming more and more aware that a fee saving is not a benefit to them in the long term. If the race to the bottom for fees and fixed fee management continues we’ll see more and more Property Managers leave the industry, and who could blame them.

If you’ve read this far then you deserve my tips on how to select a good Property Manager;

  • Go with your gut, if you’re intuitive like that, after meeting face to face

  • Ask family & friends for recommendations

  • Speak to several Property Managers, are they personable & knowledgeable

  • Check out Reviews, Google at the very least tell a tenant & landlord perspective

Lastly, when this was first asked of me, I honestly resented the request but I see it differently now;

  • Several prospective clients have asked me for contact details for a couple of clients to speak to, I actually think that’s a great idea. If a Property Manager has nothing to hide then they’ll be able to provide a couple of landlords who are willing to provide a live reference.

Avoiding Tension in Tenancy

28/10/2021

Unfortunately, it’s well known that some tenancies can be full of drama with strained relationships between the landlord & the tenant, which means also the agent if there’s one in place.

There can be so many reasons for disputes to arise that sometimes every conversation or email can feel like traversing a minefield. I don’t actually have any minefield experience but far out do I know how quickly a tenancy can go sour.

It really doesn’t need to be this way though. I think the tone needs to be set from the beginning and along the way, it’s about getting people’s expectations to meet reality, because realistically- we can’t always get what we want. But you can get what you need.

Is that a song?

Anyway, across these last 18 months of tense times it’s become very noticeable in the tenancy space that not everyone is thrilled at how things are going. Landlords in Sydney are dealing with a rental market most have not experienced before in their time. Whilst many have been through the hail storms, floods, etc, for the most part, landlords have never had to discount rent or increase their capital expenditure, all the while until now having little government assistance and their outgoing costs stand firm. Of course, this has seen frustration rise.

On the other end of the scale, tenants have needed financial assistance in many cases or seen the need to move house, many have not been able to access government assistance or assistance from their landlords despite media reports of so much being available & misconceptions about landlords being able to provide tenants help. It hasn’t been that straightforward, so we have frustration on both ends.

I have some experience in “trying” to keep things light, helpful & really real between landlords & tenants so here are some of my tips on how to “try” to get things running smoothly from the get-go.

Why the focus on this topic?

Well firstly because of humanity & it’s just nice to be nice, but also, why wouldn’t you want some kind of mutually beneficial relationship to be respectful & courteous.

Also, tenants who are happy respect the lease, the property, and the landlord who respects them. Landlords respect when rent is paid on time and their property is being well cared for because it gives peace of mind- which is priceless.

Legalities

Get them right from the outset.

There’s a Lease, it outlines everyone’s contractual abilities, what they are supposed to do and when. Everyone has the opportunity to read it, or be educated about the lease along the way. Aside from the lease, there are other legalities to cover, an agent who knows the Act & Regulations will show you all the way.

Once you have agreed to any specifics, terms etc lay those out in writing & be sure you are happy to live with the terms you’ve agreed to, or risk being regretful!

Communication

Two-Way Communication is everything or a party in between who can pass it on and make recommendations / deliver unwanted news / negotiate etc.

But communication is key, we need tenants to report issues, we need them to let us know when things are done or not done. Tenants remind us sometimes of loose ends or simply what’s going on in the street or building that can impact the property.

So yeah, we need to be available and responsive to all of that. Back to the legalities, it’s crucial that important conversations, actions, or agreements are laid out in writing. For this, you need to be cover multiple forms of communication between tenants, agents, and the landlord. Email, Text, letters, phone calls, and file notes are necessary, sometimes for the most mundane of things but still! Record keeping is your best friend so you know where everyone stands.

Mutual Respect

A tenant should respect the landlord’s property and similarly, the landlord should respect the tenant’s home. Anyone can be sensitive to the security & sense of belonging they have in a home. Whilst the property is usually an investment property so emotion doesn’t come into place, some landlords can share that emotional attachment, but it’s more likely the tenant’s attachment will be there.

