Common Enquiries from Brisbane Property Owners & Tenants
Here are the top five most frequent enquiries our industry receives from Brisbane property owners and tenants.
Generally from tenants, these enquiries make almost a third of all enquiries. The most common question is about when the bond monies will be returned.
Ending a tenancy
These can be questions about the process itself, for example
what is the process for ending a tenancy agreement early (breaking a lease)?
how much notice is required to end a tenancy?
is it better to have a periodic or fixed term tenancy?
These enquiries are tricky as part of the answer comes down to legislation, but at the same time there may be multiple available options and responsibilities. For example, a tenant may need to apply directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) should there be a situation of excessive hardship (e.g. loss of job or domestic violence).
In all cases it is important that tenants, agents and owners communicate early and often during the lead up to the tenant(s) vacating. Rent is payable whilst the tenant remains in the property as outlined in their tenancy agreement. Even, if the tenant does give notice to vacate before the end date of a fixed term, vacates and hands the keys in, the tenant may still be liable to pay compensation to the property owner for loss of rent until the premises are re-let. The tenant may or may not be charged for other associated reasonable re-letting costs incurred by the owner (e.g. advertising expenses). In some instances, these costs may also be taken from the rental bond. The arrangements need to be sorted and agreed upon between the parties involved. If you would like to read more information on this topic you can visit the Residential Tenancies Authority’s website here.
Repairs and Maintenance
Repairs and maintenance is a growing area of enquiries and disputes. Brisbane property owners have a responsibility when it comes to maintaining their rental premises. Brisbane tenants have obligations to inform the owner/agent of any necessary repairs to be done. Regardless of a real estate agent’s office policies or practices, the legislation allows a tenant to issue a Form 11 Notice to Remedy Breach requesting the repair to be rectified. Responding early, keeping tenants informed of progress, and dealing with repairs in a reasonable timeframe can avoid matters escalating. When an item is not working, or access to part of the rental premises has been removed whilst repairs are being carried out, it may be a good option for Brisbane property owners to consider offering a rent reduction or compensation until the issue is rectified.
Entering a Rental Property
A common complaint from tenants is that of unlawful entry. Unlawful entry means an owner/agent hasn’t provided the tenant with the legislated necessities to enter the property. Legislation is strict on how and when an owner/agent can enter a rental property. These include –
Set timeframes that must be met for notifying the tenant(s) of entry.
A Form 9 Entry Notice must be used to notify the tenant(s) of entry prior to the owner/agent entering the rental property. This form must be issued to the tenant informing them of the date, time and reason for entry. A tenant may wish to negotiate an alternative date/time, particularly if they feel they have a reason to do so e.g. sick family member.
There is a list of approved reasons for entry and owners/agents must only enter a rental property for one of these reasons. The can include to undertake a routine inspection, to carry out repairs, or to show a prospective tenant or purchaser through.
Water Consumption Charging
Most Brisbane property owners would like to charge their tenants water and there are a lot of enquiries around how and if they can do so. The rules around whether a tenant can be charged water consumption basically state that three conditions must be met before an owner can charge a tenant for water –
The property has to be individually water metered; and
The property has to be water efficient; and
The agreement allows for the tenant to be charge for water.
As not all owners charge tenants for water, sometimes a tenant may be surprised to learn they have to pay for water. Communicating before the start of the tenancy whether water consumption is being charged or how often the bills will be issued to the tenant is paramount to avoiding confusion. It is also recommended owner/agent pass on the water bills to tenants in a reasonable timeframe.
If you have enjoyed reading this article we have a page dedicated to FAQs from both tenants and owners. If you have a question about your rental property and haven’t found relevant information on our website please let us know by contacting us.