House fires are on the rise across New South Wales. Scenes of lit up buildings engulfed in smoke are becoming increasingly common – as was the case for a unit block in Villawood earlier this month, causing 20 people to be rescued and more than 120 firefighters to be called to action. Along with increased incidents of house fires, they are also becoming increasingly fatal. Last year, there were 4070 house fires across the state, causing 17 deaths.

The tragic yet promising fact is that much of the damage and death caused by these house fires could have been avoided if an adequate smoke alarm system had been fitted and maintained. As a Landlord, you owe your tenants a duty to provide adequate house fire protection through an effective smoke alarm system. This article will cover the basic legislative requirements you should consider. 

The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 outlines the rights and responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in relation to smoke alarms. The main points to take from the legislation are: 

•        Landlords must install smoke alarms in their rented premises.

•        Landlords have a right to access rented premises to fit or maintain smoke alarms once they provide the tenant with at least 2 days’ notice.

•        Neither the landlord nor the tenant can remove or interfere with a smoke alarm, except with reasonable excuse.

•        The landlord should install a new battery at the beginning of each new tenancy.

•        During the tenancy, it is the tenant’s responsibility to replace the battery. It is recommended that the battery is changed at the start of each daylight savings.

•        Landlords of holiday accommodation are responsible for both installing smoke alarms and replacing their batteries.

Ensuring you comply with these requirements will not only minimise the risk of harm to your tenants and your property, but also protect you from liability if the worst should happen. The costs associated with house fires can be astronomical so it is strongly advised that you take a proactive approach to minimising the risk.

The five most common causes of home fires include unattended or abandoned cooking, electrical failures, falling asleep, overheating and mechanical failures. Whilst a smoke alarm cannot always prevent such fires from occurring, they are critical for minimising the damage they cause and giving people earlier notice to protect themselves and their property.

Now that you know your basic rights and responsibilities as a Landlord, you should put these into practice! Review your smoke alarms and make sure they are up to standard. Property inspections include smoke alarm checks so take advantage of this beneficial service. For more information, or to book in your property inspection today, contact me on 8858 3260.

by: Sandy Smith

As featured in

There is more to being a landlord than unblocking the sink, collecting the rent and watching your investment grow. Here are some tips for successfully renting your property.

Going it alone

It is possible to manage your own property but it can be hard work, time consuming and may not fit around your work and family commitments. 

“Make sure everything is in writing from the agent or the tenant if you are self-managing” says Nicole Ciantar, director at Vogue Real Estate in Castle Hill, Sydney. 

Living close to your rental property is a huge advantage. Tenants will expect you to deal with a problem straight away and not when it suits you. I once had a series of 3am phone calls from a tenant 80 kilometres away telling me that the lady upstairs had woken her because she was vacuuming. It wasn’t long before I engaged a property management service. 

Find trustworthy handymen and tradespeople for the jobs you can’t do

Build good relationships with professional tradespeople. You will need them to respond quickly when there are urgent repairs as well as completing good quality work at a reasonable price.

Find good tenants

If possible meet your future tenants. They might sound good on paper but meeting them face to face is the best way to find out all about them. 

“Landlords should always ask and verify that all references have been checked and vetted over the phone. Positive references are a great indicator of a quality tenant” says Karina Reed, manager of the property management department at Hockingstuart, Glen Iris, Victoria.

Use a property management service

“If you are already busy with a full-time job and spare time is at a premium, then you may find it overwhelming when you need to run inspections, do condition reports, organise repairs, attend tribunals” says Andrew Cook, marketing manager at Mint360property in Sydney. 

Having a property manager will also avoid you having to engage in awkward conversations about why the rent hasn’t been paid. 

Research property management agencies within close proximity of your investment property, says Reed. “The reason why you want to opt for a local agent is because they will have in-depth knowledge about the local area, buyer demographics, the best marketing tools and competition in the area.”

Renting out your own home

“If an owner leases out a property they have lived in prior, it’s important to remove any emotional attachments because a home will not return in the same condition and will naturally be subject to wear and tear,” advises Reed.

Get property insurance

Make sure you take out a landlord insurance policy to protect your property and contents says Ciantar and ensure the bond is lodged with the Rental Bond Board and not the agent’s or owner’s pocket she adds. You can opt for additional insurance cover against rent default. 

Not everyone will look after your property. I once had tenants ride a motorbike around the living room of an investment property. I was able to replace the carpets through my landlord insurance.

Comply with your legal obligations

“Be aware of the rules and responsibilities which bind tenants as well as landlords” says Reed. “I always recommend landlords have a grasp of even the most basic consumer affairs laws relating to rental properties as well as informing them of their maintenance obligations.”


