GET TOUGH Early in­ter­ven­tion pro­tects your in­vest­ment against de­fault­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY 360 -

JUST as tim­ing is ev­ery­thing for ten­ants, so it it for land­lords.

If a ten­ant is not pay­ing rent, in­ter­vene early, ad­vises An­drew Schae­fer, manag­ing di­rec­tor of na­tional prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany Trafal­gar.

“Ne­go­ti­ate a de­ci­sive so­lu­tion, in­clud­ing the op­tion of va­cat­ing the unit be­fore ar­rears be­come un­af­ford­able to set­tle. Don’t tol­er­ate a bro­ken prom­ise to pay. Give no­tice for the unit to be va­cated and stick to that.

“A le­gal evic­tion should be the last re­sort and only nec­es­sary in ex­cep­tional cases as it is hugely ex­pen­sive, de­layed and, in gen­eral, an un­sat­is­fac­tory op­tion.”

Shae­fer urges land­lords to al­ways try to solve the is­sue within the de­posit rental cover pe­riod (for ex­am­ple, one month if the de­posit cov­ers one month’s rental). En­sure the de­posit cov­ers util­ity charges, which are gen­er­ally raised monthly in ar­rears.

Ben Shaw, chief ex­ec­u­tive of HouseMe, an on­line rental dis­rup­tor, says land­lords do un­der­stand there are cer­tain things over which ten­ants have no con­trol. He says “a job loss, an un­ex­pected med­i­cal bill or fam­ily emer­gency are all un­for­tu­nate re­al­i­ties of life”.

“Should a ten­ant stop pay­ing, get in touch and don’t as­sume the worst. Most times you will be able to come to a fair re­pay­ment plan as good ten­ants want to stay in good prop­er­ties.

“The best cash flow pro­tec­tion would, of course, be a rental guar­an­tee, which could cover your lost or late rental while you ne­go­ti­ate with your ten­ant.”

HouseME’s Rental Guar­an­tee has been de­signed for this. For only 1% of the rental price, you can ex­pect cover for up to three month’s rent if the ten­ant de­faults.

“In a tough mar­ket for con­sumers, land­lords also strug­gle. Late pay­ment of rental causes them to miss bond pay­ments, and va­can­cies pre­vent bonds from be­ing ser­viced at all. Key to re­solv­ing these con­cerns is fair pric­ing. At the right price there is al­ways de­mand, and rent re­mains af­ford­able,” says Shaw. CORINNE RAS Knight Frank let­ting agent, gives this ad­vice to ten­ants who have a “neigh­bour from hell”.

“When rent­ing a prop­erty, of­ten the home­owner does not know or have con­tact with the neigh­bour, so hand­ing the mat­ter over to the home­owner could be fruit­less.

“If the neigh­bour is caus­ing a con­tin­u­ous dis­tur­bance, it would be ad­vis­able to first have a chat with them.

“It could be they are un­aware their be­hav­iour is dis­turb­ing those around them. By build­ing good re­la­tion­ships with your neigh­bours it could de­velop into a last­ing and mu­tu­ally re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ship.

“If the dis­tur­bance is con­tin­u­ous af­ter a few times of you hav­ing reached out to the neigh­bour, then au­thor­i­ta­tive ac­tion may be re­quired in the form of re­port­ing it to the lo­cal po­lice.

“Ten­ants should al­ways keep the home­own­ers in the loop be­cause it is their prop­erty.”

ACT QUICKLY Tim­ing is ev­ery­thing for both ten­ants and land­lords, so take ac­tion im­me­di­ately if a ten­ant de­faults on a rental pay­ment. | PIC­TURE: HEATHER ZABRISKIE

BOUND­ARIES When own­ers rent out prop­erty, they may not know any­thingabout the neigh­bours.

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