So, whilst a landlord should see investing in property as an investment, we can’t take away the human factor involved across the “transaction”, and that’s something we always need to consider.

Mutual respect is as simple as following the guidelines that the lease provides on all sides, but just factoring in your tenant or landlord into all decisions made. How will this decision impact the tenant or the landlord? It’s only fair that this works both ways and isn’t always a “me” decision. Respect boundaries, the need for everyone to play their part, be cordial, and don’t overstep.

Keep it Real

By that I mean, always be open to discussion & negotiation. Tenants might throw a huge party & owners might not get around giving instructions for repairs straight away.
Set your expectations to realistic and I guess it’s helpful when everyone has realistic ones and exercise some patience.

For a landlord, you should expect that the property is going to be “lived in”. Tenants, you’ll have to expect the need for inspections & instructions a lot of the time.

Whatever wrongdoings may occur in a tenancy, sometimes it’s best to be clear in addressing that issue, forgive & carry on. We’re only human after all.

Build Rapport

This one may be for landlords more so, or something they should ensure their agent takes an interest in doing. For the human touch, it’s nice to have some kind of relationship across a tenancy. One where everyone is approachable and the idea of reporting a repair isn’t anxiety-inducing for a tenant.

Attending to Maintenance / Requests

It’s an insurance & lease Biggy either way but it’s also the biggest source of issues in a tenancy. If you’re a landlord then this can be where you risk losing tenants, and while you can always find new tenants, that always comes at a cost.

So while you should not be throwing money at repairs & maintenance senselessly, you and your agent should have a plan on how to address something that’s arisen and then keep the tenant informed as it progresses. Even delays or setbacks should be communicated because no communication becomes the source of frustration.

 

As you can see, all the above is linked, it’s not anyone thing that you need to do to have a smooth-running tenancy but it’s about consistency, responsiveness, and sticking to your obligations- that’s for all parties involved! But in my experience, landlords, your best bet is to take care of your tenants and they will take care of your property.

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one service for his Property Investor clients.

For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Locked Down… but not out!

19/8/2021

At the time of writing this we are 6 weeks into our 2021 Greater Sydney lockdown.

So future readers, will we be out of lockdown at the end of August? PLEASE let it be.

As Real Estate Agents in this current lockdown we really have to be grateful for the most part that we can continue working, albeit a lot differently but we can still work and carry out necessary tasks. Considering how many others are faring we must be grateful for that.

It sounds odd to write this but dare I say that, luckily enough, we know what the deal is by this stage. We also know how lockdowns work, their impacts and we know what help is available and to whom.

For Sydney what’s difficult this time around is that it feels like a backward step, having seen the economy here and the general mood improves over the first half of 2021.

In my world, the Property Management one that is, we had experienced a great year so far in terms of reduced vacancy rates, rents starting to stabilising and starting to increase as well. After 2020 I felt that we’d found our feet for sure and I think the sentiment is simply that we’ve all had enough of life with COVID-19 around us.

There is certainly less panic and shock that there was last year so thankfully, we still have tenants looking for properties, and those properties getting snapped up. People are still looking for new surroundings, more workspace to separate work & downtime, and trying new suburbs. As we’re now pretty well versed with our “new normal” we are definitely well placed to be able to give our clients, current & new, some certainty surrounding their investment properties especially when their property is coming onto the Rental Market during the current lockdown. While there may be some added concern because of some restrictions, we can thankfully follow the daily updates of the Real Estate Institute of NSW & Fair Trading to know what we can & can do as things evolve.

So, what’s happening at The Management Agency;

  • Plenty of one-on-one Inspections to show Prospective tenants properties, By Appointment & vacant properties only
  • Routine Inspections are delayed until restrictions ease, unless absolutely necessary, realistically we might need a couple of months to catch up on these
  • Urgent Repairs & Maintenance
  • Maintenance where tenants are agreeable to access & under a strict set of circumstances
  • Working through any requests for assistance via the assistance packages available to tenants & landlords
  • A steady stream of new clients coming on board with The Management Agency through July & at currently at capacity into September

As for our rental market, we’re yet to see any real impacts on rents or vacancy rates but of course, we’re monitoring and making any adjustments that are needed. Vacancy rates & rents are currently holding steady from what’s been a consistent year in lettings.

