Thursday, February 25, 2010

Property investors, test your knowledge...

Two weeks ago we wrote of the landlord’s requirement to provide their full name and address (via lease documents) to their tenant, as well as notifying them of any change of name and address within 14 days.

Today... we have a short quiz for you.

Scenario 1: You want to lease a house with a dishwasher in it, but it’s not operational. You have a tenant who wants to lease the property “as is”, without a working dishwasher, to save a few dollars. You are completely transparent in telling them the dishwasher doesn’t work, and on agreement, document this in the lease as a condition of taking the property.

Can the tenant subsequently enforce you to have it repaired or replaced?
Section 68 of the Residential Tenancies Act, landlord’s obligation to repair, requires the dishwasher to be repaired or replaced, stating this cannot be written out of the agreement. The same applies to air conditioners, heaters and any fixed appliance. Effectively as a landlord you need to physically remove the appliance, in this case the dishwasher, to be completely safe.

Scenario 2: A tenant ‘skips’ leaving unpaid rent, rubbish and abandoned goods.

Can a tenant’s goods be dumped immediately after they have abandoned the premises?
Abandoned Goods, Section 97, prescribes that if the tenant ‘does a runner’ and leaves goods at the property, the Landlord has an obligation to track down the tenant and if necessary store the goods for a minimum of 60 days then publish in the state newspaper notification of this. So... the Landlord incurs loss of rent, reletting fees, costs for advertising, storage and to auction the goods. Then if sold for more than the reasonable costs incurred, the landlord must pay any balance to the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs.

Scenario 3: A tenant says they are a keen gardener and, as a consequence, rents the premises from the Landlord at a discounted rate. A condition of the tenancy is that they agree to completely take care of the garden.

Who does the pruning?
Any ‘specialist’ work in the garden, such as pruning, cannot be enforced by the Landlord, irrespective of what agreement is otherwise reached.

When it comes to managing property, there are hundreds of examples where common sense doesn’t cut it. From my observations and landlord feedback received, the Act needs modernising or we will see rents rise to cover the increased risk to investors.

It’s election time so get your politicians to look at modernising SA’s Residential Tenancies Act, to make it more competitive in the national housing market and more user friendly for all parties. A great start would be to get out of the dark ages and move to lodging documents electronically. This is, after all, 2010!

Be sure to see for more on the Tenancies Act, including discussions over the next 3 weeks with Deputy Premier Kevin Foley about this and much more. Want to share your experiences? Log onto

Anthony Toop, Managing Director.

© Toop Real Estate Group

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Housing less expensive than six years ago: CommSec

Dear InsideStory readers,

Below is a great little article from CommSec.

I would argue that if the size and facilities included in today’s houses was also factored in to this report the affordability would look even better than this report shows. The expectations of today’s home owners has risen dramatically in housing and in apartment living. A 45 square meter apartment was acceptable 10 years ago, it is double that today, while houses today feature multiple bathrooms, massive family rooms and outdoor entertaining as an entry level expectation.

As an example, in the 1970’s when I was growing up, I lived in a very small 3 bedroom home with one bathroom and a single carport. The kitchen was tiny and there was no family room, no outdoor area and yet because it was new we thought it was just a fantastic home. There were 6 in our family so we all shared bedrooms and we shared a tiny built in robe in each bedroom which had 2 beds, no room to swing a cat, you could hardly get the door open!

Today you would rarely see this as expectations have moved so far…and yet these changes in expectations and size of homes is rarely talked about when it comes to the debate on affordability.

In my 35 years of selling property, little has changed when it comes to buying a home. If you have a job and have a savings record you will be able to afford a home….just as was the case in the late 70’s.



