Renting Out Your Property as a First-Time Landlord

The rental market continues to grows and expand. For property owners, this means there is a chance to generate income from their investment properties. There is a big trend to capitalise on rental properties however the process can be daunting for a first time rental provider.

We have compiled a compact but potent guide designed to help first-time landlords/rental providers navigate the rental process and avoid common pitfalls.

From advertising your property to screening tenants, we’ll cover the key elements you need to ensure success and confidence in renting out your property. 

Things to Consider When Renting Out Your Property

Renting out a property is a big responsibility and requires careful planning and preparation.

By conducting research and taking a cautious approach, you can ensure the success of your rental property.

Renting through an agency or privately

The main difference between renting out your property through an agency and privately is the level of involvement and responsibility you have as the landlord.

When renting through an agency, the agency handles everything from the rental process to advertising and screening potential tenants, collecting rental payments, and handling property maintenance requests. They may also have a larger pool of potential tenants to draw from, as well as more experience navigating legal and regulatory requirements.

When renting out your property privately, you’ll be the only point of contact, spearheading all the financial and legal requirements from start to finish. Renting your property out privately can be a real challenge if you are new to the process.

We advise first-time landlords to initially opt for the agency route to master the property rental ropes. You’ll be in a better position to take the private rental option into consideration once you’ve gained some experience.

Make sure your house is in good condition.

Your renters will appreciate it if you make their living space as pleasant and safe as possible. A poorly maintained property leads to health and safety risks to your tenants, which can result in legal and financial consequences for you.

Well-kept properties attract excellent tenants who are willing to pay more in rent and take better care of your property. This can also help you avoid frequent turnover and vacancy periods, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Understand your duties as a landlord.

As you embrace and understand your landlord responsibilities, you’ll notice it works in your favour to draw up a landlord checklist! You will find yourself in a better position to adhere to the expected legal requirements.

Below are some useful checklist pointers to help you fulfil your landlord duties:

  • Maintain the property by keeping it safe and habitable. Ensure your property meets the minimum standards and that a rental safety check is conducted every two years. 
  • Always respond promptly to repair requests and address any issues with the property.
  • Respect tenants’ privacy and refrain from entering their living space without proper notice or permission.
  • Verify the property’s compliance with all rules and laws that may apply.

You can find more information here on what your obligations are as a landlord/rental provider 

Advertising your property

A strong marketing campaign for your rental property is essential if you want to fill vacancies quickly with a larger pool of applicants and ensuring a successful tenant search. 

Here are some suggestions that will help you make your home more noticeable:

  • Use photos and videos of good quality to show off your rental property.
  • Provide potential tenants with video tours or virtual tours of the property if they are unable to visit in person.
  • Use targeted advertising on rental listing websites to reach potential tenants in your desired demographic.
  • Highlight unique features of your rental property, such as upgraded appliances or a spacious backyard.
  • You can reach more potential tenants by advertising your rental property on social media.

Screening potential tenants

Now that your property is well advertised, it’s time to screen your potential tenants.

Screening tips

  • Rental history: Enquire with their previous landlords/agents about their rental history and behaviour. Always ensure you ask for a copy of their rental ledger. 
  • Employment history: Ensure you get a reference from their current employer to verify that they can afford the rental payments. 
  • Tenant database: This database typically includes details such as the tenant’s legal name/s, contact information, rental history, payment records, and any other relevant data related to their tenancy.
  • Personal and professional references: References give you useful information about the tenant’s behaviour, which can help you decide if they are likely to be a reliable renter.

Creating a Tenancy or Lease Agreement

Once you have matched with your perfect tenant, you need to create an agreement that meets both your expectations within the legal parameters.

A tenancy/lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord/rental provider and a renter.

When crafting a rental agreement, be sure to include some key details.

These details should include the following items:

  • The names of everyone involved
  • The rental property location
  • The length of the tenancy
  • The rental cost and expected payment dates
  • The bond amount
  • The terms of the tenancy

The agreement should also outline any rules that the tenant needs to follow while living on the property.

For more detailed insight on setting up lease agreements, the Consumer Affairs Victoria site has more detailed information.

Landlord insurance

Having insurance is imperative when you are leasing out your investment property. 

Ensure that you arrange building insurance and landlord insurance prior to having a renter move into your property. 

When searching for the right landlord policy, it is important to ensure that you do your research to ensure that you will be covered for things like:

  • Rental loss
  • Abandonment
  • Death of a tenant 
  • Tenant damage 
  • Malicious damage
  • Pet damage
  • Flood damage
  • Fire or explosion 
  • Storm damage 

Conclusion

It’s expected that one might be intimidated about taking on the role of a landlord for the first time, but it is manageable.

Stay organised, take the time to screen potential tenants thoroughly, and make sure you have a fair yet legally binding lease agreement in place.

Finally, make a habit of keeping up to date with laws and regulations concerning property rentals in Victoria.

Read more on property rental regulations in Victoria to start familiarising yourself with the essential information.

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