Aside from that, we are essentially working as per normal. Just like most other Sydney siders, we are trying to minimise our movements as well, with only the essential appointments taking place.

We’re here though, working from home as we always have. We just now have to be out of PJ’s and ready to go should someone want to see a property so that keeps us on our toes!

The new sign-off; “Stay Safe!”

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one service for his Property Investor clients.

For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Leases; To Renew or Not to Renew?

21/7/2021

Back in March 2020, I wrote about our New Leases in NSW following some changes to the Residential Tenancies Act & Regulations. Great timing huh, dealing with a pandemic and its impacts and making sweeping changes to how landlords and tenants view a Lease Agreement.

So it’s been a while now that these changes have been in but I still get calls and questions arising out of the blog I wrote about the changes. Titled To Renew or not to renew that blog can be read here.

As a quick summary though it goes through the Pros & Cons of this new legislation, and the potential impacts it might have (and has had) on owners and tenants, and the certainty that Fixed Term lease agreements once gave them that is now lacking. But I’ll summarise what the changes have done even further than that;

For Owners:

  • Resigning / Renewing a Lease to a New Fixed-term has little to no importance now because of how easy a lease can be broken
  • Owners see Periodic / Expired Agreements as more of an advantage as at least they are given 3 weeks’ notice of a tenant vacating. They also have not had to pay for a renewal to be signed.

 

For Tenants: 

  • Easy to Break a Lease but when they’d like some certainty of a Fixed Term Lease, they lose out with fewer owners offering them because of the reasons above.

 

So for Landlords, the options are;

    1. Not renew a Lease and have continuing agreement where tenants provide you with 3 weeks’ notice to vacate at any point

Or

2. Renew a Lease where tenants can break the agreement by paying a set break fee as outlined in my blog

So…

What has happened since these changes have come into place is tenants simply upping and leaving when they’ve found another property after a landlord has gone through the effort of finding them and the compliance measures that need to be fulfilled just before they get keys. The main concern for landlords is that you go through all of this and can now end up with a vacant property at any time. Realistically, the Break Fee isn’t covering the costs of reletting, vacancy in between tenancies, and so on.

Sadly now some owners only offer 6-month leases and no renewals, so whilst it was being heavily advocated that there be this leniency to Break Lease clauses when these reviews were being considered, who are the real losers here?  Long-term tenants seeking some certainty, or Landlords thinking that maybe investing in Property looks less attractive.

Speaking to the Real Estate Institute of NSW though, they’re sure that these terms are set to remain in place so like most things, pandemic included, we have to learn to live with them.

Am I being too dramatic about it all, too negative? Let me know in the comments below.

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one service for his Property Investor clients.

For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

 

 

NSW Renting with Pets – The Strata Update

19/5/21

I’ve previously written here about Animals in Rental Properties but throughout 2020 we’ve seen some changes when it comes to several highly covered Tribunal and court cases battling for Pet Owners to have the rights to keep pets in Apartments. We’ve also seen COVID-19 effectively increase the number of tenants seeking approval to keep Pets in Rental Properties.

In some high-profile cases in Sydney, we see appeal after appeal where ultimately, it’s up to the buildings individual Strata Committee to approve or decline applications for Pets. In Strata Plans it’s generally up to the owners to decide what By-Law they adopt for their specific building.

If a building adopts a Strictly NO PET By-Law then it essentially doesn’t have any Pet Policy in place, a No Pet By-Law is not a valid one.

In New South Wales, the default is no longer to ban pets (as it was prior to a 2015 law change), but instead allow pets after you obtain written approval from the strata committee, which can’t be unreasonably refused.

