How to Prepare Your Property for Rent

With the end of the year upon us, we are speaking to our clients about preparing their homes for 2020.

For some homeowners it may bring the adventure of renting out their property for the first time, and for experienced investors, potentially preparing their properties for lease as their current tenants vacate. 

Nonetheless it's important to understand how to properly prepare your property for rent, so you not only start of a new lease agreement confidently but to also maximise your return on investment and minimise the likelihood of significant maintenance occurring later down the track. 

At About You Real Estate, we work hard to educate our clients on how to prepare their rental properties before they go to market, to ensure we secure great tenants as quickly as possible. 

We've prepared our GO TO MARKET checklist below for landlords to use to get their properties ready to lease:

Look at your property's external and outdoor areas - are they clean, orderly and easy for tenants to maintain? Is there obvious external damage to the property that could worsen? In QLD we do have a reputable storm season, and our summers can bring some extreme heat, so it's best to regularly inspect and update any outdoor fixtures or areas that may be damaged, in need of repair or are detrimental in adequately maintaining your rental property. 

For gardens and landscaping, how easy is this for a tenant to maintain themselves? Will there need to be a lot of effort spent keeping the property in its original state? Tenants are busy people too, so it's best to provide a low-maintenance, easy-to-keep backyard and external space for them to manage so that all parties can remain happy as to the ongoing state of the property's facade. 

Furnishings and fixtures play an important role in either modernising or ageing a property, and can also be beneficial in the heating and cooling of a property.

For the summer period ask yourself if your blinds are in good nick. Do they look clean and presentable? For windows check to see if there is any damage or maintenance required, or do you need to look at blinds to provide relief to tenants on those scorching hot summer days? Blinds and coverings on windows also provide privacy for your tenants, so think also of their overall comfort and wellbeing in your property. 

How do the floors look? Does the carpet need a good steam clean, or do certain tiles need replacing? Keep in mind the state of the property you provide to prospective tenants is the state of the property they are legally able to leave the property in. Spending the time repairing, fixing or even replacing certain aspects of your property can pay off big time down the track, as well as potentially increasing your return on investment and attracting better quality tenants. 

This is a BIGGIE! Always, always, ALWAYS have your property immaculately cleaned before renting out to prospective tenants. As mentioned, the state of the property you leave to your new tenants will be the state of the property (minus fair wear and tear) that your tenants will be able to leave the property in.

Organising a professional bond cleaner also means you have peace of mind that your property is in the very best state for new tenants to move into. Just think back to when you move properties, do you like to move into a dirty and unclean home? Tenants are human too, and setting a good example from the get go and be advantageous in setting the standards and respect for your property during the tenancy agreement. 

Are you allowing pets at your property? Do you know when the last pest treatment was conducted? It's advised to have your property treated once every 12 months to eliminate the chances of pests and rodents invading your property, and it's a good practice to keep your property free of these vermin.

Not only does this secure your property from potential pest damage, but it also ensures your tenants remain comfortable and happy (free from pests!) during their tenancy agreement. You can now organise pest treatments for pests such as ants, cockroaches, rats and mice, spiders, fleas, wasps and much more. 

Dripping taps..... leaking pipes.... let's
talk maintenance!

Be sure that your property is free from the usual (and bigger than usual!) maintenance problems. Not only does the protect your property from potential damage, but it also ensures your property is in the very best shape at the beginning of a tenancy agreement. 

No body wants burst pipes, water damage or mould in their property! 

We're talking about the oven, the dishwasher, the air conditioners.... what state are these appliances in when you leave them behind? Do you have a depreciation schedule for when these appliances should be replaced (what is the lifespan of each of these items)?

Without a doubt if you're a long-term landlord you'll be looking at replacing appliances throughout your leasing career, so it's good to plan for these major expenditures and also invest in reputable brands with great warranties. Consider also having them regularly serviced so that they are well maintained, and you get the full use out of their lifespans (eg. air conditioners being cleaned and serviced etc).

Talk to us more on this as there are certain special terms available for lease agreements with maintaining certain appliances! 

Do you know you have obligations as a landlord to maintain your property's smoke alarms, safety switches and certain aspects of the property's pool? 

For smoke alarms, there was new legislation imposed by the Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) on the 1st January 2017 which detailed the additional obligations on property owners and managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

If the existing smoke alarms were manufactured less than 10 years ago, and are still in good working order, they will comply with the new legislative requirements.

However the due date for compliance with the new legislation is the 1st January 2022, so for outdated or non-compliant smoke alarms it is best to start planning the implementation of appropriate systems into your rental property now. 