1. Lack of communication from their current Property Manager
2. The Agent has allowed rent payments to fall behind
3. Lease has lapsed onto a Periodic Tenancy without the Landlords authority
4. Not sure when the last routine inspection was held
5. Surprises in their monthly statement (unauthorised extra charges)

Have you changed Property managers / real estate agents?  if so why?  Love to hear your reasons……

How often will Vogue Real Estate Australia carry out inspections?

As a rule of thumb, we’ll inspect a property every 3 months. So if you’re on a 6-month lease, you’ll likely have one inspection, and if you signed a 12-month lease, expect three inspections. In every case, we’ll give you 7 days written notice advising you when we’ll inspect, and give you a 2-hour time-frame of when we’ll enter. You can choose to be there, but it’s not necessary.

What penalties will I incur should I break my lease agreement early?

This issue is lengthy and covered fully under the NSW Off­ice of Fair Trading, but in summary, residential tenancy agreements generally include a break fee.

If the ‑fixed term of the agreement is for 3 years or less the break fee is:

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

If the fi‑xed term is for more than 3 years and you and the landlord agree to include a break fee clause, you can agree on the amount and write it into the agreement.

How can I pay my rent?

You can pay your rent via BPAY system. You will be supplied details at the signing of the lease. We are a no cash/cheque offi­ce.

Can I have a pet?

In most cases, pets are considered on application. It’s important to consider the suitability of each pet on a case-by-case basis as obviously some pets are more compatible with certain types of properties. The property owner will have the ‑final say as to whether or not your application will be approved with your pets. In those cases where a Strata Management applies, the Strata Management Owners Co-operation will make the final decision.

Can another person move in with me?

You must seek permission to add people to your lease. Additional tenants will have to complete our application process and either sign the lease or be added on to the lease. We may refuse your request if the property is unsuitable for an additional person, or the person you are proposing does not meet our eligibility criteria.

Moving from one property to another can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Hopefully the information below will help you in clarifying  your rights and obligations as a tenant when vacating a premises.

The vacating process begins when a tenant advises a Landlord, in writing, that he wishes to leave the premises or when a Landlord issues a termination notice to the tenant.

If a tenant intends to leave when their tenancy contract expires, they are required to provide at least 14 day notice, if the lease term has not yet expired. If the lease has already expired, then the tenant is required to give 21 days written notice.

In the same situation, a landlord is required to provide 30 days notice if the lease has not yet expired and 90 days notice if the lease has expired.

Once adequate notice has been given, a tenant will be issued with a vacate date. This is the latest date that a vacating tenant is able to return the keys to Vogue Real Estate Australia Pty Ltd. A tenant is also required to have all their property out from the property and have left the property in good order. You are required to pay rent until this date, regardless of whether you occupy it in the final days or not.

Tenants are required to complete an exit condition report upon leaving a property. If the property is not left in a respectable condition, we will hire professional cleaners at your expense, this cost will be deducted from your bond.

If the agent and tenant agree on the bond to be refunded, they will together submit a bond refund request form. Once this is complete, you will be refunded the agreed amount as directed by the form. If the tenant and agent disagree on the return of the bond, you may file a dispute to the Office of Fair Trading in NSW Alternatively, your property manager will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Find a Property

Finding a property that suits your needs is often the most challenging step in the application process. You can use our ‘Find a Property to Rent’ search tool to view all currently, and soon to be, available properties which match your criteria.

Open Inspections

Open inspection times will be displayed in the advertisement of the property in which you are interested. Should you wish to have an inspection of the property outside of these hours, please contact our Property Manager with your suggested date and time via our contact us page or phone (02) 8858 3260 between 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday.

You will be contacted within 24 hours regarding your private inspection.

Submitting Your Rental Application

Once you have viewed a property, you are then able to submit your rental application for tenancy. Our rental applications can be downloaded below. These can be submitted via fax, email or handed in at the office or direct to the property manager at the inspection, together with all supporting documentation.

What to Include in Your Rental Application

Each individual applicant over the age of 18 will be required to submit the

  • Basic personal details
  • Details of your current and past addresses
  • Next of kin contact details
  • Details of rental history including rental references, tenancy ledger
  • Personal and professional references
  • 120 points of identification (must include current photo):
  • Passport, birth certificate (70pt)
  • Drivers license, 18+ card (proof of age card) (40pt)
  • Bank/credit card, phone/electricity account statement (25pt each)
  • Employment details or proof of income
  • Last two pay slips
  • Employment contract
  • Bank statement that you will be using for your rental payments

Failure to fully complete your entire rental application and all required attachments will result in additional delay and could compromise the likelihood of your application being progressed.

Processing Your Rental Application

Here’s what we’ll look at when processing your rental application:

  • Double check that you have fully completed your application form including all the documents that we require;
  • We’ll check your identification to ensure that all details line up as they should;
  • We then do a basic affordability test for all people applying on your lease to make sure that the rent is within your means;
  • We’ll contact your employer to ensure your employment and income details are current and correct.
  • All applicants will be checked against a national tenancy database so that we’re aware of any past discrepancies in rental payments or prior property
  • Rental applications that meet our criteria will be passed to the property owner who’ll make the final decision on which rental application to progress;
  • If you’re application is selected we will notify you immediately to arrange a sign-up meeting, unsuccessful applicants will be notified as soon as a tenant is secured. 

