Here are six basic principles that anyone can apply to achieve great results, even if you are starting with limited resources. Remember, without a property financial plan your good intentions may not amount to much.

  1. Put money towards your savings first

Make sure that you regularly set aside some of your income before you’re tempted to spend it. Before long you’ll have enough to consider a range of investment options.

  1. Invest for growth

Over the longer term, growth investments such as shares should give you a better overall return than cash-type investments, but are likely to be more volatile. Everyone’s attitude to risk is different so you need to choose investments that are suitable for you.

  1. Too good to be true

Steer clear of investments with unrealistically high returns as most of the highly tax-driven investments that you may read about are often riskier than they appear.

  1. Invest tax effectively

Remember that money invested in Australian shares or managed share funds can earn you imputation or franking credits. These reduce your income tax paid on any dividends or can potentially be received as a tax refund.

  1. Make the most of super

Super is still the most tax-effective form of retirement saving for most people. If your employer allows it, you can implement a salary sacrifice strategy to make additional super contributions directly from your pre-tax salary. This means your super will be increased and, because of the concessional rate of tax that applies to super, you will pay less in tax.

  1. Spread your risk

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – maintain a balanced approach to investment. It is generally a good idea to spread your investments across a number of different asset classes such as shares and property, fixed interest and cash. Often if one asset class performs poorly, another may perform strongly. A diversified approach can keep your investments growing steadily.

Financial advice makes a difference!

 

 

Source:

Bridges Financial Pty Ltd

Watering The Garden

Dear Tenants

In response to our landlords recent requests we would like to suggest that all tenants who have gardens, lawns and plants to water them this season.
We have spoken with fair trading on your behalf about watering gardens , lawns and plants and their response was to quote the Tenancy Areement section 16.
16.1 The tenant agrees: to keep the residential premises reasonably clean,
And gave this example:

When a tenant moves into a property and the grass is green and the roses are red, when the tenant vacates the property and the grass and roses are dead the tenant could be liable which could incur lost of bond or paying for landscaping.
Therefore we would like to encourage all our tenants to care for the garden, lawns and plants this summer

Best Wishes,
Vogue Real Estate

Consumers of services beware!   Everyday all types of businesses are giving sales pitches to try and get your business.  Sometimes the sales pitches are genuine and sometimes you know they are so way out but they can be good entertainment value.   The problem is when a sales pitch seems so genuine and you accept it in good faith and you don’t find out it’s a lie until you’ve paid the $ and not got what you were promised.

A client mentioned to me recently that they had been in a situation where they needed to make a decision about a service offering between two service providers; one was an independent company and the other was a single franchise of a national company.   Despite preferring the professionalism of the independent service provider the customer decided to choose the franchise after being told by them that they could expect an immediate sale as the franchise would have a national network and bigger reach due to being a chain.  

Realistically, it is likely this would only be the case if that franchise owner is the owner of all franchises in the company, as franchises tend to operate independently.  As a result, their single franchise reach is no different to the independent company.  As a consequence a statement like this from the franchise is treading on dangerous ground in regards to Section 18 of Australian Consumer Law.  Section 18 of Australian Consumer Law is all about Misleading and Deceptive Conduct.

If the rest of the franchises do not participate in helping increase the reach of the customer’s product and the customer has made their decision to engage the franchise over the independent based on the information and sales pitch that they do, this is then potentially a breach of Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

So if you are promised the world by a service provider make sure you understand what they are promising.  Ask questions as to how they will deliver and make them accountable on their promises.  This will go a long way to ensure you are not just delivered a sales pitch and that the company knows you make them responsible for their promises.  Ultimately you deserve to get what you are paying for.  It definitely pays to know your rights as an Australian Consumer!

As a tenant or landlord, you should be familiar with the rules about who bears the responsibility for maintenance and repairs of your rental property. These rules can seem quite complicated as the responsibility changes hands depending on the type of damage. The general rules are contained within the Residential Tenancy Agreement, which distinguishes between three main types of damage: maintenance, urgent repairs, and non-urgent repairs. Also, as a landlord, you may be wondering what responsibilities belong to you versus your property manager. This article will give you a quick and thorough summary of the rules so you have a good understanding of your rights and responsibilities.

