Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to rent my property?
This will vary from property to property and suburb to suburb. Statistics recently released from www.rent.com.au show that for SA Properties, the average number of days on market was 30. Our own figures show that Stanley Samuels properties averaged less than half this, in the same period. What we can say with some certainty is that we can advise you on what simple things you can do to your property to present it in the best possible manner, helping it lease faster AND for more rent.
How often can I increase the rent?
When you have a good tenant in place, our recommendation is to review the rent every year to ensure it is correct to the market. There is no point in raising the rent above market value, driving the tenant out in the process and then facing an extended vacancy period with associated costs AND no rent. This practice may benefit an agency, but it does not benefit an owner.
How often will you carry out inspections?
We suggest and recommend regular inspections at intervals of 3-4 months. Should you want to vary this, we are happy to discuss your needs. Regular inspections (with accompanying reports) are an excellent way to ensure that the tenancy is being conducted in an appropriate manner, and that property maintenance issues are addressed in a timely manner.
Can I use my own contractors for maintenance?
Absolutely. We have a long list of preferred and regularly used contractors but are more than happy to use any contractors of your choice. Please note that we do not receive any commissions or kickbacks from any of our contractors (other than chocolates at Christmas…)
How much notice do I need to give to do repairs?
If the repairs are deemed to be emergency work, you are able to attend the property at any time. If the work is general maintenance, 7-14 days written notice is required.
Can I give notice to move back in?
If your property is leased on a fixed term you cannot give notice to move back in to your property prior to the end of the lease. You may be able to negotiate with the tenant to end the tenancy earlier, but only if the tenant agrees to it. If your property is leased on a periodic arrangement (week to week) then you need to give either 60 or 90 days written notice, depending on your reasons for access.
What if I want to sell my rented property?
Selling a property with a sitting tenant in place requires a certain skill that unfortunately not all selling agents possess. A good working relationship needs to be in place between agent and tenant in order to achieve the best outcome. You have probably seen examples of online photos of a poorly presented rental property, and this can take thousands of dollars off a selling price. With careful planning and negotiation, as well as the right approach, it doesn’t have to be this way. We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss how we go about achieving the best results for our clients in these circumstances – So please call us if you are in this situation!
If I do sell, how much notice do I have to give my tenant?
If you are selling a property with a fixed term lease, you can’t give notice to the tenant to vacate before the lease expires. You can ask, but the tenant is entitled to stay until the lease ends if they want to. If the tenancy is periodic, you will need to give the tenant 60 days written notice to vacate, if you want to offer the property with vacant possession. Of course no notice would be needed if the purchaser intends to keep renting the property out and is happy for the tenant to remain.
Should I lease the property furnished or unfurnished?
Adding furniture can add value to your rental property, but we look at it on a case by case basis. Generally we find only properties in or close to the CBD, North Adelaide or at Glenelg are worth leasing on a furnished basis. In some cases leaving furniture in the property can be detrimental to it being leased. Owners need to remember that all furniture and appliances included in the lease will need to be maintained and repaired (or replaced) if necessary, and these costs need to be weighed up against any extra rental to determine if it is worth doing or not. The call out fees, repair costs and replacement costs could far exceed any extra rent being received.
Is it better to invest in houses or units?
There is no right or wrong answer, rather a question of ‘what suits an investor best’. A well located unit will usually outperform a poorly chosen house and vice versa. The question needs to be answered in conjunction with more information, such as how long the property will be owned, is the owner putting in any equity or borrowing the full amount, what is the cash flow position for the owner, will they have reserve funds for repairs & maintenance, are they considering redevelopment in later years? In very general terms units achieve a slightly higher yield than houses and can also have greater tax depreciation benefits. This can make them more ‘affordable’ for an investor to buy and hold. They also require less maintenance, in general, than a house. However, they usually don’t offer any potential for future re-development, in the way that a house on a large piece of land may do. By spending some time prior to the purchase, we can carry out due diligence with rental returns & vacancy rates, and together with the additional input from their financial advisor, help the client make the correct decision for them.
Should we allow pets?
This is a regular ‘sore point’ for landlords and tenants alike. Landlords hate finding damage to their properties done by a tenants’ pet, and tenants, conversely get frustrated by the number of properties they are excluded from because of the ‘no pets’ policy of these owners. With careful tenant selection, many owners have been very happy with the outcomes of their tenancies involving pets. However, if our stringent reference checks don’t give us total peace of mind about a potential applicant’s pet history, we simply won’t recommend them to an owner.
Should we rent for 6 or 12 months?
We usually recommend or arrange 12 month leases. However, there are times when a shorter (or longer) term may be preferable if it brings the lease expiry date into line with a stronger market. No-one wants to be trying to lease their beach-side property in July, when it was possible to arrange for it to be vacant in January, with just a little more effort and negotiation.
Do I have to attend tribunal hearings?
You can attend if you want, but you don’t have to, as we do this on your behalf. We will prepare all the necessary legal documentation required for a successful hearing. We are fully conversant with The Residential Tenancies Act as well as the tribunal process, and know what needs to be done to ensure a positive outcome for our clients.
How much notice do I need to give my current Property Manager?
If you as dissatisfied with the quality of service that you are currently receiving and are unable to resolve this situation with your current property manager, you will need to refer to the agreement you entered in to with them. If that agreement has expired or lapsed, you may be required to give 60 day’s notice. By simply notifying Stanley Samuels Property Management, we can take care of this for you, notifying your current Property Manager and arranging for the collection of all documents, files, keys etc.
What are the current vacancy rates?
Current vacancy rates are around 3%. Over the last 20 years our vacancy rates have been consistently lower than the industry average, month on month. Obviously, lower vacancies mean more rent for our clients.
Should I get a tax deprecation schedule done?
This will depend on a few factors. If you are planning to rent out your property for any length of time, we would suggest discussing the matter with a Quantity Surveyor. They will advise you on whether it is worthwhile for you to have a Tax Depreciation Schedule done or not. Depending on the age and type of property, they will be able to give you an immediate indication on the levels of Tax Depreciation you could expect. Generally speaking, the newer the property and the longer you intend renting the property out, the better the tax advantages.
What about smoke alarms?
Smoke Alarms have been legally required in residential properties for many years. Stanley Samuels now recommend the use of a third party company, who for a small tax deductible expense, will carry out regular inspections of smoke alarms, replacing them where necessary, and then providing us with a Certificate of Compliance for a 12 month period. We see this valuable service as further protection not only for our clients and their properties, but also to our tenants.
Will the tenant be charged water use?
You can charge the tenant for all water use as well as the water supply charges, but it’s not always recommended to do this. We suggest reviewing this on an individual basis, given the great diversity in properties.
How much Security Bond can we collect?
For properties that let for $250.00 per week and under, the maximum Security Bond is equivalent to four week’s rent. For rentals above $250.00 per week, the maximum Security Bond is the equivalent of six week’s rent.