Leasing in Australian Capital Territory

Leasing in Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is Australia’s federal district. It is a special region that is located in the south-east portion of the country and enclosed within the state of New South Wales.

The economic activity is heavily concentrated in Canberra. There is a steady employment, rapid population growth, and a stable housing market that made the ACT the second best performing economic region in Australia. If you have a property in the ACT, this is a good chance to earn money from it.

Leasing in Australian Capital Territory: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the necessary documents and permits do you need for leasing in the Australian Capital Territory?
What are the important documents I need to require potential tenants?
How do I craft a tenancy contract?
How do I settle disputes concerning tenants?
How can I make property management easier?

What are the necessary documents and permits do you need for leasing in the Australian Capital Territory?

Leasing your property for the first time is not as easy as it seems. As mandated by the Australian Capital Territory law, you need to secure documents and permits first before renting out your property.

Here are some of the permits that you need to secure:

Planning and building permit

If your property needs a major renovation, you need to get a planning and building permit. You can get it from the ACT Government Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate – Planning.

 

Heritage permit

If you property is located within or near a heritage site, you certainly need to secure a heritage permit before you can begin renovating your property. You can get the permit in https://www.environment.act.gov.au/heritage.

 

Swimming pool and spa permit

Before you lease your property with a swimming pool, you need to make sure that it is perfectly safe for small children to be around it even when unsupervised. According to the Building Act 2004, all swimming pools and spas in ACT need to have barriers and fences to restrict access of small children in order to prevent them from drowning.  You can get the permit here.

What are the important documents I need to require potential tenants?

Leasing a property requires many legalities that both the tenant and the landlord need to fulfil. If you are going to lease your property in Australian Capital Territory, you need to be as legal as possible to avoid troubles, both with the tenant and with the state or federal law, along the way.

If you are interviewing potential tenants, make sure that they submit the following documents:

  • Proof of identity
  • Rental history
  • Proof of income
  • Employment details
  • Recent bank statements
  • Character references

Once the potential tenants have submitted the required documents, ask them for permission to call the names they included on the character references.

The information regarding their employment details can help you evaluate whether they can afford the rental fee or not. The rental history, on the other hand, can help you assess their potential behaviour inside your property. If they have been blacklisted on the database, you certainly have the right to refuse them. After all, it is your foremost duty to protect every inch of your property against misbehaving tenants.

Leasing in Australian Capital Territory

How do I craft a tenancy contract?

Any kind of agreement that you enter in Australia, whether in verbal, written, or combination of both is considered legal and binding. The same can be sad when it comes to tenancy contracts. However, if you are going to enter an agreement with a tenant, it is highly suggested to put everything to writing. This can save you the confusion as to what was agreed verbally or what was agreed in writing. This can also serve as physical evidence in case disputes arise.

There are two kinds of contracts that you can craft:

Fixed-term contract

If the tenant wants to rent the property for at least six to 12 months, the suitable contract for this situation is the fixed-term contract. It has a definite beginning and end dates. During a fixed-term tenancy, the owner or the landlord cannot force the tenant to move out unless during cases of breach of contract such as non-payment of rent, extensive damage to property, and serious complaints from the neighbours.

Continuing contract

A continuing contract has no end date. Only the tenant can decide when to terminate the contract. During the tenancy, the owner or the landlord cannot force the tenant to move out unless there is a breach of contract. This includes non-payment of rent, serious damage to property, and complaints from the neighbours.

Once an agreement has been reached, you can ask the tenant to pay the bond. The tenant is required to lodge the bond to ACT Rental Bonds. If an agent or the lessor has received the bond, he or she must lodge it to the same agency.

Bonds can only be lodged by depositing it directly to the Rental Bonds account. The Rental Bond lodgement form must be posted or emailed.

Before you turn over the property to the tenant, make sure that it is at least:

  • Clean
  • Weatherproof
  • No leaking roof
  • Good repair
  • Good bathrooms and toilets
  • Excellent water and electricity connection
  • Excellent lighting capability
  • Has a working heating facility
  • Well-ventilated

Turning over your property to the tenants in an unacceptable condition is a grave violation of the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Act 2016.

If both parties have agreed to put their contract into writing, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the contract within 14 days before the tenancy. The contract must be easily legible, clearly expressed, printed in a font size of 10 or more, and signed by both parties.  

You have to remember, though, that you cannot agree to things that are not permitted under the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Act 2016. In addition, any kind of amendments to the tenancy contract such as an increase in rental fee must be communicated properly to the tenant before executing them.

How do I settle disputes concerning tenants?

Disputes between tenants and landlords happen all the time. Disputes arise when there is a breach in the tenancy contract. If you believe that your tenant is not adhering to the provisions stated in the contract, you can do the following steps in order to fix the situation:

Talk to the tenants directly

Talking to the occupants promote a healthy relationship between a landlord and the tenant. This way, you can easily address the issues that could otherwise take your time, money, and other valuable resources resolving the matter. It also pays a lot if you know your tenants’ work schedule. This way, you can easily align your schedule and choose the time where your work doesn’t coincide with theirs.

Issue notice of breach of contract

If talking to them is not working, you can issue a notice of breach of contract. This way, the tenants are updated of their breach in writing form. The purpose of the notice is to let the tenants know that they are violating the terms and conditions of the tenancy contract.

Elevate the matter to a third-party mediator

If you didn’t get a favourable response from them using a notice of breach of contract, you can bring the dispute to a third-party mediator. The third-party mediator is known as ACAT or ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. They may not be a court, but their decisions are legally binding.

 

How can I make property management easier?

If this is your first time to manage a property in the ACT, it is highly recommended that you hire a property manager. This way, you can slowly orient yourself to the real estate scene. Once you have acquired all the knowledge and confidence, you can now begin to manage your own property.

It also pays a lot to study and update yourself with the Australian Capital Territory law. This way, you can stand your ground firmly during times of disputes with tenants. Knowing a great deal about tenancy laws can save you money and time. It also prevents you from bringing the issue to the court.  

 

Professional property managers are always updated with the current regulations regarding tenancy, especially in the specific state they have been working in. If you are looking for property managers in the Australian Capital Territory, send us a message and we'll connect you with a reputable property manager to fulfill your needs.