Tenant Obligations

According to the Residential Tenancy Agreement (RTA), tenants have several responsibilities with respect to their rental property. These include:

  • Keeping the premises ‘reasonably’ clean.
  • Telling the landlord about any damage or disrepair ASAP.
  • Leaving the premises as close as possible to the condition they were in before the tenancy began – except for ‘fair wear and tear’.
  • Not damaging or permitting damage to the property either purposely or negligently.
  • Not adding or removing fixtures from the premises.
  • Not doing any renovations or alterations to the premises without written consent from the landlord, unless permitted under the RTA.

If a tenant fails to comply with these obligations, the landlord may apply to the NSW and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for any of the following orders:

  • the tenant complies with the tenancy agreement; and/or
  • to end the tenancy; and/or
  • for compensation.

Landlord and/or Property Manager Obligations

Landlords also face a number of obligations with respect to the maintenance and repair of their rental properties. The actual extent of their active duties will depend upon whether they are self-managing landlords or if they have a property manager looking after their property.

Generally, the landlord of a rental property has an obligation to:

  • Provide the premises to the tenant in a ‘reasonably’ clean state which is fit to live in.
  • Provide and maintain the premises in ‘reasonable’ repair (even if the tenant was informed of any disrepair before moving in) à ‘reasonable’ repair depends on the age of the premises, the cost of rent and the potential life of the premises.
  • Make any repairs mentioned in the original condition report.

The landlord is not responsible for any damage caused by the tenant. If they wish to claim compensation from the tenant for such damage, they must make reasonable effort to minimise the cost of any repair or replacement.

I have a Property Manager – What are their responsibilities? Am I still responsible?

As a landlord, having a Property Manager is an excellent option if you want to assign your ongoing, routine duties to somebody else who is much more experienced. Property managers will typically take care of the physical management of the property, including regular maintenance and repairs. The many duties of Property Managers include:

  • Preventative maintenance à This is aimed at keeping the property functioning in top condition, thereby keeping current tenants happy and attracting new tenants. For example, Property Managers are personally in charge of, or must hire someone to:
    • exterminate,
    • check for leaks,
    • landscape,
    • shovel snow, and
    • remove trash.
  • Repairs à Where there is an issue, the Property Manager must attend to it themselves or hire someone else to attend to it. Property Managers often have a large network of reliable plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other contractors who can get the job done quickly and to a high standard.

Self-managing landlords are significantly more exposed to risk of liability from maintenance or repair issues. History shows that unless landlords have specific experience in inspecting properties for safety issues, they are much more likely to be included in a claim. Even if you do have a Property Manager though, it is important to remember that the argument of “I was paying a Property Manager to look after my property, so it’s not my responsibility – it’s theirs!”, has proven not to fly well with the courts. Therefore, as a landlord you need to remain proactive in ensuring your property is kept in the appropriate condition required by law. This could involve keeping in regular contact with your Property Manager and asking for updates and/or photographs of your property to ensure it is up to standard.

Urgent Repairs

Urgent repairs are defined by the RTA as including any work needed to repair any of the following:

  • A failure of the gas, electricity or water supply.
  • A failure or breakdown of any essential service for cooking, heating, hot water, laundering or cooling.
  • Any fault or damage that makes the premises unsafe or insecure.
  • Serious damage caused by a natural disaster.

Examples of urgent repairs include:

  • A burst water pipe
  • A blocked or broken toilet
  • A gas leak
  • Serious fire or storm damage
  • A serious roof leak
  • An appliance or fixture, such as a tap, that is broken and causing a substantial loss of water.

The usual protocol for an urgent repair is for the tenant to immediately notify the landlord or Property Manager about the damage – in writing if possible. If the landlord cannot be contacted or is unwilling to do the urgent repairs, the Property Manager and/or the tenant has the right to arrange for the repairs to be done. It is strongly advised that no more than $1,000 is spent on the repairs, as the landlord is only required to pay reasonable costs up to a maximum of $1,000.

