When you own a property that you rent out, lease, or use to provide accommodation, you are the landlord, while the person or people living in your property are tenants. As a property owner, you want to be able to feel secure in the knowledge that your investment asset is being taken care of as part of your landlord responsibilities.
In some cases, people will choose to manage their property themselves – but in many cases, people elect to place their property management in the hands of a trusted property management specialist.
No matter what you choose to do, your landlord responsibilities must be strictly adhered to. We wanted to explain some of the key landlord responsibilities you have as a landlord in the hopes that it clarifies your property ownership duties.
Queensland Landlord Responsibilities
In Queensland, we have legislation (Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act – RTRA Act) that dictates how landlords must behave. There are certain laws that state that landlords have a duty to ensure that a rented property is safe and that its fixtures and fittings are safe.
The primary duty of you as a landlord is to ensure that no injury or damage is caused to your tenants, neighbors, or to the public as a result of you being negligent in your duty.
In addition to your duties as a landlord, to ensure the safety of your property, you also have the following duties which must be followed:
- Ensure that all of the essential services like gas, electricity, and water are all working properly and that repairs are made immediately if problems arise
- Keep the structure and the exterior of the house in good working order
- Ensure that the property is fit to live in and is in good repair
- Security must exist and be of a reasonable standard
You must also ensure that anything that is stipulated in the tenancy agreement is adhered to.
Starting a Tenancy
When a new tenant moves into your property, you have a duty to inspect the property and to complete an entry condition report which is used to record the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. You also take payment of a bond that is held with the Residential Tenants Authority (RTA).
This financial landlord responsibility states that this bond cannot be accessed by you or by the tenant without both parties agreeing and the correct mediation process being followed. It is used as security for the duration of the tenancy.
- You must provide a written agreement to the tenant which outlines the conditions of the tenancy
- You cannot charge any fees to your tenant for the cost of producing this agreement
Interference with your Tenant’s Use and Enjoyment of the Property
Despite being the owner of a property, you do not have the right to enter your property whenever you wish. Your tenant has the right to use the rented property as a home and to be left in peace – this means that if you do wish to enter your property, you must provide advance notice; you cannot simply go around to your property and enter it yourself, even if you have a key.
- Your tenant is the person who has the sole right to the enjoyment of your property
- In some cases, your tenants may behave in such a way as to warrant you seeking removal of them – and if this is the case there is a procedure which you must follow
Ending a Tenancy
Sometimes you will want to end a tenancy, whether because you want to move into the property yourself because you’re selling, or because of problems with your tenants.
No matter the case, you tenants have a duty to leave your property in the same condition as when they entered it with an allowance made for fair and reasonable wear and tear. The tenant is required to provide you an exit condition report, at which time you are required to promptly inspect your property and to provide a final copy of this report to your tenant if you do not agree with their report.
Again, as a property management company, we can take on this responsibility for you and ensure that these obligations are met on your behalf.
- If your property has been left unclean or in a condition that is unsuitable given the condition of your property at the start of the tenancy, then you can apply to keep a suitable portion of the bond which has been paid. This amount will be used to cover repairs and/or cleaning.
- You need to have the tenant’s signature to release the bond. A tenant may not agree with your decision about any deductions, in which case you may lodge without the tenant’s signature, and the RTA will be responsible for reviewing the matter.