Landlords have a number of obligations to which they must adhere when leasing out their properties. These obligations must be followed regardless of whether the Landlord is managing the property themselves or a property manager is appointed to act on behalf of the Landlord.
When leasing out a property, prior to the tenant moving in, the landlord must:
- prepare a tenancy agreement (the landlord must pay any costs involved with preparation of the agreement)
- provide the prospective tenant with a New Tenant Checklist before they sign the tenancy agreement
- complete an entry report of the property and give a copy to the tenant
- ensure property complies with safety regulations.
A landlord is entitled to take a bond from the tenant before they move into the property. This bond must be lodged with Fair Trading NSW and cannot amount to more than four weeks’ rent.
If the tenant causes damage to the property or, when the tenant vacates the property, it has been left unclean beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord has a right to claim money from the bond to cover the cost of the repairs or cleaning. Claims are lodged through Fair Trading NSW.
As the property owner, the landlord has the right to enter the property for specific reasons including to inspect the property, for repairs, and for showings if the property is for sale. However, the landlord is under an obligation to respect the tenant’s privacy and to give them quiet enjoyment of the property.
The table below outlines the notice requirements for entering the property:
|Type of Inspection||Minimum notice required|
|Regular Inspection (no more than 4 times a year)||7 days – in writing|
|Maintenance and repairs||2 days|
|Urgent Repairs||No notice required|
|In an emergency||No notice required|
|Health and Safety compliance||2 days|
|Property valuation (once a year maximum)||7 days|
|Showing the property to prospective tenants (no more than 14 days prior to lease ending)||Reasonable notice|
|Showing the property to prospective buyers (no more than 2 inspections per week)||Before first showing – 2 weeks – in writing
After first showing – 48 hrs or as agreed
The landlord has the right to receive the rent on time. Where the rent is a few days late, the landlord can send a reminder notice.
If the rent is more than 14 days late the landlord can issue the tenant with a termination notice which means that the tenant is required to vacate the property within 14 days of the notice. If the tenant pays the rent that they owe within 14 days of the notice they do not have to vacate the property.
In the event the tenant does not pay their rent and refuses to vacate the property, the landlord can apply to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order to terminate the tenancy agreement and remove the tenant from the property.
The landlord must ensure the property is safety compliant. Some common safety compliance issues include:
- Smoke detectors must be installed in the property and working.
- Pools must be fenced and, as of April 2016, a compliance certificate must be attached to the tenancy agreement.
- The landlord must provide and maintain locks on the doors and windows of the property to ensure the property is reasonably secure.
The legislation that sets out landlord rights and obligations in NSW states that, if the property is destroyed due to a natural disaster and the property is unfit to live in, the landlord must issue the tenant with a notice to immediately vacate the property. The landlord is required to refund any rent paid in advance past the date of termination.
If the property is only partially destroyed, but can still be lived in, the landlord must carry out repairs to the property and may be required to reduce the rent while the repairs are being carried out.
The landlord is obligated to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair. This means carrying out maintenance and repairs to the property. The repair costs are to be covered by the landlord, unless the tenant has caused the damage.
Landlord rights and obligations in NSW in relation to water usage are also contained in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
A landlord has the right to charge the tenant for the water usage in the property, as long as:
- the property has its own meter and
- the property meets water efficiency standards.
The tenant is not responsible for paying the water provider’s administrative fees or the water connection service fees. The landlord must not charge the tenant more than the cost of the water usage noted on the water bill.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 14 March 2016. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.