The landlord will be obliged to pay within 14 days of the tenant and/or Property Manager’s notice, so long as the tenant is able to show that:

  • He/she was not at fault for the damage;
  • ‘Reasonable’ attempts were made to contact the landlord and/or Property Manager;
  • The Landlord and/or Property Manager were given a ‘reasonable’ chance to do the repairs; and
  • The repairs were carried out by a repair person named in the tenancy agreement (if possible) or by a licensed or qualified tradesperson.

Further, the tenant must provide written notice of the repairs, costs and copies of receipts. If the landlord refuses to pay, the tenant can apply to NCAT for an order that they do so.

Need help with your Rental Property?

If you are looking for an experienced Property Manager for your investment property or would like any further information about your rental, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Nicole Ciantar
Vogue Real Estate

 

If you owned a business, you would do everything you could to protect yourself from liability. Well, being a landlord is essentially like a business – so why don’t we always look to protect ourselves in the same way? During my long experience as a property manager, I have seen landlords sued by their tenants on countless occasions, and it is becoming more and more common. But, worryingly, I’ve also found that many landlords aren’t aware of the risks they face, and aren’t adequately protected. Here, I will cover the main points you should know as a landlord.

Increasing Burden on Landlords

Industry standards and legislative requirements are always changing. Landlords now face a higher degree of responsibility in relation to their duty of care to tenants and visitors of their property. Not only are the number of risks high, but the amount of money a landlord could be liable to pay can be astronomical!

As an example, in 2013, a landlord was liable to pay his tenant $300,000 compensation after the tenant was seriously injured when the balustrade of a balcony collapsed. This was caused by the landlord’s failure to ensure that the balcony was properly maintained and routinely inspected.

Prevention is Best

In light of cases such as this, it’s clear to see why landlords need to take steps to protect themselves. Of course, prevention is always best. Landlords should take every precaution to ensure their property is reasonably safe and well-maintained. This will not only help to ensure the health and happiness of tenants, but also prevent any potential lawsuits.

But while prevention is always best, accidents happen! Landlords can’t rely on their agents or property managers alone as a complete solution to the risk of liability. We always do what we can to help, but in reality, even agents exhibiting “best Practice” cannot cover the field in today’s legal landscape. What we can do though, is provide our professional opinion and recommend the services you need to ensure your valuable investment is safe.

A Crucial Line of Defence: Insurance

This is where insurance comes into play. Insurance is the vital line of defence which protects landlords from liability if they ever find themselves being sued by tenants. Landlord insurance usually includes public liability insurance, which insures the landlord for injury, death or property damage caused to other people.

Generally, public liability insurance covers the landlord for up to $20 million legal liability for any incident on their rental property. If a tenant successfully sues a landlord, this insurance will cover the landlord for:

  • Damages awarded to the claimant
  • The landlord’s legal costs
  • The claimant’s legal costs, if the landlord is at fault.

Without insurance, a landlord could find themselves facing a very hefty bill. Before you take out insurance though, compare different policies and make sure you choose a policy which covers you for everything you need!

If you have any questions or would like an experienced agent managing your investment property, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Nicole Ciantar

Vogue Real Estate

Your property is likely to be your most valuable asset, so you want to make sure you have the right person on your team to get the best possible outcome for you. The right property manager can make or break your investment. So how can you sift through the competition and find a professional who is best suited to you? This article will guide you through the key questions you should ask any prospective property manager to find the best match for your property.

  1. What is your knowledge of the local rental market?

You want a property manager with experience in the local area of your property. This specialised knowledge is invaluable. Ask about their knowledge of the area, other properties they manage, as well as the current performance of the rental market, and any trends or future expectations. You really want to make sure your property manager can demonstrate their knowledge.

  1. How much do you charge and what is included?

When appointing a property manager, there are usually upfront costs as well as ongoing costs you should be aware of. The three basic costs you could expect include:

  • Management fee à a percentage of the weekly rental figure.
  • Letting fee à Usually 1-2 weeks’ rent.
  • Administration fee à Usually a monthly amount.

