Victoria is considered as the second most populated state in the country. There are plenty of economic opportunities in the state; therefore more people will need a place to stay. This is where your property will be useful for making money. Investors would be happy to know that leasing in Victoria is worth their while.
Leasing your property in the State of Victoria is a very exciting business prospect in Australia. As a landlord, there are certain rules and regulations about leasing a residential property that you need to inform yourself with. This way, you won’t find yourself in any kind of conflict with any laws in any point of your tenant’s occupancy. This article discusses leasing in Victoria only. For national regulations, please read our Leasing in Australia section.
Leasing in Victoria: Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the necessary documents and permits do you need for leasing in Victoria?
- 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 I need for leasing in Victoria?
If this is your first time to lease your property in Victoria, you might find this situation a little tedious and complicated. However, once done correctly, this ensures that your business will run smoothly and without conflict with any laws, whether local or federal.
Here are some of the permits that you need to secure before leasing your property, depending on your situation:
Planning and Building Permit
You can secure these on Victoria Building Authority.
This is applicable if your property stands on a heritage site. Any repairs or maintenance must have an approval from the Victorian Heritage Register.
Swimming pool or spa permit
If your property has a swimming pool or a spa facility, you need to secure a permit to operate it. The city council will also conduct inspection to see if the pool has safety features for children.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) also provides detailed information about what other kinds of permits that you might need.
What are the important documents I need to require potential tenants?
Leasing a property requires plenty of legalities and formalities that both parties (the landlord and the tenant) need to fulfill. When leasing in Victoria, your potential tenants need to submit the following:
Proof of identity (identification cards such as passport, driver’s licence, Medicare card, or birth certificate.)
Proof of income
Recent bank statements
Once they have submitted the necessary documents, ask them for permission to contact the names they have provided for character reference.
The information about the rental history can help you evaluate each candidate on whether or not they can pay the rent on time and their possible behaviour inside the property.
How do I craft a tenancy contract?
Lease contracts can either be written or verbal. However, most property owners prefer to have their contracts written in order to show proof during cases of disputes. Crafting a written tenancy contract is one of the important aspects of leasing your property. However, a written tenancy contract must exactly reflect the wording of the official Residential Tenancy Agreement.
Basically, a tenancy contract includes the following clauses:
The rental fee
How much are you going to charge the tenant for their stay in the property?
The duration of the contract
How long is the tenant going to stay inside the property? This is one of the things that you need to clear with the applicant form the very beginning in order to prevent any confusion that may lead to dispute.
The amount of bond required
A bond is a payment by a resident or tenant to the landlord that acts as a security against the tenant for not meeting the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. In Victoria, the maximum rental bond that a landlord can charge a tenant is one month’s worth of rent if the weekly rent is $350.
The rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant
Landlords, property managers, and agents are required to hand out a copy of Renting a home: A Guide for Tenants to the tenants on or before the occupation day. A fine of $500 will be imposed on erring landlords.
Any extra terms and conditions must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
There are two types of tenancy contracts that you can craft:
1. Fixed-term contract
Fixed-term contracts have specific end dates. For instance, the tenant has agreed to rent your property for six months. During that period, he will agree to pay the agreed rental fee.
2. Continuing contract
The continuing contract has no specific end date. All you need to do as a landlord is to make sure that the tenants pay the rental fee on time and the terms and conditions are not violated.
Before you make the tenant sign the lease contract, make sure that they understand everything. Also, make sure that you can give satisfactory answer to all their queries whether on the phone or during personal interview.
For any unpaid utility bills by previous tenants, the landlord or property owner must reimburse the tenant for any fees, taxes or rates that the new ones have paid to a public authority that are not part of any consumption charges for their service. However, the occupants or tenants can be charged for these expenses if their lease is a fixed-term contract for more than a year and their lease agreement stipulates this.
How do I settle disputes concerning tenants?
Disputes between a landlord and a tenant are very common. One of the landlord’s duties is to talk to the tenant whenever there are conflicts. Dialogue is an expense-free method of settling your differences with the tenant. However, once you have exhausted all the avenues of communicating with the tenant, you can elevate the matter on a third party mediator. This third-party mediator is the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal or VCAT.
VCAT has a Residential Tenancies List that is made to hear disputes between tenants and landlords. If you think that talking to the tenants personally has no effect, you can take these steps to lodge a complaint to VCAT:
- State your complaint by signing a VCAT application form.
- Pay the necessary fee for lodging the complaint (except bond claims).
Once you have lodged the complaint and paid the fee, copies of the notices will be sent to all concerned parties. The VCAT will then ask for important documents such as receipts, letters, statutory declarations, photographs, and other necessary documents. The originals must always be available during the VCAT hearing.
The VCAT will then set a time and date for the hearing and inform the landlord and the tenant about it. If the hearing date conflicts your schedule, you must inform the VCAT immediately in order to sort out another hearing date.
How can I make property management easier?
Having many properties on lease, the State of Victoria helps their property owners make leasing easier by producing RentRight. RentRight is a phone app that helps landlords and renters exchange information with ease. The RentRight app can be downloaded on iPhone or Android devices.
With RentRight, landlords can do the following:
- inform renters about belongings in the premises and those left behind by previous renters;
- inform renters about scheduled inspections and maintenance activities;
- create reports regarding the property (such as inspection report and condition report);
- set and send reminders regarding payment due and end of lease schedule;
- find information about a landlord's rights and responsibilities.
If a landlord makes use of RentRight, it would be best that they recommend their renters to download the app as well so they can communicate property information and related concerns through the app.
RentRight can be downloaded through the following links:
Knowing all the rules and regulations when leasing in Victoria makes your job as a landlord a whole lot easier. Also, you gain knowledge of all possible things that your tenants might use against you to avoid their responsibilities while renting your property. However, these rules and regulations also serve as a reminder to you that you need to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities in order to make your property a nice place to stay for a long period of time.
If following all these regulations seem daunting to you, it would be best to hire a reliable property manager. Although an added expense, a good property manager can take all the hassles of leasing your investment property. All you need to do is check in from time to time and expect payments in your account regularly. We can help connect you with the best property managers in the area. Just send us a message and we'll do the rest.