Thursday, March 03, 2016

Ignorance is no longer bliss... 
It seems the reforms are here to stay.

We are approaching two years since the new Residential Tenancies laws have come into play in South Australia. It has certainly been an interesting period. Our team have intently followed the decisions made in the Tribunal since the changes in legislation were introduced in March 2014.

Landlords are being faced with Tribunal decisions themselves or are experiencing the ramifications of inherited decisions. It is no wonder some landlords are left thinking 'Is my agent really working for me?'.

As an investment business, we feel it is extremely important to have an in-depth knowledge of the legislative landscape. At Toop&Toop we invest heavily in our team through monthly training sessions with the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA). This is to ensure we are continually up to speed on these reforms, and can help protect investors from what they might not know.

If you are investing in residential property here in SA, below are two interesting changes we are seeing at the moment:

1. Fly screens - Recent tribunal hearings have ordered that fly screens are required to be fitted to all opening windows. Our team have been advised that other implications (such as H.I.A. orders) may be triggered if this is not adhered to. This is now viewed as a basic living condition.

2. Carpet cleaning - Legislation and recent tribunal orders all indicate that requesting tenants steam-clean carpets upon moving out of a property is unlawful. We are told that steam-cleaning carpets cannot be a condition 
of a lease agreement.

Hefty fines of up to $10,000 may apply to any decision or action which is seen to be 'contracting outside of the Act'. Inserting a special condition into a lease agreement, as per the above examples, may prove very costly.

As time passes we have seen a number of Tribunal cases on the above matters increase; they are becoming the norm. Landlord responsibilities are increasing as tenants expect 
a higher standard to their living conditions.

Personally, I don't think this is a blip on the radar and I don't think it is going to go away. Everywhere you look higher standards are being introduced and law requirements are changing. This is appearing across a wide range of industries and property investment is no exception.

As a business we believe it is important to make these requirements known, so our clients can understand the new investing landscape and make sound decisions. We believe this is our role as a managing agent.

From what we are seeing the reforms are here for the long haul, and it is proving increasingly important to be informed. If you would like to know more, please don't hesitate to give our property investment team a call today; we'd love to have a chat.

Suzannah Toop

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