The management fee will often include advertising, inspections, reports and organisation of maintenance quotes, but each property manager is different. Make sure you ask exactly what’s included so you don’t face any nasty hidden fees later on!

  1. What is your estimate of the weekly rental potential of the property?

You want a property manager who has high but realistic expectations for your rental income. You should ask upon what basis they have made their estimate, so you can grasp their understanding of similar properties in the area and the rents they have achieved. 

  1. How – and how often – will you communicate with me?

Good communication between a property manager and landlord is very important. You want someone who will regularly communicate with you through an agreed process, whether that’s through email updates, monthly statements, or property inspection reports. Ask your property manager how they will keep you informed about anything that happens with your property, such as maintenance issues, lease renewals or rent reviews. Your agent should always make you feel like a top priority.

  1. What is your tenant selection criteria?

Good tenant selection is vital. Your property manager should always maintain excellent tenant selection standards despite the rush to receive rental income. A bad tenant can damage the property, fail to pay rent, refuse to leave, and overall cause a lot of wasted time and money. Make sure you are happy with your property manager’s criteria.

Examples of tenant selection steps your property manager might take include:

  • Requesting evidence of an income equal or 3 times the weekly rent.
  • Obtaining a good rental reference from another agent or proof of previous home ownership.
  • Screening for tenants on TICA – Australia’s largest tenant default database.
  1. How will you market my property and attract good tenants?

Does your agent have a large database of quality tenants looking for a home and/or a clear marketing strategy? Ask your agent how they intend to market your property and how often they will be available to show the property to interested tenants. Many prospective tenants work business hours so you will want a property manager who is flexible enough to show your property outside of business hours or on weekends.

  1. How often will you inspect my property?

Property inspections are an important way to make sure your property is well looked after. The number of inspections your property manager can carry out is restricted by legislation for your state, but you want to make sure your agent complies with the maximum allowed. You also want to find out what kind of report you will receive and whether the costs of inspections and reports are included in the management fee.

  1. What action will be taken if a tenant falls behind in rent?

A property manager should check the rent arrears regularly and identify any tenants behind in rent. There is a timeline of steps a property manager should take in the event of a tenant’s failure to pay rent. This may include the issue of a notice to vacate, and later taking the tenant to the state’s relevant tribunal to be issued a grant of possession. Ask your property manager about the relevant legislation in your state to make sure they have the required knowledge to deal with any issues that may arise.

  1. How are the financial aspects managed?

Ask your property manager how and when rents are collected, and when you can expect to receive the money in your bank account. You should be given a clear explanation of how all financial matters will be managed, including how fees are expected to be paid by you. 

  1. What benefits will your property management services provide that others don’t?

This is an important question to help you make your final decision. Find out the point of difference each prospective property manager offers. For example, do they have excellent knowledge of the local market, offer open communication with their landlords, operate 7 days a week, or have a unique promotional strategy? Weight up the pros and cons of each agent.

Ask away…

A great property manager is an invaluable asset to have. By asking these ten questions, you will be well on your way to finding the best person to look after your particular property.

If you are looking for a property manager or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Nicole Ciantar
0419 237 044
Vogue Real Estate

You’ve found the perfect home or investment property, but the only problem is … it’s stuck in 2D. Is buying a property off-the-plan a good idea? The answer will depend on your particular circumstances. This article will help you decide whether purchasing off-the-plan is a good idea for you, and guide you through the checks to make before taking this step.

Is buying off-the-plan right for me?

Investors vs Owner Occupiers

Whether buying off-the-plan is right for you may depend on your purpose for purchasing. Investors and owner occupiers often have very different wants and needs for their properties. Property investors are primarily concerned with numbers. Their goals are often to purchase a property for less than its value, rent it out for a good return, and later sell at a much higher price than they paid. Owner occupiers, on the other hand, have much different goals. While they may indeed be interested in resale value, they are looking for a property that is aesthetically pleasing, practical for their lifestyle requirements, and essentially feels like home.