However, this doesn’t consider a strata property’s individual by-laws. Even when legislation provides for the occupier of a strata apartment to have a dog, cat, or even bunny, that doesn’t mean you have the strata committee’s approval. As with all by-laws, each strata committee gets to choose which by-laws it wants to incorporate into thier strata scheme.

Even if your building is pet-friendly, prior to bringing a pet into your strata property you’ll need to send a written request to the committee seeking permission.

The application could require information such as:

  • A description of your pet, including his or her size, age, appearance and breed
  • Details of your pet’s disposition, for example, is your pet docile or friendly
  • Records of formal obedience or other behavioural training
  • Records to demonstrate that you are a responsible pet owner by having proof of registration, microchipping, de-sexing and all necessary vaccinations
  • Records of keeping your pet previously either in a strata plan or other residence, including references from your former landlords or neighbours that specifically mention the behaviour of your pet

In the application process considerations made will be;

  • The By-Laws for the particular building
  • The type, size and number of Pets
  • The size of the property vs the size and number of Pets
  • If the Pet will suitably fit in with the Strata Plan

Whilst applications can’t be unreasonably denied, I think it’s fair to say that a large active dog won’t be approved for a small apartment unless for instance, its owner takes the dog to work with them.

If you are in a rental property, under the current legislation the owner of the property is allowed to exercise their discretion on whether or not a pet is permitted by tenants in their individual apartment or unit. When seeking committee approval, a tenant’s application to have a pet should be submitted to them by the owner of the lot, not the tenant themselves after the owner of the lot has approved the keeping of a pet in the property, so essentially this two-step process has to happen before the tenancy can be sure to go ahead.

So, is it worth looking into further, Yes and I highly recommend reading through the following Q&A link and the recent Webinar at the links at the end of this Blog?

For Tenants – find out what the owner’s position is on pets first, if a Property Description doesn’t stipulate just ask the agent if they are open to Pets. When you’re at the property look out for other pets in the complex and therefore the By-Laws are likely to allow Pets.

Obviously, if the property is a house or not in a Strata Plan then your only obstacle is the landlord. What I don’t suggest is getting a Pet first and trying to get approval after the fact!

 

For Owners – it may be worth looking into getting a tenant approved with a Pet, as I’ve written before most Pet Owners are responsible ones and can become long term tenants. For the most part, renting to tenants with Pets is a trouble-free experience! If you’re unsure of your Buildings stance on Pets, read through a copy of your By-Laws.

 

For heaps more info on Pets in Strata the following links are a must from the team at Lookup Strata:

A very informative Q&A on PETS in NSW Strata can be found here;

https://www.lookupstrata.com.au/nsw-pet-rules-for-strata/

A Webinar discussing everything Pets in NSW can be found here; https://www.lookupstrata.com.au/nsw-strata-webinars/

As a Property Manager I feel, and know for myself, how beneficial pets can be to everyone’s life so it’s important to me for The Management Agency to encourage Pets in Rental Properties. Of course, this applies where we feel the property is suitable for a specific Pet & of course the Landlord approves.

In the end, there are factors that determine outcomes that are out of our control and I personally wouldn’t condone approving a Pet in a property where I feel it wouldn’t be good for a Pet’s wellbeing. In any case, applications are always considered and handled on a case-by-case basis and I think that’s fair on everyone.

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one service for his Property Investor clients.

For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Finding a New Home

25/03/2021

Painful is the only way I can summarise moving house & I move a lot. Looking back, I have an average of moving every 3 years and for many different reasons, Buying & Selling, moving for size & more space and so on.

My 2021 move though has given me the complete perspective of a tenant though & in the area that I work in which I have not experienced before. So, for a few reasons, I found myself looking for a rental property to make a base for The Management Agency for a year or so while I plan my next property move.

Obviously, I hear firsthand from tenants that I meet about what they go through but going through this process has really given me a new insight & newfound respect for tenants that are actively looking in the rental market. Boy has the rental market woken up in 2021, supply levels are way down on 2020 and there are many prospective tenants still looking to make a move and some really need to move. So needless to say there were ques and a lot of interest in the Surry Hills & Redfern area as we’ve been seeing across our own viewings.