How Long Does it take to Process a Rental Application?

We will endeavor to have an answer to you within 48 hours.

Accepting & Signing the Lease

Once you have been accepted for a property we will make an initial phone call to advise that your application has been successful. You will be required to pay a minimum of 1 weeks rent as deposit to secure the property.

Once we have received your deposit in our trust account, we will contact you with a suitable time for all parties to visit our o­ffice to sign the lease. At the time of the approval phone call we will advise you of the balance required to fulfill your rent in advance (2 weeks rent) and bond (equivalent to 4 weeks rent) payable prior to the signing of the lease.

When you visit our office to sign your lease, please bring your payment receipt. We will explain all your tenancy requirements thoroughly and rental payment procedures.

Please allocate up to 45 minutes for your tenancy induction. We will explain our zero tolerance policy for late rent payment, the bond lodgement process, action for emergency repairs and set up payment method through our BPAY payment system. The lease will then be signed by all parties and at completion we will hand over the keys to the property.

Please note we do not accept cash or cheques at any time. Our offi­ce has a no cash policy.

Before You Rent
We suggest that you familiarise yourself with our rental application process before you even begin your house-hunting. That way you can prepare copies of all relevant documents to ensure your application is submitted as soon as you find that property. (please see “submitting an application” for required supporting documentation.

Finding a Property
This is absolutely the most important step in the rental process. Finding the ‘right’ property is a decision that will affect you for the entirety of your lease. So it’s important that you carefully consider exactly what you want in a home.

All you need to do is go to ‘Properties’ and enter any criteria you may have. Most people will narrow down their search by rent price, suburb, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms and number of car parks.

Once you’ve found one, or a handful of properties, that you’re interested in, it is suggested that you attend the open inspection before you apply. You may also have someone view the property on your behalf.

Attending Open Inspections
In the advertisement for properties to rent, you will see the times of the property’s open inspection. If you are unable to attend at these times, please contact the Property Manager via email or phone to arrange a mutually convenient private viewing appointment.

Submitting Your Rental Application
For ease of application, we strongly suggest that when you attend an open inspection, you have your completed application form together with all supporting documentation ready to hand to the Property Manager, should you wish to apply for tenancy.

In order to complete your rental application you will need to provide us with the following:

  • Basic personal details
  • Details of your current and past addresses
  • Next of kin contact details
  • Details of rental history including rental references
  • Personal and professional references
  • 120 points of identification (must include current photo):
    • Passport, birth certificate (70pt)
    • Drivers license, 18+ card (proof of age card) (40pt)
    • Bank/credit card, phone/electricity account statement (25pt each)
  • Employment details or proof of income
  • Last two pay slips
  • Employment contract
  • Bank statement showing savings or large lump sum deposits

There are a number of ways to submit your rental application. You may hand it in at the property inspection or via fax or email it to us or via the contact us page.

A rental is a sum of money that tenants are required to pay to cover any unforeseen problems. This can cover; unpaid rent, damage to property by tenants and cleaning should the property be left in an unsatisfactory condition.

The bond is the equivalent to four weeks rent. This bond will be submitted to the Office of Fair Trading and where it will be kept for the duration of the tenancy.

Utility Connections – Getting Connected
It is a tenants responsibility to ensure power, gas, phone and internet has been connected into your name.

Changing Your Address
Be sure to update your address where necessary. This might include; Department of Transport, banks, superannuation funds, schools, work and so forth. Please also ensure you advise us of your new home phone number and PO Box if applicable.

Property Condition Report
Please ensure that you return your signed/amended copy of your property condition report to us within 7 days of the tenancy start date. If this is not returned, please be aware that the original inspection will be used for end of tenancy comparison, regardless of whether you agree to the original report or not.

Tenant Contents Insurance
It is important to note that should your goods be damaged or destroyed by circumstances affecting the owner’s property (i.e. fire, storm damage, power outages, etc), then your goods and possessions are not insured by the owner.

Example One: An electrical fault in the building starts a fire and the property is destroyed. Your possessions will not be covered by the owner’s insurance.

Example Two: You are away on holidays and the power cuts out due to an electrical fault in the building. Your return home to find your fridge/freezer goods spoilt. The owner’s insurance will not cover your fridge/freezer goods.

Example Three: A storm blows a tree onto the house and in the process, your belongings are damaged. The owner’s insurance will not cover your possessions. A quality tenants contents insurance should cover these examples. Please contact your insurer for further information. You need to ensure that all your goods are adequately insured as neither Vogue Real Estate Australia Pty Ltd or the property owner will be liable for damaged or destroyed tenant possessions.