For these reasons, purchasing a property off-the-plan may be better suited for investors rather than owner occupiers. It is often difficult to assess whether a property will satisfy the goals of owner occupiers mentioned above when all you have to go by is a blueprint or a miniature model. The final product could be a disappointment likened to when your favourite movie is turned into a crappy movie – except in this case, you’ve spent a lot of money on it!

That isn’t to say that buying off-the-plan will always be the right decision for investors, and vice versa, but it is one thing to consider. Another useful step will be to weigh up the pros and cons of buying off-the-plan.

Pros

  • You can often get the property you want, in a good location, and at a lower price by getting in early.
  • You can benefit from any market price increases over the period of construction.
  • Buyers can enjoy tax depreciation benefits and government incentives.

 Cons

  • Risk of the property not living up to your expectations – whether due to the seller completing the property to a lower standard, or simply due to the difficulty in visualising a property before it is completed.
  • Risk of default on construction.
  • Risk of your financial situation changing for the worse.
  • Risk of the market dropping between the time you purchase the property and the time it is complete.

What checks should I do before buying?

Buying property off-the-plan entails its own unique risks. Before handing over your money on a planned development, you should do your own research and perform the following checks.

  1. The Contract

Buying off-the-plan involves signing a contract of sale which is drafted and tailored quite differently to a regular contract of sale. In particular, you should check that the following factors are included in your contract:

  • Cooling off period
  • Adequate plan of disclosure
  • Deposit amount
  • Inclusions and warranties
  • Finance
  • Defects
  • Stamp duty
  • Completion

Make sure you are happy with the contract in terms of each of the factors above, and seek to negotiate if you are not.

  1. The Builder/Developer

Perform a background check of the builder or developer. Visit the company’s website and view information relating to past and present projects, contact details, and the directors. Read reviews of others’ experiences with the builder/developer in the past. Finally, you can do a licence check on any of the state government websites to obtain information such as:

  • Details about the licensee
  • Date of issue and expiry of the license
  • Results of any disciplinary determinations and prosecutions
  • Any cancellations or suspensions of the license
  1. Insurance

The developer has an obligation to provide home warranty insurance cover before entering into a contract for sale of an off-the-plan property, provided the contract is for more than $20,000. This covers the owner of the property for loss or damage resulting from non-completion of work, loss of deposit, or breach of a statutory warranty. There are some exceptions to this rule, so you should research the laws in your state to see if this applies to your property.

Need more information?

Buying off-the-plan can be a daunting decision to make, so it is always good to get a great agent on your side to take you through the process. If you have any questions or would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Nicole Ciantar

Vogue Real Estate

Neighbourhood disputes can be stressful, bitter, and interfere with your ability to feel safe and happy in your own home and neighbourhood. When things get tough, people sometimes don’t know where to turn for help. This can be frustrating when the people we seek help from are not able to provide it. As an agent, I want to see my clients happy, but there are certain laws that govern what I can and cannot do for my clients. Unfortunately, these rules are not known to many, so misdirected frustration is something that myself and other agents sometimes experience. This article will outline the best ways you can deal with neighbourhood disputes, and where you can get the help you need.

Common Types of Neighbourhood Disputes

Neighbourhood disputes can arise over just about anything, but there are some types that commonly arise. These include disputes relating to:

  • Entry, access and privacy
  • Boundaries and dividing fences
  • Noise, smells and garbage
  • Animals
  • Violence, harassment and intimidation

If you ever find yourself in a neighbourhood dispute regarding one of these or any other issue, there are certain steps you should take.

Limits on Agents

Agents, as professionals, are governed by countless rules and regulations, many of which are contained in the Residential Tenancies Agreement NSW. These rules are strictly enforced, and a failure to follow them could be very damaging for an agent’s business and reputation – not to mention the legal consequences.

An important example is Section 14 which states that landlords and their agents are not permitted to interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of a tenant, and must take all reasonable steps to ensure that neighbouring tenants also do not interfere. This is a very broad rule which prevents agents from intervening in many types of disputes affecting landlords and tenants. So, while you can always speak to your agent about any problems you may have and ask for their advice, you will often need to take alternative steps to get your problem solved.

