Frequently Asked Questions

Landlord Information

How much is your property worth on today’s rental market?
Daily contact with the rental market provides us with a sound knowledge of current rental prices in our area. We will give you an opinion of the price range your property will achieve based on comparable property rentals within the same area. Our sales department can also provide you with an annual update of your property’s "sale" market value.

How do we seek out prospective tenants?
We commence marketing your property from the moment you place it in our hands. Internet, window display, rent list and local print media is where you can see your property whilst we are finding you a "quality" tenant.

Your property will be listed on our website and national websites, and Your property will also be listed on our office rent list , displayed in our window and also cross matched with numerous prospective tenants on our database.

How do we qualify our prospective tenants?
Whilst we appreciate the need to secure tenants quickly, we are careful to ensure that only the highest calibre of tenants are permitted to lease properties we manage. Our strict tenant qualification process includes:
  • Employment confirmation of both past and present employers
  • Verification of both past and present rental histories
  • As members of Tenants Information Centre of Australia (T.I.C.A.), we are able to search tenants and their previous history. As T.I.C.A services Europe and New Zealand, we are able to verify the history of prospective tenants who may have moved to Australia from overseas.
  • The final decision rests with you, the landlord.

How do we prepare our residential tenancy agreements?
After the tenant has been selected and a reservation deposit paid, we prepare the Residential Tenancy Agreement and all other associated documentation. Our staff are conversant in related legal maters and will ensure the documentation is completed accurately and efficiently.

How is your property inspected?
Prior to the tenant occupying the property, we conduct an extensive inspection and prepare an ingoing condition report outlining the condition and presentation of the property. The tenant also gets an opportunity at this time to complete an ingoing condition report to agree or disagree with the comments made on the report.

Regular inspections are then conducted quarterly (every 3 months) to ensure that the tenants are meeting the terms of their lease and to advise you of any maintenance or repairs that may be required.

At the end of the tenancy, to determine the rental bond refund accurately, we conduct an outgoing inspection once the tenants have surrendered possession of the property.

What happens if your tenant doesn’t pay their rent on time?
In the event of rental arrears, a strict procedure is followed to minimise the arrears as much as possible.
  • 1-3 days in arrears - SMS messaging
  • 3-7 days in arrears - letter sent requesting rectification of arrears amount immediately
  • 7-14 days in arrears - tenant contacted by phone
  • 15 days in arrears - Notice of Termination issued

To ensure consistent payment through every available facility convenient to all tenants, we have the following payment options:
  • Internet banking
  • Direct Debit
  • Phone Banking
  • Payment in person at our office by bank cheque or money order

What happens if something breaks or needs repairing?
If left un-attended, repairs and maintenance of your investment property can eat a huge hole into your returns. We know just how important it is to keep on top of all maintenance issues and keep you informed as maintenance needs come to our attention. We have found that tenants will continue to rent properties on an ongoing basis if action to rectify repairs or maintenance issues are carried out in a timely manner. It also helps smooth the way at increasing rental income.

How do we pay you and when?
We supply you with a clear and easily understood statement every month. We pay you twice a month in the following manner:
  • On the 15th day of each month. Where the 15th day falls on the weekend, we will pay you on the following Monday.
  • Between the 1st and 4th day of each month.

Any monies held will be directly deposited to your nominated bank account via Electronic Funds Transfer. One statement per month will be issued.

Can we pay invoices for you?
Absolutely! Should you wish us to pay any invoices from the rental monies we collect, just let us know and we can arrange for the accounts to be sent direct to us and paid. We can pay the following:
  • Council rates
  • Water rates
  • Insurance premiums
  • Maintenance accounts
  • Strata levies
  • Any accounts you direct us to pay

Do we issue end of year financial reports?
Of course. To assist your accountant with taxation issues we will prepare and provide you with an End of Financial Year report in July each year.

How much does it cost to have Eastern Suburbs Property Group manage your rental property?
Every property is different and most property owner’s requirements are different, therefore our fees are based on an assessment by us of the time and expertise required to provide you with a management package that suits you. At Eastern Suburbs Property Group you are dealing with people who have extensive knowledge in tenancy management. We are constantly updating our knowledge and skills and are committed to providing you with a service far beyond any expectation you may have.