Want to know more about this legislation, and have a plan to organise your property to meet the compliance deadline? Talk to us about this, and how we manage our client's current obligations to ensure they are organised for the due date. 

For safety switches, QLD legislation details that landlords of domestic rental accommodation must install a safety switch in their rental properties, if one is not already fitted. This is so occupants of the property are protected from electric shock. If your rental property doesn't currently have a safety switch installed, you must arrange for one to be installed prior to confirming a lease agreement, by a licensed electrician. 

Not sure if your property has one, or not sure if it's 100% installed properly? Get instant peace of mind, and contact us to find out more. We work with fantastic local suppliers who are competitively priced and experts at what they do, and we'd be happy to organise the right contact on your behalf. 

Have a pool at your property? There are certain obligations you have as a landlord with a property that contains a pool. Firstly pool owners must have a pool safety certificate issued by a licensed pool safety inspector. A copy of the certificate should be included with the tenancy agreement. If a certificate has not been obtained the tenant may consider it a breach of the property owner’s duty to comply with all health and safety laws (RTA).

Pool maintenance is generally covered in the special terms of the tenancy agreement.

Generally, the tenant is responsible for everyday maintenance such as clearing leaves from the pool and may be responsible for regular maintenance. This should be discussed before signing a tenancy agreement.

Ideally it's best to provide tenants with a set of instructions for any maintenance the tenant must carry out, and we recommend receiving such instruction from our clients to ensure all parties are on the same page before agreeing to a lease agreement. Have a pool contractor you like to use? Pool maintenance covered by a contract between the yourself as the property owner, our agency, tenants and the contractor should be included in the tenancy agreement to ensure transparency and eliminate potential conflicts. 

As we all know, QLD summer can be scorching hot. Our winter time can also get quite chilly, and it's nice to know you can come home to a property that is sufficiently heated and cooled. 

Think about how you enjoy your property during these seasonal periods. Tenants often are attracted to properties that appear to have sufficient heating and cooling systems, such as ceiling fans, air conditioners and heaters. Tenants also find appealing lots of natural light for organic heating, as well as security screens to allow airflow through a home. 

If you haven't invested in your property's heating and cooling systems it's a great time to investigate prior to putting your property up for lease. We are connected with great local suppliers (electricians, air conditioner installers, solar panel installers etc), who manage our various other properties, who offer great services as well as quality guarantees. If you need a second opinion or are looking for a competitive quote, speak to us for more information! 

No ifs, no buts, landlord insurance is ABSOLUTE. You wouldn't get into a car these days without putting on your seatbelt, now would you? 

The same goes for landlord insurance. Landlord Insurance is a type of insurance policy designed specifically to help financially protect landlords for some of the common risks associated with renting their investment property (Terri Scheer). 

At About You Real Estate, we regularly recommend Terri Scheer for our landlords in organising top-rate landlord insurance. Terri Scheer Landlord Insurance includes cover for:
  • Loss of rental income should your tenant abscond, default on the rent in some circumstances, experience hardship and are released per court order, or you’re prevented from accessing the property due to damage caused by an insured event; or 
  • If your property is untenantable for a minimum of 7 days whilst tenant related damage to contents by an insured event is being repaired.

Terri Scheer Landlord Insurance also provides cover for your property against loss or damage caused by tenants, whether malicious, accidental or deliberate. This includes:

  • Building Cover: Fixtures and fittings, such as hot water systems, built-in air-conditioners and heaters, built-in cabinetry, doors, walls and windows, fencing, paths, driveways and in-ground swimming pools, rainwater tanks and solar panels, floor tiles.
  • Landlord contents cover: This could be big ticket contents items like light fittings, blinds and curtains, carpets, and electrical appliances. 
Landlord insurance provides you with the peace of mind, protection and confidence that your investment is adequately protected. If you have any further queries, contact us with your concerns or alternatively speak with a Terri Scheer consultant directly to receive further information on your specific circumstances.

Overall... what's the key take away? 
The key to making your property desirable to prospective tenants is to put yourself in their position... if you wouldn't want to live in your rental property, why would they?

Cleanliness, organising maintenance PRIOR to putting your property on the market, and having working and operational appliances are a few of the ways you can maximise your chances of not only being successful in leasing your property quickly, but also securing great quality tenants who will look after your investment. It also provides you with protection in knowing your property is well maintained and orderly at the beginning of a lease agreement. 

Have any further queries on getting your property ready for rent? Simply get in touch with us! We'd love to speak to you. 

Published 18th December 2019