How to Prepare Your Property for Rent

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

You’ve packed all your belongings and ready to move out of your home or have a new investment property.

It’s now time to get it ready for tenants to move in! Sounds simple, well yes it is, but there are several things you should know before you let strangers live in your home and receive money for it!

Keep in mind, your tenant will be the “consumer” and you will be the “supplier of goods” (your property). Renting in Western Australia is governed by a set of laws called Residential Tenancies Act 1987 so you need to ensure that your property meets these laws plus all building, health and safety laws.

Properties that are professionally cleaned and well maintained simply fetch a better weekly rent and attract a better tenant in a shorter period of time than those properties that do not present well!

We have prepared a checklist to help you on your way to a successful tenancy:

Improvements in the Home
• There maybe somethings that you as the owner are happy to live with, or simply do not notice that a new tenant wouldn’t or shouldn’t have to live with, such as; old rusty letter box, dripping taps, broken tiles, exhaust fan not working etc. We recommend that all appliances, fixtures and equipment are in working order and general repairs are carried out to make sure your home is in tip top condition.
• Have the property professionally cleaned or cleaned to professional standard.
• Repaint or repair walls if damaged
• Blinds and curtains in good condition and working order
• Carpets to be professionally cleaned

The Outdoors
• Lawns to be mowed and edged.
• Gardens, paths and paving areas are free from weeds and built up leaves. Garden beds mulched where possible.
• Reticulation to be in good working order.
• Gutters cleaned of any dirt, leaves and twigs.
• Rubbish to be removed such as behind sheds, under shrubs and trees.
• Oil spillage removed from the garage, paths and driveway.
• The only things that perhaps should remain in garages and sheds are shelving units and items directly related to the property such as spare roof tiles, spare tiles and paint tins.
• If there is a swimming pool or spa at the property, please ensure that all equipment is in good working order, including cleaning equipment. The pool is to be clean and water treated just before tenant moves in. It is extremely important that barriers are compliant, including windows, doors and gates and per local council regulations.

Consider Adding Value
• Install ceiling fans and or an air-conditioner
• Gas bayonet for gas heater or an air-conditioner with heating
• Add dishwasher
• Add shed or exterior storage
• Telephone Line
• Security screens to doors and windows
• Alarm System
• Automatic reticulation
• Bore
• Allow pets
• Patio or Alfresco outdoor area
• Automatic Garage Door

Building, Health and Safety Laws
• Residual Current Devices
You must ensure at least two residual current devices (also known as safety switches or RCDs) are professionally installed to protect all power point and lighting circuits in your rental properties before they are leased or sold. For common areas of strata schemes at least one RCD is to be fitted to protect power points and lighting circuits. Penalties of up to $15,000 for individuals and $100,000 for bodies corporate may apply if RCDs are not fitted. Ask for a no-obligation quote from a licensed electrical contractor before authorising installation and have the contractor give you an Electrical Safety Certificate afterwards. For more information visit www.commerce.wa.gov.au/rcd or call EnergySafety on 08 6251 1900

• Smoke Alarms
You must ensure the rental property has smoke alarms as required by law. Most dwellings built since 1997 already comply with the requirement to have professionally installed smoke alarms. Where mains-powered (hard-wired) smoke alarms cannot be fitted (a common issue in multi-storey buildings), approved battery powered smoke alarms must be fitted before any new tenancy agreement commences. Mains-powered smoke alarms also contain rechargeable batteries so both kinds must be less than 10 years old (the whole alarm – not just the battery). For more information visit the Building Commission (www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ building-commission) and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (www.dfes.wa.gov.au).

• Minimum levels of security
Residential tenancy laws in Western Australia have always required lessors to provide and maintain locks or other devices to ensure rental premises are ‘reasonably secure’. Minimum levels of security standards have now been defined and your rental property must meet these standards.
Main entry door – either a deadlock or a key lockable screen door to Australian Standard AS 5039-2008.
All other external doors (excluding balcony doors where there is no access to the balcony except from inside the premises) – a deadlock or, if a deadlock cannot be fitted, a patio bolt lock or a key lockable security screen to Australian Standard AS 5039-2008.
Exterior windows (excluding windows fitted with security grilles to Australian standard AS 5039-2008, windows on, or above the second floor of the building and where the window is not easily accessible from outside the premises) – must be fitted with a lock that prevents the window from being opened from outside. Does not have to be a key lock.
Main entry light – an electrical light that can illuminate the main entry to the premises must be fitted to or near the exterior of the premises and be operable from inside the premises. A deadlock is defined by reference to Australian Standards as, ”A bolt that is not actuated by a spring. When locked the bolt cannot be returned by end pressure”. Exclusions apply, including residential premises that are on the Register of Heritage Places, and land zoned for agricultural or rural use under a local planning scheme. The requirement for a light at the main entry does not apply if a strata company is responsible for the lighting to the main entry. Further information is available from www.commerce.wa.gov.au/minimum levels of security.

• Product Safety – Window Fittings
The National Product Safety website provides information about bans and mandatory standards on particular products such as internal blinds, curtains and window fittings. Find out more at www.productsafety.gov.au The mandatory requirements for corded internal window coverings were implemented due to the risk of strangulation to small children through some curtain and blind cord fittings. This product safety order has particular relevance for lessors, as blinds in rental properties may have been installed before the order was made, so pose a greater risk of strangulation. You should check that no cords or strings pose a hazard.

• Risk Management
Ensure that the property is safe for tenancy. Some common items of risk maybe cracked shower screens, cracked glass windows, loose balustrading, uneven paving and rippled carpets.