I won’t name & shame, now or ever, thankfully the managing agents for the property I secured are amazing but just Picture this;

I went to a property in Surry Hills which was two levels, lined up, masked up and QR coded in. The agent was only allowing one group at a time. Mind you there was a line through the building & they had set a total of 10 minutes for the Open House.

As the property was still occupied, we were only allowed to inspect 1 of the 2 levels. So, none of the prospective tenants could see the bedrooms or bathroom. Who is going to rent a property that they’ve barely seen? NO ONE, and yes, I did storm out of that property as my Saturday morning was wasting away, the first Saturday I’d had off in ages as all of my properties had been leased.

Needless to say, it was ½ an hour after the “open house” had begun, so much for the 10-minute window.

What would I have done differently? For a start, I would not have shown the property or advertised it until after the tenant had moved. It was obvious that they weren’t comfortable with people going into the property due to COVID-19 which is not the issue, but if you’re going to put a property on the market, with one external building photo mind you, do it properly and allow people to see the whole property.

That’s just one example & I’m not saying I’ve never been late for a legitimate reason or shown a property that’s not 100% ready or it might’ve been mid-renovation or whatever but still… for the most part all I experienced was a lot of waiting around past appointment times & no real interest or care from Leasing agents. Little requests for feedback or general courtesy, it’s no wonder we’re viewed so poorly!

Landlords, prospective tenants face huge barriers to being able to rent your properties, so if you doubt your property is being offered effectively then get involved.

Tenants, I feel for you. Saturday’s viewings are like being a contestant on The Amazing Race, less the Amazing part. I don’t know what to tell you, I can see that tenants can be turned off properties simply because of the barriers they face, the unanswered questions, competition & in some cases, the unfortunate attitude of agents that they face.

Thankfully though as I mentioned, locked in a cute Terrace (Pet Friendly) with an efficient agency and the boxes are getting unpacked. Who wants to hear how the rest of the move worked out? Comment below!

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one service for his Property Investor clients.

For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

 

Need To Know – Legislation Update

24/02/2021

I recently took over the management of a property and the lease was invalid for multiple reasons. For a start- the name listed for the landlord on the lease said “Contact Agent” and it only got worse from there. Landlords & Tenants need a lease that is valid, to begin with (obviously) and gives everyone some certainty surrounding their agreement.

2020 was a lot to take in, so to digest some of the legislation changes & recent updates so here I’ll briefly summarise what you all need-to-know!

NCAT Jurisdiction and why Leases were updated in Sept 2020

NCAT, short for NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal, is the go-to Tribunal for disputes in Tenancy situations. NCAT can make enforceable orders on parties to resolve issues ranging from arrears to possession to damage claims.A little-known fact is that in some cases NCAT may refer the matter to Local or District courts if the landlord is not a resident of NSW. There’s quite a bit of reading on that matter here.Leases were just updated in Sept 2020 where landlords have to disclose their state or country of residence if it is not NSW. This may help NCAT filter through and decide on what matters they can and can’t hear even though they may have to be the first port of call.

The lease Agreement must have this specific info

Leases must now have tenants’ email addresses listed in order for tenants to give consent to receiving any notices or correspondence via email. Leases must also list 1 form of contact for a landlord, either a phone number or email address.

ID Requirements for Landlords

Before leasing or taking on the management of a Property, Property Managers must fulfil an ID Check for landlords to confirm their identity and their ownership of the Property. This has been in place where enlisting an agent to sell a property for some time but is new to Property Management

Information Statements for Landlords & Tenants

There is a new Information Statement each for Landlords and Tenants. Tenants have to be provided a copy on or before signing their lease. For Landlords, they’re required to read and acknowledge having read the statement before a lease is signed, an important step.

