Comply with the standards.
Your property is required to meet the standards written in the law, that is a given.
First things first: guided by the Residential Tenancies Act, your property must comply with all the requirements. Basically, you have to ensure that your property is habitable according to the standards of your city. In Victoria, here are some of the minimum standards that you have to comply with:
- External locks should have functioning deadlatches or be fitted with locks that can be unlocked with a key from the outside but can be unlocked without one from the inside.
- Vermin-proof bins must be supplied to the tenants.
- Toilets must be in a separate room in the property, either by itself, or in an appropriate room like a bathroom or a combined bathroom-laundry.
- A bathroom must have a washbasin and a shower or bath, and be connected to a reasonable supply of hot and cold water.
- Ventilation must be adequate in all rooms, including the bathroom, shower, toilet and laundry room.
For the full list of the minimum standards, refer to this page. If you are unsure about the laws relevant to your property, consult a property manager or real estate agent. Reasonably, a good property manager or real estate agent will use their expertise to the best of their abilities. They will lift some responsibilities off your shoulders and make the whole rental process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
As much as it is aesthetically pleasing, it should also be functional.
Photos and videos are probably the things that caught the attention of your soon-to-be tenants. Having an aesthetically pleasing property is one thing, offering a completely functional space is another. The basic necessities of the new tenants must be attended to. Be extra mindful of the things that need repairing. Most of the time, we miss essential things just because we’re so used to them: chipped paint, broken tiles, mouldy gouts, and dripping taps. This doesn’t only apply to the interior of the property. Replace your rusting letter box and repair your fence. Carry out any repairs needed to ensure that your home is in top condition.
Check if the latest bills are paid. If not, confirm whether it is you or the previous tenant who needs to settle it.
Pay attention to the kitchen and the bathroom.
The busiest parts of the house are the kitchen and the bathroom. These two areas receive the most traffic and are the most prone to fair wear and tear. Needless to say, these areas should be the focus of your deep cleaning. Make sure to dust off, wipe off or even steam wash your:
- curtains and blinds
- fly screens
- garbage bins
Make sure to check these areas first before you move on to the other areas of the house. Most of the time, addressing the kitchen and bathroom issues means addressing half of the property concerns already
Consider what to leave behind.
If you have personally used the space and decided to rent it out to other tenants, there may be furniture and appliances that are thinking of leaving behind for two reasons: 1) even though old, these things may add value to the property, and 2) these things no longer fit the aesthetic of the space you’re envisioning. Communicate to the soon-to-be tenants that these things are meant to be functional, and not just clutters. White goods and appliances are something that your tenants might appreciate. A good and working refrigerator or dishwasher can add value to your property.
Cross check your depreciation report and walk through.
Prior to your tenant moving in, schedule a walkthrough to document the existing condition of the property. To ensure that everything is inspected fairly, having the inspection attended by both the landlord and the tenant is necessary. Prepare a checklist that you will both tick-off and sign at the end of the inspection. Copies should be distributed to both parties to ensure that proper documentation is done prior to moving in. Apart from the walkthrough, get a depreciation report as it is helpful in minimising your tax obligations.