What do tenants worry about most?

Maintenance  The single most important thing tenants worry about is maintenance and having things attended to quickly. It is imperative that owners budget for repairs and maintenance and respond quickly when asked to agree to works. Tenants will stay in your property if they know you believe in the importance of looking after your property.

 

Heating  Increasingly tenants choose properties to rent that have excellent heating, so an investment here is certainly worthwhile.

 

Unexpected rent rises  It’s reasonable for property investors to raise the rent on occasion, finding room in the household budget to accommodate an unexpected rent rise can be stressful. Owners should take a considered approach to rent reviews and give tenants plenty of notice. If a tenant feels that a rent increase is unreasonable, they may be able to request an assessment from the residential tenancy authority in their state or territory. “Tenants who commit to long-term leases may be able to negotiate for better terms such as fixed or lower rent. This provides both the tenant and the landlord with financial security.”

 

Homeless pets  Moving to a no-pet property and having to rehome a beloved pet can be heart-breaking for tenants. Property investors should consider making their property pet-friendly as it can improve the profitability of their investment by opening a wider pool of prospective tenants.

Some insurance policies also provide property investors with protection should a pet damage the property. It’s worth looking into.

 

Blacklisting  Despite confusion about what constitutes blacklisting, a recent report, Unsettled: Life in Australia’s private rental market by Choice, National Shelter and NATO, found that half of all tenants fear blacklisting by their property investors or property portfolio manager. Tenants can only be blacklisted for breaching their lease agreement, or continued arrears when a lease is terminated.

 

Losing bond money  Bond money can be a significant outlay for renters with 4 weeks’ rent being the upfront costs. Tenants should be able to feel comfortable living in their home but may be nervous or worried about making a mistake and losing their bond money. Something as minor as a spilled drink staining the carpet could be sufficient for the property investors to withhold the bond money for reparation costs.  Both property investors and tenants should be aware that general wear and tear is not a reason to withhold bond money. Bond money can be retained when money is owed to the property investors, including instances of unpaid rent and damage. Tenants who treat the rental property as though it were their own home and pay their rent on time will get their bond money back.

 

Lease renewal/cancellation  People rent for many different reasons. While it can provide a flexible lifestyle, some tenants may fear the uncertainty of not having their lease agreement renewed.

There are many reasons a property investor could cancel or not renew a lease, which are often beyond the tenant’s control. For example, property investors may sell the property or develop it or move back in. We encourage property investors to give their tenants as much notice as possible if they do not intend to offer a renewal of the lease. Likewise, tenants should indicate their preference to stay in a property well ahead of the lease renewal.