Tenant Information

What documents must be given to the tenant by an agent prior to entering into an agreement?
  • a copy of the proposed tenancy agreement (including a premises condition report, in duplicate), filled out where appropriate in the spaces provided; and
  • a written statement as to the costs payable by the tenant on signing the agreement; and
  • a copy of the Renting guide.
The tenant must be given time to read and understand the tenancy agreement before being asked to sign.

What is the length of a tenancy agreement?
The length of the fixed-term period of the tenancy is a matter to be agreed upon. The most common fixed term periods are 6 months or 12 months. The parties can agree to have a tenancy agreement for any other length of time.

What happens when the fixed-term period of the tenancy ends?
Once the fixed-term period of the tenancy ends the tenancy agreement itself does not end unless it is terminated by either the landlord or the tenant. If it is not terminated, the agreement becomes a continuing agreement with the same terms and conditions.

What is a condition report?
Whenever a tenancy begins a premises condition report must be filled out. It should be a true and accurate account of the condition of the premises. The condition report may become the most important piece of evidence if a dispute arises over the condition of the premises at the end of the tenancy.

The steps needed to complete a condition report are:
  • The landlord or agent must fill out and sign the condition report in triplicate (ie. 3 copies) noting the cleanliness, general condition and working order of each applicable item on the report. Any comments should be written in the space provided, or on a separate page if there is no room.
  • If the property is furnished a list of all the furniture and the condition of each item should be attached to the report.
  • The tenant should then be given 2 copies of the filled out condition report at or before the time the tenancy begins.
  • The tenant should take the report away and fill out the ’tenant agrees’ column with a Y (for yes) or an N (for no). If the tenant does not agree they should write a reason in the comments area of the report.
  • The tenant should sign and return a copy to the landlord or agent within 7 days and keep the other copy for themselves.

What is a reservation fee?
A reservation (deposit) fee is an amount of money (no more than one week’s rent) that is sometimes paid to reserve the premises while an application for tenancy is being considered. A reservation fee is a sign of good faith, but does not guarantee that the tenancy will go ahead.

If the landlord or agent decides not to go ahead with the tenancy, on the agreed terms, or makes no decision within one week of the fee being paid, the full amount must be refunded. Should the tenancy go ahead the reservation fee is applied to the first week’s rent.

If the applicant withdraws, the landlord may retain rent for the days the premises were reserved. This is provided the premises were not let or occupied during the period of reservation, no more than one reservation fee was being held at the same time and a proper receipt and written acknowledgment were given to the prospective tenant when the fee was paid.

What is the rental bond?
A rental bond is an amount of money paid by a tenant as a form of security for the landlord against any future breaches of the tenancy agreement. The maximum rental bond that can be asked for is:
  • Four weeks rent, for unfurnished premises, or
  • Six weeks rent, for fully furnished premises with a rent of $250 or less per week, or
  • Unlimited, if the rent for fully furnished premises is more than $250 per week.

The amount of bond that is to be paid (if any) must be written on the agreement.
The landlord or agent must send any bond paid to the Renting Services Branch of the Office of Fair Trading, within seven days. A lodgement form is needed to do this and can be obtained from the Renting Services Branch of the Office of Fair Trading, any Fair Trading Centre or from any branch of the Commonwealth Bank.

Demanding or receiving a written guarantee from a tenant, or somebody on their behalf, is not permitted. A rental bond must be in the form of money and not as a guarantee.

How often must rent be paid?
A tenant must pay the rent in advance from the first day of the tenancy. The tenant can be required to pay:
  • two weeks rent in advance, if the weekly rent is $300 or less, or
  • one month rent in advance, if the weekly rent is more than $300.

It is important to remember that a tenant cannot be required to pay the rent other than on a weekly or fortnightly basis if the weekly rent is $300 or less.

Advance rent is not money that the landlord can keep in reserve as some form of extra rental bond. A tenant cannot be asked to make any more rent payments until the rent which they last paid has been used. For example; on the day the tenancy commences the tenant may pay two weeks rent and be 14 days in advance. As each day passes the tenant becomes one day less in advance, so that when the rent next falls due (a fortnight later) the tenant is no longer in advance with the rent. By making their next fortnightly payment the tenant is again 14 days in advance and the cycle continues.

