Managing properties is about building relationships with your clients and customers – both landlords and tenants. It is about regular, honest, responsible and effective communication.
At Whitford, we pride ourselves on our communication and customer service standards. Our boutique style gives us the opportunity to develop personal relationships with our clients rather than have them feeling they’re another “number”.
As your managing agent, we understand that you place an enormous amount of trust in our abilities to look after your best interests at all times.
We are also choosing to thoroughly educate our landlords to ensure they can make informed decisions about the management of their valuable asset.
Most landlords have simple expectations – they want the rent paid on time and the property well maintained.
What are we doing differently?
The Leasing Process
We understand that when your property is available for lease it can be a stressful time, wondering and waiting to hear about when and if a tenant will rent it. During this time we communicate with you regularly including comprehensive reports on inspections, website hits and feedback from prospective tenants.
We will advise you on current market conditions including what other properties are leasing for in the area and how your property compares. We will give you honest feedback as to how your property presents for lease, and what work, if any, you should do to maximise your returns and attract the right tenant.
It is important that landlords understand there are only two main reasons why a property won’t lease; it is overpriced or presents poorly.
To attract a quality tenant, it is important that you have a quality property. This doesn’t mean you have to have the newest property on the market, rather, the property is clean and its fixtures and fittings are in good working order.
Our marketing is cost-effective and ensures your property is exposed to as many prospective tenants in the marketplace as possible. We will not waste your money on promoting our business; instead, we use it to promote your property.
Securing a Tenant
To ensure a smooth, trouble-free tenancy, it is important the right tenant is secured for your property.
Whitford Property’s detailed screening process aims to establish that tenants can meet the responsibilities of their lease agreement. Tenant selection is in accordance with laws covering discrimination, residential tenancies and privacy.
We ensure that all references are checked and a comprehensive selection of information is provided to confirm applicants’ identities. We will discuss all applications with you. Ultimately, you make the decision about who leases your property after we provide you with the relevant facts.
We also check all our applicants on the Tenancy Information Centre of Australia database. This is a database of tenants who have not fulfilled their previous leasing obligations.
At the commencement of the tenancy, an ingoing condition report and inspection along with photos are completed. This thoroughly outlines the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy. This is provided to the tenant for their perusal and comments. This report is used to conduct our final inspection.
We also ensure that all regular inspections of your property are conducted. The initial inspection after the commencement of the tenancy is completed at the three-month mark with subsequent inspections every six months..
If you would like to attend inspections of your properties, you are most welcome to. During these inspections we will advise you of how the tenants are maintaining the property as well as giving you general advice on necessary or preventative maintenance and possible renovation or refurbishment requirements.
A comprehensive written report with photos is provided for your records.
We can arrange all maintenance on your behalf. How we manage this process is completely at your discretion. We can contact you for all maintenance items, you can provide us with an expenditure limit for maintenance or you can give us the authority to arrange all maintenance on your behalf with limited advice.
It is important for you to be aware that the Residential Tenancies Act legally allows us to arrange emergency repairs to the value of $3,000. When an emergency has occurred, we will make every endeavour to contact you to discuss the situation and the necessary course of action, however, if we are unable to reach you, we are obliged by law to arrange the necessary maintenance.
Our team of professional tradespeople ensure that all works are completed to a high standard at a fair and reasonable rate. Like Whitford Property, our tradespeople are first class. There is no point in employing cheap labour; you get what you pay for.
Often we hear complaints from landlords that lease renewals are never followed up. We have processes in place to ensure that at least three months prior to the lease expiring we make contact with the tenant to discuss what their intentions are.
We do this at the nine-month mark as it allows us time to review the rent and discuss our recommendation with you.
There is no allowance in the Residential Tenancies Act that gives us the power to force the tenant to sign a further fixed term lease. If a tenant chooses not to sign a further fixed term lease, the terms and conditions of the original lease apply; however, they are no longer locked into a specific timeframe. This is called a periodic or month-by-month tenancy.
The tenant is still required, by law, to provide you with 28 days’ notice should they wish to vacate.
Regular rent reviews are undertaken on all our properties.
During the inspection process, we will advise you of the current market value of your property and we will advise you when the rent can be increased.
There are rules and regulations surrounding the increasing of rents which we will discuss with you during the review process.
Tenants are required to give us a minimum of 28 days’ notice of their intention to vacate in writing. As soon as we receive this notice, we make contact with you to discuss whether you are happy to re-lease the property or whether you have other plans.
If you are going through the re-leasing process, we will take this opportunity to discuss with you the property presentation, expected new rental figure and the vacating inspection.
We will then begin the marketing process.
When the tenants vacate the property, we do a thorough inspection of the property and will discuss this with you prior to releasing the tenants’ bond. We also encourage all our landlords to inspect their properties at this time.
Council Rates and Water Rates
We encourage our landlords to allow us to pay your council rates and water rates on their behalf. This will ensure that all the accounts that relate to the property are kept on the one statement which will make it easier for accounting purposes at the end of the financial year.
This is a complimentary service.
There are various insurances that you need to consider when your property is for lease.
You should seek professional advice on what the best solution for your insurance needs are, however, we have provided you with a basic overview.
This will cover you for incidents such as fire, storm damage, water damage, accidents.
If you own a unit, your building insurance will be part of the owner’s corporation policy which you pay for via your owners corporation levies.
This will cover you for instances where the tenant or the tenant’s visitors may injure themselves. You may need to investigate this cover further if you own a unit as often the owners’ corporation insurance only covers the common areas of the building and not the inside of your unit.
There is a wide selection of policies for this cover on the market. This type of insurance will cover you for tenant default as well as accidental and malicious damage. There are several companies that specialise in this insurance and we advise you to shop around and choose carefully.
We strongly recommend that you take out cover for all three of areas.
Payments and Statements
We will remit your rent income to you at the end of the month. We also have the ability to do a mid-month payment and any other special one-off payments as required.
You will receive a statement outlining your income and expenditure for the month along with any copies of invoices for payments made on your behalf. We will contact you after you have received your first statement to ensure that you understand it and to answer any queries you may have.
We can also provide you with an end of financial year summary after 30 June. This will outline your income and expenses for the full financial year.
The majority of tenants pay their rent on time; however, circumstances can arise where the rent is late.
We have a thorough process for ensuring that rent arrears are pursued. We also have a policy whereby a notice to vacate is issued to any tenant that is 14 days in arrears as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act. We will do this in consultation with you to ensure that you are kept fully informed of the process and progress.
A notice to vacate does not mean the tenant must move out of the property, rather it can often spur them into action to ensure they do pay. It also means that if they fail to pay, we have commenced the eviction process at the earliest opportunity to ensure your losses, if any, are minimised.
It is also important to note that if you do have landlord insurance, most policies will become null and void if notices are not issued in accordance with timeframes provided under the Residential Tenancies Act. This means that should you experience any loss of rent due to notices not issued on time, you may not receive any funds.
Dale Whitford can give you an informed opinion of the sales value of your property at any time.
This will keep you informed of the market conditions and where your property sits within this market. It may also give you some options to look at when increasing or diversifying your property portfolio.