Material Fact Disclosure

Material Fact has been around for some time now but the facts that need to be disclosed do get reworked and reworded. For instance, Landlords and therefore agents, need to disclose to tenants if they are aware of any major rectification or works scheduled in a Strata Complex that would impact tenants during their lease. Essentially, a material fact is about sharing the information that you know whilst also protecting landlords if you’re not in the know.

Extension of the Moratorium on Evictions- extended & in place to 26 March 2021

Aside from a stop on COVID-19 Impacted tenant terminations, the moratorium also keeps in place extended notice periods to 90 Days’ notice for other forms of Terminations notices, such as for the End of Fixed Term & Breaches of Agreement.

The Management Agency wishes you all the best for 2021, I know it’s flying by already and we’re working away in what is already turning out to be a busy rental market with a lot of leasing activity already well underway which is already an improvement on 2020.

Thank you for your support, following, and reading!

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Renting with Pets

21/10/2020

I’ve previously written here about Animals in Rental Properties, but through the course of 2020, we’ve seen several highly covered Tribunal and court cases battling for pet owners to have the right to keep pets in apartments.

Recently we’ve seen COVID-19 effectively increase the number of tenants seeking approval to keep pets in rental properties and whilst there are fewer obstacles getting pets approved in some properties, the issues surrounding approval becomes complicated where the property is part of a Strata Plan, a community of apartments or townhouses.

In some high-profile cases in Sydney, we see appeal after appeal where ultimately, it’s up to the building’s individual Strata Committee to approve or decline applications for pets.

In New South Wales, the default is no longer to ban pets, but instead allow pets after you obtain written approval from the Strata Committee, which can’t be unreasonably refused. This was a New South Wales legislative change which forms part of the Strata Schemes Management Regulations 2016.

However, this doesn’t consider a strata property’s individual by-laws. Even though legislation provides for the occupier of a strata apartment to have a pet, that doesn’t mean you have the strata committee’s approval. Strata Committees get to choose which by-laws it wants to incorporate into their strata scheme. Saying this, the recent unanimous ruling by three sitting judges from the NSW Court of Appeal, on a four-and-a-half-year battle between Jo Cooper (pet owner) and the Horizon building in Darlinghurst, now means that no blanket ban on pets will be permitted in any building anywhere in the state of NSW. You can read the article here, written by Sue Williams, Domain Reporter.

Prior to bringing a pet into a strata property, you’ll need to send a written request to the Strata Committee seeking permission. This applies even if your building is pet-friendly, and some strata managing agents may have a dedicated application form for this process.

Every Strata Committee will require different information but some of the information requested could be;

  • A description of your pet i.e. the pets breed, size and age
  • Details of your pet’s disposition, such as temperament and its activity needs
  • Proof of registration, microchipping, de-sexing, and all necessary vaccinations
  • References from former landlords, agent, or neighbours that mention your pet’s behaviour, particularly if you have previously kept a pet in a strata managed complex
  • Records of any formal pet training

In the application process, I feel that what’s considered strongly will be;

  • The by-laws for the particular building
  • The type, size, and number of pets
  • The size of the property vs. the size and the number of pets
  • If the pet will suitably fit in with the Strata Plan
  • Your personal routine i.e. if you work from home or take your pet to work

Whilst applications can’t be unreasonably denied, I think it’s fair to say that a large active dog won’t be approved for a small apartment unless, for instance, its owner takes the dog to work with them all day, every day.

If you reside in a rental property, you need to be aware that the landlord of the property is allowed to exercise their discretion on whether or not a pet is permitted by tenants in their apartment. In order to seek approval from the Strata Committee, the tenant’s pet application should be first submitted to the landlord (or Property Manager if managed by an Agency) for approval and then once approved by the landlord or agent, they will submit the pet application to the Strata Committee for you, so essentially this two-step process has to happen before a pet can be kept at the property.

“It is important to note that under the Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009, any person who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog (and who has the right to be on a lot included in a community titles scheme, or on the common property) has the right to be accompanied their service dog, regardless of a strata committee’s by-laws on pets.” PICA Group.

So, it is worth looking into further.

