24 Nov 5 Things Rental Agents wish Tenants knew!
- You have loads of competition!
Particularly in coastal cities, the demand for rentals is massive during the seasonal periods from November to March and this means the number of folks out seeking a rental property peaks to staggering numbers. Rental agents can often have hundreds of responses form online advertisements and it becomes a logistical nightmare communicating with each respondent and to methodically schedule individual viewings for prospects. It stands to reason then that the average busy rental agent would schedule bulk viewings. Although these are not ideal, if you are an exemplary candidate with all your supporting documents and a good attitude in tow, then you should be in the running to be considered. Remember that with the sheer number of folks seeking rentals it becomes near impossible to return every call, respond to every email and to personally take out individual tenants to view.
- Have patience when you have applied
Once you have applied, exercising patience may be difficult. You would naturally like to plan your life and there will be a measure of excitement. Nagging your rental agent for an answer may be counterproductive as they may see this as a sign of things to come in the tenancy, effectively a year long relationship. If you have not had an affirmative response within a day or two a casual text message or email message about the process is acceptable. Remember many agents cannot make the decision without first adequately screening the applicant and then obtaining approval from a landlord.
- The Rent is due when the rent is due
A common myth exists that there is a certain common-law grace period for rent and that this may be paid by the 7th of a month. No such premise exists in law and the rent is due as is stipulated in the lease. This may also indicate that rent must be cleared in the account of the agent by a certain date. The fact remains, if this is not paid or cleared by the nominated date, that as tenant you will be in breach of your tenancy and your agent may be able to take action in the form of written notice that you are in breach or inform you of the breach and outline a period to remedy this breach. Rental agents are, after all, in business and their mandate is to protect the asset and income from this asset on behalf of a landlord. The agent, depending on terms in the lease, may also charge penalties accordingly.
- Don’t expect perfection
When you finally move into a property and this is not a new development it is wise to temper your expectations about the property. Remember when you rent an older or previously rented property, the obligation of the Landlord is merely to offer the property ‘reasonably fit for the purpose for which it has been let’ and habitable for you to reasonably enjoy. What this means is that the Landlord must ensure that (amongst others):
- Doors and windows can close and lock
- Electrical accessories like lights and plugs are functioning
- That there is hot water
- That the property is reasonably clean and free of pests
- That sanitary ware and plumbing function reasonably
- Reasonable ongoing maintenance to ensure the property remains habitable
Landlords are NOT obliged to;
- Offer new carpets and newly painted walls
- Offer any alarm system or added security
- Offer curtains or blinds (unless previously agreed to in the lease)
- Offer to repair anything in the property that does not hinder reasonable enjoyment of the property
The incoming inspection serves ONLY to record the state of repair of the property at commencement of the lease and does not place any onus on the landlord to remedy any of these. Remember just because you received a property dirty does not mean you can hand it back dirty as you would have had benefit of the property during the year and it is the right thing to do to ensure it is returned clean. It may seem unfair but the notion of ‘leave it the way you would like to find it’ is such a powerful way to live and will certainly create a good impression on your agent and may facilitate the swift return of your deposit.
- This is a give and take relationship
Rental agents are people too and have to be the intermediary between tenant and landlord, often not easy shoes to fill. It is prudent to keep your rental agent on your side by being flexible and reasonable during the tenancy. Emails and texts often can be misconstrued and much assumption made about their intent. If the relationship between you and the agent deteriorates it may be helpful to meet in person to discuss calmly. If you find maintenance is not being done and you feel unreasonably treated, make a video of the maintenance item and send this to the agent. Ensure you keep things amicable and do ensure you make good record of communications. Failing any resolution, approaching a Rental Housing Tribunal or legal assistance should be the last resort. Keeping your side of the deal in the terms of the lease and being reasonable and transparent with your rental agent will ensure a good reference in the end and will aid your cause when you decide to renew your lease.