Steps to Resolve Disputes

  1. Emergencies

First of all, if there is an emergency and you require immediate assistance, the first thing you should do is dial 000. This will be the fastest way for you to contact either the police, ambulance or fire department.

  1. Where Communication is Possible

For any other non-emergency, the first step should always be communication. Discuss the problem with your neighbour from each of your perspectives, and discuss how you would like to solve it. If you can compromise and come to an agreement, fantastic! This is the most stress-free and cheapest way to resolve any dispute. Keep a record of all the contact you have regarding the problem in case there is a dispute later. Where communication or mutual agreement are not possible, you may need to take a different approach.

  1. Mediation

Mediation is an excellent alternative to legal action where there has been a failure to reach a mutual agreement. Mediation gives you the opportunity to meet with your neighbour on mutual grounds to discuss the issue in the presence of a trained mediator. Any agreement reached is not a court order but it can sometimes be made into one if the parties wish.

Mediation is available across NSW through Community Justice Centres. It is free and confidential – so it can save you a lot of expense and delay, not to mention stress, that’s involved with taking the matter to court.

  1. Legal Action

Your last and final resort should be legal action. Taking your matter to court has certain advantages, but there are also significant risks. The advantages include that it gives an impartial decision maker the responsibility of solving your problem, and also, the outcome has the full force and authority of the law.

A few of the many disadvantages include:

  • You cannot control the outcome, and you might not like it.
  • Stress, delay and high costs
  • Complex procedures – you may require a lawyer
  • Risk of costs against you

Conclusion

Neighbourhood disputes are a common problem across NSW. Agents may be able to provide advice regarding some issues, however, they are often restricted by the laws which govern the profession. So make sure you are aware of the steps you should take to sort out your matter in the most effective and least burdensome way possible.

Nicole Ciantar
Vogue Real Estate

New pool rules have been in force in New South Wales since April 29, 2016. These changes affect everyone, including landlords selling or leasing their home, as well as potential tenants looking to lease or buy. So, are you aware of the changes and how they could directly affect you?

Why the Change?

Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death in children under the age of 5 years in New South Wales. Clearly, something needed to be done to prevent this common and tragic problem.

Local NSW Government Minister Paul Toole noted these eye-opening facts:

“Some 55 per cent of all 0- to 5-year-old drowning deaths in a backyard spa or pool happen because of either a faulty gate or a gate being propped open,”

“We could halve the drowning figure if pool owners ensured their gates self-closed and self-latched. To achieve this, we need to change human behaviour.”

As a response, the NSW government has amended the Swimming Pools Act 1992 to improve the safety of children around swimming pools. As a landlord or tenant, it is vital that you understand how the changes in swimming pool laws will affect your property.

What are the Changes?

The new laws have brought a number of changes. These include:

  • Swimming pool or spa owners must register their pool or spa on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
  • A valid certificate of compliance or non-compliance must be attached to the sale or rental contract of any property with a swimming pool or spa.
    • These can be obtained from the local council or an independent accredited certifier who is registered with the Building Professionals Board.
    • Contact details for accredited certifiers are available on the Swimming Pool Register website at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
  • If a landlord does not provide a certificate of compliance certificate as part of a new lease for a property with a pool, the lease may be invalid.
  • If a pool is non-compliant, the new owner has 90 days to bring it up to safety standards.
  • Accredited certifiers registered with the Building Professionals Board and local councils can carry out inspections of pools and spas.

Don’t Leave things too Late!

I strongly advise my clients to allow plenty of time to obtain a certificate of compliance. Why? Well first off, around 95% of pools fail the first inspection! Furthermore, many councils advise that it can take up to 90 days before a pool becomes compliant. You don’t want to delay the lease or sale of your property, or getting into your new property or rental home, so get things done as soon as possible.

If you are unsure whether yours or your landlord’s pool or spa has a current certificate of compliance, you can check by accessing the NSW Swimming Pool Register online at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.