Housing less expensive than six years ago
Housing affordability
· A new measure has shown that housing affordability has changed little over the past six years. In fact housing affordability has actually eased slightly over the past six years.
What does it all mean?
· The general perception – not only in Australia but also across the globe – is that Australian housing is expensive. We get questions on the subject when we are presenting on the economy both locally and overseas. While we try to explain that the issue is more perception and poor use of data rather than reality, it is difficult to change entrenched views.
· Rismark Australia has released a new housing affordability index that seeks to counter the general wisdom. The index uses data on all property transactions made in Australia, via the RP Data database. That is, it covers data on capital cities and regional/country areas as well as detached houses and apartments. The figures on household disposable income are based on the Reserve Bank definition. So it is hard to fault the accuracy of the data.
· The data shows that housing affordability has changed little over the past six years. That is, home prices have held between 3.7 times disposable incomes and 4.3 times incomes over the past six years. As at September quarter 2009, home prices stood at 4.1 times household disposable incomes, below the reading of 4.2 times income that existed at the end of 2009.
· As we have tried to explain to customers and clients over time, incomes have been rising over time. In fact real incomes have risen by 11 per cent over the past six years. So a raft of goods has become more affordable, boosting disposable incomes – not just in nominal terms, but also in real terms.
· The Rismark Australia data shows that household disposable income has risen by 44 per cent since the end of 2003 while the median home price has lifted 41 per cent, from $270,000 to $380,000.
· Over a much longer span of time housing affordability has weakened. From 1993 to 2001, housing affordability held between 2.5-3.1 times disposable incomes. Home prices accelerated between 2001-2003 while incomes didn’t keep pace. But over the past six years, housing affordability has been little changed.
· Of course this doesn’t mean that housing affordability may not have weakened in some cities and for various occupation and demographic groups. But in a broad macro sense, it is clear that the myth that Australian home prices have become dramatically less affordable in recent years has been busted.
· Certainly the Reserve Bank will continue to closely assess home prices and affordability over time. The goal for housing supply to track close to demand hasn’t changed.

CommSec EconomicInsights (pdf)

© Toop Real Estate Group

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Business conditions slump: RBA on rates sidelines

It has been some weeks since we forwarded a CommSec report to you but this easy to read update will take only minutes to read and explains where things are at.

EconomicInsights.pdf (pdf)

Here is an exert;

“If you want to know why the Reserve Bank is on the

interest rate sidelines you need look no further than the

latest business survey.”

Kind Regards

Anthony Toop, Managing Director.

© Toop Real Estate Group

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Isobel Redmond - Video Interviews

Our comprehensive series of interviews with opposition leader Isobel Redmond can be found on the Toop.TV website here

Topics covered include:
Land Tax
Stamp Duty
Law and Order
Real Estate Legislation

Anthony Toop, Managing Director.

© Toop Real Estate Group

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Why don’t we just do what everyone else is doing?

Saturday week we were at the Australian Open in Melbourne and after seeing on the Rod Laver Arena screen a prompt to do so - I downloaded the iPhone App called ‘Aus Open’. Sylvia and I have attended the Open every year for as long as I can remember but for me this year was different.

So what was different? A little button on my iPhone called the AUS OPEN ‘App’. This iPhone ‘App’ lifted my personal experience of my attendance at the Open to an entirely new level.

This year I knew EXACTLY what was happening, who was playing whom, how all the players were tracking in the draws, all the time! Whatever we wanted to know, whenever we wanted to know it. At my fingertips I had details of everything, on all courts, within one minute of it happening... scores, schedules, Draws, player profiles, maps and a whole lot more including commentary... all at my fingertips in crystal clear format, even without my glasses!!

Then Dr. PC, who was sitting next to me (David Raffen, or Doc), needed some cash after borrowing $20 for a drink from Sylvia (as I had no money either). So there he is, between games, sitting on his iPhone with his drink and getting a map of his Bank’s nearest EFTPOS machines... naturally his own Bank (to save the transaction fee). Effortlessly, instantly, he had a map to the closest machines, with directions on how to get to them and detail on how long it would take!!

So not to be upstaged, and I couldn’t resist, I took Doc’s iPhone, (and Karen’s)... I logged onto and pressed the + to load T&T button to their Home Screen. There is so much more on the way - this new journey has only just begun for real estate. Ultimately property sellers, renters and buyers will enjoy the entire experience of real estate at a level no one thought possible a few years ago.

If you don’t believe these small portable devices will change your life forever than you have some catching up to do.

Last week the announcement of the iPad was just what Toop&Toop needed. This is not just a new toy for gadget people, it may prove a turning point for businesses including ours. T&T need fast advancement in this hardware space which we will now get.

Our work in the mobile online space is well known and highly regarded, we lead the way.

I was asked the question this week... why don’t we just do what everyone else is doing?

If you too were at the Australian Open effortlessly knowing, and enjoying, everything that was going on, you would never ask such a question!

Giving clients what they want, when they want it and without effort, while operating on a global platform is something no real estate agent EVER contemplated 25 years ago when we started Toop&Toop.

Anthony Toop, Managing Director.

© Toop Real Estate Group

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Interest Rates on Hold

Some great news for property owners, or should I say, Mortgage owners!!

The Reserve Bank has left the cash rate unchanged, be sure to tune into ToopTV tomorrow (wed) at 1pm (SA time) and we will be following the market in South Australia and bringing you up to date. We look into how first home owners are faring, and see inside some new properties hitting the market.

Anthony Toop, Managing Director.

© Toop Real Estate Group