By Jessica Doyle, Matthews Real Estate
In the world of property management, there are some basics or rules that every female investor needs to understand from the outset.
Now, these are the sorts of things that generally should always be in place throughout your property investment journey.
Below I’ve outlined a few of these non-negotiables when it comes to property management.
Should all tenants be on the lease?
This answer to this question is always yes, but they may not necessarily be classed as “tenants” – rather they can people can be “approved occupants” because you always need to know who is living at the property.
In some circumstances, a husband a wife will apply for a rental and only apply under the husband’s name and the wife is listed on the application as a dependant.
As property manager’s we sometimes need to respect that, as it can be a cultural consideration.
I always ensure I have current ID to carry out a TICA check (blacklisting database) and am happy to list people as approve occupants.
However, during tenancies people can move in without the PM’s knowledge and this is a no-no.
It can happen in situations where a tenant’s friend is between houses, and they have children, so the tenant lets them “crash” in your property for a while.
Unless they are approved to be living there, this cannot happen as it can cause a lot more wear and tear to your rental property and can result in damage, etc.
A good way to keep an eye on this is at routine inspections. I have even counted the beds in rental properties before!! Because – believe it or not – tenants may hide things and having extra people living in the property is a big one!
What happens if one tenant vacates?
Often, we get emails from tenants such as: “Sophie is moving out and I am going to continue the tenancy on my own, please remove her contact details, etc.”
However, like most things in life, it’s not that straight forward. Aside from the standard paperwork that needs to be done, the first step is to determine if the person staying at the property can afford it, and maintain it, on their own.
Another scenario can be when a group of uni students rent a property, lots of tenants can be coming and going (often annoying as it’s a lot of paperwork for a PM) if I notice this, I will always make it clear that at least one of the original tenants must remain on the lease.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with completely different tenants vacating at the end of a tenancy than the ones who originally moved in which can create a whole lot of problems.
Who is the “perfect tenant” for a property?
Ahh, the perfect tenant, also often referred to as “unicorns,” but they’re equally not real!
Instead of the perfect tenant, look for the “perfect match” as this is very real. By matching the right tenant to the right property, you’ll find your perfect match.
For example – you would not put an elderly man in a unit on the third floor without an elevator; you wouldn’t put a family with four kids into a two-bedroom unit; you wouldn’t put a single man into a five-bedroom house.
Now, I’m not saying that these are all bad options, they just run a higher risk of problems and short-term tenancies.
An elderly man would be great in a one- or two-bedroom ground floor unit with likeminded people around.
A family with four kids would be great in a house with a yard and room to grow.
A single man would be great in a top floor unit in the city.
I am not afraid to say that some people/tenants do not suit some properties.
What are my responsibilities as a landlord?
It’s a simple one, keep the property safe!
The absolutely last thing you want to happen in your investment is someone getting hurt.
Have a property inspection carried out by a builder who knows the minimum housing standard requirements and your property manager to look for hazards before you purchase.
It’s vital to check that all hand rails are safe and secure, no water is leaking anywhere, the safety switch is in good working order, and the property is free from mould.
I have conducted many training sessions based on case studies about tenant injuries in rental properties. These hazards can be picked up at routine inspections by property manager as well.