So, you own a property and are renting it out to, who you thought were, wonderfully reliable tenants.
They were at the beginning, until they stopped paying rent on time. Or maybe at the latest house inspection, you’ve noticed some damage to the walls.
While they might be lovely people, they are still your tenants. And it’s important to know where you all stand, in relation to the law. Okay, if you’re unsure whether they’re in breach of their lease, we’ve got some information for you.
Your tenants are not honouring their lease agreement if they are:
- More than 14 days behind in the rent (part or full amount)
- Cause or allow damage (and don’t inform you of it)
- Don’t clean up after themselves and the property isn’t maintained
- Disturb neighbour’s comfort, peace and privacy
- Use the property for illegal purposes
- Fail to comply with other lawful conditions included on the lease.
Said ‘yes’ to one of these breaches?
As the landlord, it’s your responsibility to give the tenants a legal notice that outlines what the problem is and the date it needs to be resolved by. The letter must also warn the tenant that failing to do so will result in eviction and loss of bond. This notice is called a Form 2.
Here’s the Form 2 notice should you need to do this immediately. Make sure you keep a copy for your records. If you’re dealing with more than one person, include the phrase ‘and all other occupants’ after their name (to cover anyone else living there).
Even if you’re on friendly terms with your tenant, the clearer you are the better. Be specific about any problems and give suggestions about how they can be fixed. For late payments, write something simple and straightforward like the following:
Your rent of $.......... due on ....../....../...... is unpaid. This comes to a total of $.......... If the rent is not paid in accordance with our agreement, .......... will occur.
The eviction process.
You’ve sent the Form 2 Notice and they still haven’t paid their rent. So, what happens next?
No-one wants it to come to this but if it does, and if the tenant doesn’t leave on their own, the South Australian Civil Administration Tribunal will enforce this. You can apply to the tribunal under the following three conditions:
- The tenant was given a notice to remedy the breach of agreement and did not fix the problem or vacate the property
- A fixed term tenancy has expired. The correct, written notice was given to end the tenancy but the tenant has not moved out
- The tenant has given written notice to end the tenancy but has not moved out.
Under serious circumstances, the tribunal can support you with immediate evictions.
Keeping your tenants happy.
Of course, the happier you keep your tenants, the more they’ll want to stay and take care of your property. Investing in property can be highly rewarding and profitable, when the money is coming in so, while you can’t avoid your own tenant horror story, you have options.
If you have an investment property, you’re probably also busy maintaining your own home. Let’s have a chat about how we can look after your property management, and any potential tenant worries, for you.