Does a tenant have to pay agreement costs?
The landlord can ask the tenant to pay half the cost of preparation of the tenancy agreement, but only up to a maximum of $15 (GST inclusive).

This means that if an agent or solicitor charges more than $30 to prepare an agreement the landlord must pay the balance over $15.

What keys have to be given to the tenant?
All tenants listed on the agreement must be given a set of keys and all other lock opening devices, swipe cards, remote controls, etc., so that they can enter and secure any part of the premises. This includes keys to any door, window, garage, or letterbox locks. Under no circumstances can any tenant be charged a separate fee, bond or deposit for keys.

When can rent be increased?
Rent may be increased after the fixed term period of the agreement has expired. Before a landlord (other than the Department of Housing) can increase the rent the tenant must be given at least 60 days notice in writing. The notice must show the amount of the increased rent and the day from which the increased rent is to be paid. This also applies where an existing agreement is to be renewed.
If the notice is sent by post at least four working days should be added to the amount of notice, to allow time for the notice to be delivered.

For rent to increase during a fixed term tenancy the agreement must have an additional term showing the amount of the increase or the method of calculating it. A 60 days rent increase notice must still be given.

Who pays water and sewerage charges?
Landlords are responsible for paying all service charges for water and sewerage issued by the local water supply authority.

In some cases a tenant may be asked to pay, to the landlord, the water usage part of the bill. Under no circumstances can connection fees be passed on to the tenant.

The ‘water usage’ charge which appears on the landlord’s bill for the rented premises is for the total amount of water which flows through the water meter on the property.

A tenant may only be charged for water usage when they have agreed to pay for water usage under the additional terms of the tenancy agreement. If there is no additional term about ‘water usage’ (usually under clause 29 of the standard form of residential tenancy agreement), a tenant cannot be asked to pay any amount.

A tenant can only be charged for the metered amount of water which they use. For this reason it is important that the water meter be read and the figure noted on the premises condition report before the start of each tenancy. Otherwise there will be no way of dividing the first account between the tenant and the former occupant.
If there is no individual meter for the rented premises, as is the case with most blocks of units, a tenant cannot be charged for water usage. If the supply authority has a minimum amount payable for all properties the tenant does not have to pay for water.

A tenant is entitled to a photocopy of the water account and should pay any amount owing before the due date on the bill.

Some water authorities also charge a fee for sewerage discharge or waste water. This fee is usually based on the amount of water supplied to the premises (eg. 75% of water consumption) and may be charged to the tenant.

When does the tenant have to allow access to the property?
The landlord, agent or any person authorised by the landlord may enter the premises only in the following circumstances:
  • to carry out a general inspection of the premises if the tenant is given at least seven days notice. There can be no more than four inspections in any twelve month period.
  • to carry out necessary repairs if the tenant is given at least two days prior notice. The repairs must be necessary and must not simply be improvements or renovations. For urgent repairs no notice is necessary.
  • to show the premises to prospective tenants on a reasonable number of occasions if the tenant gets reasonable notice on each occasion. This access is only permitted during the final 14 days of the tenancy.
  • to show the premises to prospective buyers, on a reasonable number of occasions if the tenant gets reasonable notice on each occasion. What is ’reasonable’ is for the parties to agree upon. The Tribunal can settle any disputes if one party believes the other is being unreasonable. Access to show buyers can occur at any stage during the tenancy.
  • if there is good reason for the landlord to believe that the premises have been abandoned by the tenant.
  • in an emergency.
  • if the Tribunal orders that access be allowed, or
  • if the tenant agrees.

How does the tenant get repairs carried out?
The following steps are recommended when you want to have repairs or other work carried out:
  • Phone or speak to the landlord or agent in person, and explain what you think the problem is or what you would like done to the premises. Write down somewhere the date of all conversations and what was said. This will be important if the problem is not easily resolved.
  • If the response is favourable write a letter to the landlord or agent confirming your view of what was agreed to in the conversation.
  • If the response is negative, consider carefully if the problem is important enough to pursue the matter. If you believe it is, write a letter to the landlord or agent outlining what you want done. Give a reasonable time limit in which you expect the work to be carried out.
  • If the work has not been done within a reasonable time write a final letter to the landlord or the agent explaining that you intend to apply to the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal or seek the help of an advisory service.
  • If all else fails you can apply to the Tribunal for an order that the landlord carry out work to maintain the premises in reasonable repair. The Tribunal can also grant compensation, or allow the rent to be paid to the Tribunal until the work has been completed.
Under no circumstances should you stop paying the rent.

