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What are your rights and responsibilities as a landlord?

17 Oct 13

If you're a landlord or are about to undergo a property management course, it might be time to brush up on your rights and responsibilities.

Firstly, make sure you have everything established and clearly written down in the lease agreement. This will be signed by you and any tenants in the property you are overseeing, and should outline both the conditions of tenancy and what you are committing to in your role.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1995 is also a great source to find out more about what a landlord is expected to do, and what his or her rights are.

In general, landlord responsibilities include the following:

·         Maintaining the property and arranging repairs
·         Allowing the tenants peace, privacy and comfort in the property for the duration of the time they live there
·         Paying council rates and taxes
·         Ensuring the property's security by providing and maintaining locks
·         Giving new tenants a copy of the lease, two completed inspection sheets and an information brochure
·         Giving reasonable notice before showing the property to potential buyers or tenants

In terms of accessing the rental property, landlords must respect the tenants' rights to live in peace, comfort and privacy. However, they do have the right to enter the building in several circumstances.

In the case of an emergency, no written notice is required to go onto property grounds. If you want to inspect the property, you can't do it more than once every four weeks and you must give at least seven days written notice before you do so.

Many lease agreements require a bond to be paid at the start of the tenancy. If you find that tenants or their visitors have caused damage, left the property in an unclean condition or have not paid rent, you can make a claim on this bond.

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