For Tenants – find out what the owner’s position is on pets first, find out if there are other pets in the complex and therefore the by-laws are more likely to allow pets.

For Owners – it may be worth looking into getting a tenant approved to keep a pet, as I’ve written before most pet owners are responsible ones and can become long term tenants. For the most part, in my experience, renting to tenants with pets is a trouble-free experience.


Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Repairs, Maintenance & Fair Wear & Tear

16 September 2020

Taking care & looking after a rental property is a shared responsibility between tenants, landlords, and the Property Manager if managed by a Real Estate Agency.

The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is fit to live in and that repairs and maintenance are completed so that the property is in a reasonable state of repair. The tenant is responsible for keeping the property reasonably clean and undamaged and leave it in the same condition it was in when they moved in (fair wear and tear excepted). If the property is managed through a Real Estate Agency, then the Property Manager will act on behalf of the Landlord and will ensure that the property is fit to live in and is the go-to person, for the tenant to report any repairs or maintenance issues that arise during the tenancy.

What happens when maintenance and repairs are needed?

A tenant should contact their Property Manager or Landlord (if not managed by an Agency) as soon as possible and report the maintenance and/or repairs that are needed.

The Property Manager will need to identify how the maintenance and/or repair came to light. Was it due to damage caused by the tenant or just wear and tear?

If it was damaged caused by the tenant, then the tenant will be responsible for the reasonable cost of repairing, restoration and/or replacement to rectify the damage, however, if it is wear and tear, then the landlord will bear the costs.

What is ‘fair wear & tear’?

Fair wear and tear, is a term for damage that either naturally or inevitably occurs as a result of normal use and/or ageing. Another way to look at it is, fair wear and tear is damage that occurs even when an item is used competently and with care and proper maintenance. This covers property fixtures and items that deteriorate over time due to daily use and/or ageing.

Some of these are:

  • Worn kitchen benchtops
  • Worn handles or hinges
  • Scuffed flooring on the carpet on high traffic foot areas

On the other hand, it is not, wear and tear when the damage to the property is due to an accident, negligence, or even malicious.

Some of these are:

  • Burns on kitchen benchtops
  • Holes in the walls
  • Stains or burn marks on the carpet

As an example, carpet has an expected lifespan of 10 years, and therefore wear and tear consistent with its lifespan is expected, so daily walking on the carpet will result in wear and tear.

However, excessive staining, like from a spilled glass of red wine would not be considered ‘fair wear and tear’.

Somethings aren’t always as clear cut, so your Property Manager will need to apply some common sense and ask the right questions in order to make an informed decision on whether or not the damage is ‘fair wear and tear’.

Saying that fair wear and tear is not always something that requires repair, but simply needs to be taken into account based on the age and economical life of a fixture or fitting. Fair wear and tear always has to be a consideration, for example, at a final inspection at the end of a tenancy.

‘Fair wear and tear’ forms part of a Lease Agreement

The NSW, Residential Tenancy Agreement (Lease Agreement) and the NSW, Tenant Information Statement both reference the term ‘fair wear and tear’. Fair wear and tear is the responsibility of the landlord, and tenants are not responsible for paying for ‘fair wear and tear’, however, tenants need to be aware that it is there obligation to leave the residential premises as nearly as possible in the same condition, fair wear and tear excepted, as at the commencement of the tenancy.

There is though, excessive wear and tear, which takes into account, how long tenants have resided in the property or how long it’s been since things like repainting or flooring have taken place.

Excessive wear and tear, is wear from use that isn’t normal and that can come from a lack of overall care taken or just too many people residing in a property, above what has been agreed, as noted on your Lease Agreement.

Tenants need to be mindful that the cost of repairs, or the restoration of, the premises or goods leased with the premises if it is a result of damage caused by the tenant, other than ‘fair wear and tear’, may be deducted from the bond.

Landlords, what you need is a Property Manager that knows the difference and can step in accordingly, and tenants, you need a Property Manager that’s willing to take the time to Inspect the property and explain what’s what.


Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/