What is defined under urgent repairs?
Residential premises must always be ’fit to live in’. Landlords are obliged to organise any urgent repair, as soon as reasonably possible, after having been notified by the tenant of the fault or damage.
An urgent repair is any work needed to fix:
  • a burst water service
  • a blocked or broken lavatory system
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
  • a failure or breakdown of any essential service on the premises for hot water, cooking, heating or laundering
  • any fault or damage that causes the premises to be unsafe or not secure.

How is a tenancy terminated?
A tenancy will usually be terminated by either the landlord or the tenant giving notice to the other party. However, in certain circumstances the Tribunal may be required to make orders to terminate a tenancy.

A notice of termination must:
  • be in writing
  • state the address of the premises
  • be signed and dated
  • allow the required period of time
  • give the date on which the tenant intends to, or is requested to, move out (NB: do not use words such as ’by’ or ’on or before’ in the notice)
  • give full details of all breaches (if any) or reasons for ending the agreement
  • and, if given to a tenant, include a statement that information about their rights and obligations can be found in the tenancy agreement.

The notice can be posted or given personally. A notice cannot be stuck to or put under a door by the person sending the notice.

If the notice is sent by post at least 4 working days (not including the day the notice was sent) should be added to the amount of notice, to allow time for the notice to be delivered.

The notice period is counted from the day after the notice is served.

What are the notice periods?
When the fixed term period of the agreement is due to run out, either party can give 14 days notice to end the tenancy. This notice can be served up to and including the last day of the fixed term.
Once the fixed term period has ended, a tenant is required to give at least 21 days notice, and the landlord must give at least 60 days notice.

What happens if the property is sold?
If the premises are sold and vacant possession is required in the contract of sale, the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days written notice (after the contracts of sale have been exchanged). This is only applicable to continuing tenancy agreements.

What happens if the tenant wants to end the agreement early?
If a tenant wants to end their agreement early they should give as much notice as possible, preferably in writing (keep a copy of the letter). It is a good idea to state the exact date you intend to leave and that you want the landlord (or agent) to find a new tenant. Any assistance in finding a replacement tenant (such as making the property readily available for inspection) may help to reduce the costs involved.

Having said this, breaking an agreement can be costly. A landlord can claim compensation for any loss they suffer as a result of a tenant ending the agreement early. The costs a tenant could be liable for include:
  • rent until new tenants move in or the existing agreement runs out (whichever happens first);
  • a reletting fee (usually one weeks rent) when the property is let by an agent who charges the landlord a fee for finding new tenants; and
  • advertising costs.
For a landlord to successfully claim, they must be able to show that their loss was caused by the tenant breaking the agreement early, not by other factors. For example, if a tenant breaks the agreement just prior to the expiry date, the full amount of reletting and advertising charges may not be able to be passed on since the landlord would have incurred these expenses shortly anyway. The landlord also has a duty to keep their loss to a minimum. This means that the landlord must make a reasonable effort to find a new tenant, otherwise any claim they later make may be reduced by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.

When is the bond returned?
During the tenancy, the rental bond is held by the Office of Fair Trading. At the end of the tenancy, after the final inspection, a claim for Refund of Bond Money form should be filled out by the landlord or agent and given to the tenant to sign. Claim forms can be obtained from the Renting and Strata Services Branch of the Office of Fair Trading, any Fair Trading Centre, Commonwealth Bank branches or the Rental bonds page of this website.

Any disagreement over how the bond is to be paid out should first be discussed between the parties.
If agreement cannot be reached, either party may send a claim form to the Renting and Strata Services Branch of the Office of Fair Trading, without the signature of the other party. The bond will not be paid out straight away. A letter will be sent to the other party advising them of the claim and giving them 14 days to apply to the Tribunal to dispute the claim. If no reply is received within 14 days the bond will then be paid out.

No matter who applies to the Tribunal it is always up to the landlord to prove any claim on the bond.