If you have any questions or require any further information at all about your purchase, sale, or tenancy of property, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Nicole Ciantarvogue-logo-no-background-black-copy-2
Vogue Real Estate
Ph: (02) 8858 3260
Email: nicole@voguere.com.au
Office: 33/9 Hoyle Ave, CASTLE HILL, NSW 2154

When you sign a lease, you are committing to stay and pay for the full term. But what happens if your circumstances change and you want to move out before the end of the term? In most cases, you will be facing costs. There are some circumstances, however, where a fixed term agreement can be terminated early without penalty. These rules are contained in the Residential Tenancies Agreement. Find out your rights and responsibilities so you are prepared if you ever find yourself in this situation.

What Costs could I be facing?

As a tenant, the costs of breaking your lease early could be significant. You may need to pay:

  • Rent until either a new tenant takes over or your fixed term period ends – whichever occurs first, AND
  • A percentage of the advertising costs and the agent’s reletting fee. For example, if you break the lease 9 months into a 12-month lease, there is 25% of the lease remaining, so you may expect to pay 25% of these amounts.

How Can I minimise the Costs?

The best thing you can do is to provide as much notice as you can. The landlord or agent is then responsible to take reasonable action to find a replacement tenant as soon as possible. Do what you can to make things as easy as possible for the landlord and/or agent – for example, by making it easy for them to show the premises to potential new tenants.

What if I don’t feel that my landlord or agent is making reasonable effort to re-let? The first step you should take is to check the agent’s website and their list of available rental properties.

The landlord and agent are under a duty to keep your costs to a minimum. If they do anything that makes it more difficult to find a tenant, such as increasing the rent or unreasonably rejecting potential tenants, you may not be required to pay the full amount that they request from you.

Once the new tenant is found, you will be required to pay the full amount owed. If you refuse to pay or disagree with the amount requested, the landlord or agent can claim your bond or apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Be warned – if you owe more than the bond amount, your name could be listed on a tenancy database which could make it difficult for you to rent again in Australia in the future.

Optional Break Fee

An option you and your landlord could agree to is to include a break fee clause in the terms of your lease. This clause sets a fixed fee amount you agree to pay if you move out before the end of the fixed term.

If the lease’s term is 3 years or less, the break fee is:

  • 6 weeks rent if you move out in the first half of the term
  • 4 weeks rent if you move out in the second half of the term.

If the fixed term is longer than 3 years, you can decide on an appropriate amount with your landlord and include it in your agreement.

Breach by the Landlord

If your landlord has not complied with the terms of your tenancy agreement, you may be able to break your lease without penalty. For example, this may apply where the landlord has failed to keep the property in reasonable repair.

You should give your landlord 14 days’ written notice of termination where possible. Alternatively, you can apply to the Tribunal without giving notice, though you will need to provide evidence to satisfy the Tribunal that the breach justifies ending the lease.

Breaking the Agreement without Penalty

Limited circumstances exist where you can break a lease early without facing penalty. You can give 14 days’ written notice if any of the following circumstances exist:

  • You have an offer of social housing.
  • You need to move to an aged care facility or nursing home (not retirement villages).
  • The landlord has put the premises up for sale, but you were not told before you signed the lease that it would be sold.
  • Mutual consent with your landlord to break lease early with no costs.

In these circumstances, you will only be liable to pay rent until your notice ends and you hand over possession of the premises.

Hardship

Finally, if it would cause undue hardship for you to stay in the premises until the end of the fixed term, you can apply to the Tribunal to terminate your lease early. You must satisfy the Tribunal that you face special circumstances which did not exist when you first moved in, and that your hardship is serious or severe. If the Tribunal accepts your request, it may order you to compensate the landlord for lost rent and/or other losses.

Take the Right Steps Today!

As you now know, breaking a lease early can be costly and time-consuming for both you and your landlord. It is best to avoid this situation where possible by ensuring that your lease term is suitable for your current and future circumstances. Alternatively, negotiate with your landlord to include a clause in your contract that minimises your costs if you do need to move out earlier than expected. This could save you a lot of money and stress down the track!

For more information or advice, contact me today at Vogue Real Estate.

Nicole Ciantar
Vogue Real Estate
Head Office: 33/9 Hoyle Avenue, Castle Hill, NSW 2154
Ph: (02) 8858 3260
Email: info@voguere.com.au