Managing Residential Tenancies

Disclaimer: These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

Most of us have rented a property and called it home for at least part of our lives. Flying the coup and sharing a rambling old home, newly-weds, recent divorcees, those awaiting the completion of a renovation and relocating company executives are just some of the reasons for renting. Indeed, as “affordability” issues render owning a home more difficult in recent times, more people are likely to rent a home for extended periods rather than purchase one.  Therefore, most of us have had to deal with the Residential Tenancies Act.

Recently there have been several amendments to the Act effective from 1st July 2017.  Some of these amendments allow for electronic communication and website notifications.

The Act now allows and authorizes the service of any notice or document to be given by electronic means such as email.  And the Magistrates Court will no longer publish notices about court applications in the newspaper. All court notices will be published on a website maintained by the Magistrates Court.

Understanding the workings of the Act, is not straightforward and property owners ought to rely on the expertise of local REIWA agents for advice on tenancy matters.

Of course, most tenancies run smoothly and on the odd occasion tenancies “go bad”.  It is the property manager’s job to manage the tenancy mitigating any potential losses to the owner.

This task, along with the other numerous day-to-day management issues reveals that the actual role of the property manager is to manage the tenancy within the terms of the lease and the law rather than managing the property itself. This makes sense considering that it is the tenant that lives in and by-extension manages the property. The property manager, on the other hand, is only able by law to inspect the property on four occasions per twelve month tenancy. Notification of these inspections may now be sent by email.

In essence, it is the tenant that is charged with the daily task of looking after their property and the agent is there to ensure the tenant does so to a level expected of them under the terms of the lease and within the confines of the law.

by Hayden Groves
REIWA President
REIA Deputy President

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