Managing your Property (Becoming a Landlord/Lessor)

What to look for when choosing an agent to manage your property

Property owners need to do the legwork and compare the property management services on offer before deciding on an agency. Often property agreements last for long periods of time (commonly years), so it is important to know what you're agreeing to and get it right the first time.

When choosing an agent to manage your property:

  • shop around to be sure you get the property agent that best suits your needs and payment expectations (if possible talk to other landlords/clients of the agent);
  • negotiate the commission and fees involved and the services to be provided;
  • carefully read the PAMD Form 20a Appointment of Agent - letting and property management and seek independent legal advice before signing;
  • get a documented list of the services to be provided under the appointment;
  • find out the agency's complain handling procedure;
  • agree on a procedure for any maintenance or repairs, such as providing a number of quotes and a receipt for any work undertaken on your behalf;
  • agree on a procedure for the termination of any tenancy or eviction processes, including how long rent can go unpaid; and
  • maintain regular contact with your agent and bring issues to their attention quickly for resolution rather than letting them come to the boil.

What your property manager should do for you

Some common complaints received by The Office of Fair Trading about property management include failure to complete inspections or repairs, excessive maintenance costs and poor service, especially when it comes to handling complaints.

Under the Code of Conduct within the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000, real estate agents managing property must ensure they:

  • promptly respond to requests for maintenance or repairs;
  • act in the client's best interests (which includes obtaining quotes for repairs to get value for money);
  • employ only licensed tradespeople for any repair or maintenance work;
  • develop and comply with a complain handling procedure;
  • complete an inspection report and inventory in line with the agency agreement; and
  • accompany prospective tenants on all property inspections (unless otherwise instructed in writing).

Managing your own property

There are several rules and processes under the Residential Tenancies Act 1994 you must be aware of and follow if you intend to manage your tenants yourself. Visit the Lessor section of the Residential Tenancies Authority website at www.rta.qld.gov.au or phone 1300 366 311 for more information including the relevant forms, links to legislation, publications and useful contacts.

If you are managing your property only for holiday accommodation, the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1994 do not apply. However, as a trader you are expected to act fairly to customers under the Fair Trading Act 1989.

If you own alot in a community titles scheme (eg. townhouse, villa or home unit), there may also be an onsite letting agent you may do so for the sake of convenience. A number of rights and obligations apply to you as an owner and to the onsite letting agent.

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