Tenancy changes spell more work for property managers

Tenancy changes spell more work for property managers

Posted on Friday, October 18 2013 at 4:06 PM

The implementation of amendments to the South Australian Residential Tenancies Act in early 2014 looks set to impact complying landlords and property managers.

The Real Estate Institute of
South Australia (REISA) is conducting workshops for property managers on the changes,
although the final legislation is yet to be passed into law.

Aaron Havers, a senior property
manager at Harris Property Management, attended a workshop and says the
amendments will include the beefing up of laws surrounding tenancy ‘blacklist’

Havers says he’s concerned
some bad tenants won’t be listed by property managers due to complexities with
the legislation.

“A lot of agents will just find
the process too hard so they’re not going to bother putting tenants on these
databases anymore.”

The rules have also become
tougher when looking to sell a tenanted property, as landlords will need to inform
the lessee of their intentions.

“We have to explain to owners
that you need to notify the tenant or you could end up with a tenant being able
to walk away from a lease.”

Havers says changes relating
to tenant’s intentions at the end of their lease would prove helpful to
property managers.

“The tenant will now have to
give 28 days’ notice in order to vacate at the end of a fixed term lease
whereas at the moment, if we’re not on the ball following up tenants when their
lease expires, you can be left caught short.

“That gives us four weeks to
re-let the property and find new tenants.”

Peter Wundersitz, principal
at Adelaide Residential Rentals, says the laws will skew slightly in the
tenants’ favour.

“I think that they’ve
probably strengthened the tenant’s position a little bit, which is fine, but
also there are some areas that private landlords are going to have pay some extra
attention to.”

Wundersitz sees the changes
requiring landlords to supply manufacturers’ manuals and operating instructions
for all appliances in a property as an impost.

Difficulties arise when old
appliances, for which manuals can’t be sourced elsewhere, will require new
instructions to be written by a qualified electrician.

“We’re going to have to go
through all of our properties and basically do an audit on everyone.”

Wundersitz says they’re
already undertaking the process of informing landlords on the impact of the
amendments, and he’s found most are unaware of the changes to begin with.

He says property managers in
the industry have been mixed in their reaction to the new rules.

“Some of them have got their
heads around it, some are a bit wound up about it and some are just saying,
‘We’ll just adjust and get used to it.’

“Our initial feeling is that
there is more work involved from our perspective, particularly in relation to
manufacturers’ manuals, the tightening up of lease renewals and the
notification that needs to be given there.”

According to Havers, there
were some changes left out of the document the industry would have liked included.

“We were hoping some things
would go through such as the ability to have a pet bond, because that’s the
case in Western Australia, and they (REISA) were pushing for a reduced time on
sending breach notices, but those (changes) didn’t go through.”

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