A Smooth Tenancy Starts With The Right Tenants

Ownership of residential rental properties is a method favoured by many Australians, especially those with self-managed superannuation funds, to build investment portfolios. The secret to keeping these properties earning income is to keep them occupied by tenants who look after their rentals and pay the rent on time, every time.


Good Tenants Prevent Income and Property Loss for Owners


Owners whose properties are unoccupied for extended periods of time lose rental income, and their assets are at an increased risk of being vandalised. If this happens, they must pay for the repairs and face increased insurance premiums, which add to the cost of holding the property.


The best way to prevent this is to choose tenants carefully, and at Bunbury Real Estate, our rigorous process enables us to put forward quality tenants for the properties we manage on behalf of our owner clients. When a property is advertised for tenancy, we certainly don’t take the first applicant who comes along. There are several checks we do first before any decisions are made.


Background Checks of all Rental Applicants are Standard Practice


The most obvious check is that the tenant has the capacity to pay the rent. This is a similar process to taking out a loan in that we check their employment and credit status to identify any areas where there could be financial stress. We also ask for references from former rental agents or owners where the tenant has already established a relationship.


Some of our rental property owners accept the presence of pets, and it is becoming more popular for tenants who have pets to also present references on behalf of their furry family members. Well-trained pets are often better behaved than some humans, and we have owners who acknowledge and accept that.


Diligent Property Managers Identify Issues Early


Our property managers also like to establish a personal relationship with our tenants, where possible. Regular property inspections are an opportunity to identify issues that could become problems if they are not dealt with quickly. It could be something as simple as asking for the yard to be tidied if it looks a little unruly, to working with a good tenant who may be temporarily in arrears.


Matching Tenants with Their Ideal Dwelling is Important


Choosing the right tenant also involves matching an applicant with the type of dwelling that suits their needs. A good tenant is more likely to stay long term when they are living in their ideal location, in the type of property they were seeking. There will always be management problems if the tenant and the dwelling are not suited to each other.


Our professional property managers have many years of experience at keeping our properties tenanted with good people who turn a vacant dwelling into a home.

How to Avoid Landlord Hassles

We have all heard “bad tenant” horror stories of unpaid rent, wanton property damage, civil disturbance and a legal system that appears to favour tenants, however badly they behave. The due process needed to legally evict such tenants takes so long that by the time they have left, many rental properties are unliveable and their owners are thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Rogue Landlords Just as Much a Problem as Irresponsible Tenants

Not as well publicised but still a problem for genuine tenants, who abide by the terms of their rental agreements, are rogue landlords. Not content to allow their tenants “quiet enjoyment” of their dwelling, the busy-body landlord is constantly interfering in their lives. Unscheduled inspections, illegal entry, banning visitors and refusing to carry out repairs are just some of the problems experienced with difficult landlords.

No Concept of Quiet Enjoyment

These types of landlords cannot distance themselves from their rental property even though they have good tenants. Obsessive behaviour traits include parking outside the property at all hours, driving past several times a week or dropping in unannounced on a pretext. They are unwilling or unable to leave their tenants in reasonable peace, comfort and privacy, which are key aspects of quiet enjoyment, a legal term referred to in the Residential Tenancies Act.

Making Life Difficult for Good Tenants

Equally difficult are the landlords who don’t provide receipts for rental payments, or break an agreed term of the tenancy agreement. The most common example of this is giving permission for the tenant to keep a cat or dog at the premises, and then subsequently objecting once the tenant has moved in. Another example is fencing off part of the yard so the tenant cannot use it, even though they are paying for the use of the whole property.

Self-Managing can be Trouble for Tenants

For anyone looking for a rental property, these stories must seem frightening. To be fair, we must point out that these things are more likely to happen to tenants renting from owners who are self-managing their properties. Many of these owners do not have the full understanding or knowledge of the tenancy laws, or they choose to ignore them.

Use a Property Management Agency and Avoid all the Hassles

The best way to find a good landlord and a rental property that meets your needs is to use a property management agency like ours. The staff members at Bunbury Real Estate are experienced at looking after the interests of both our property owners and prospective tenants. Our rental systems address all the legal requirements, so when you sign a tenancy agreement with us, you can be assured that your rights are protected.

Looking To Share Your Rental? This Could Be Helpful

Accommodation is a major cost that puts pressure on most household budgets, and the most common way of spreading that cost around is to share space in your home with other people. If you are offering to share with a relative or long-term friend, you already know a lot about them, their ability to pay the rent and to be a responsible housemate.

House Sharing with Strangers can be Rewarding

Often though, sharing arrangements involve rental properties and total strangers. The fact that these arrangements usually work out well for everyone is testimony to the inherent goodwill in most people. Lifetime friendships and many romantic relationships are often forged in these circumstances. However, there are other times when things begin well but deteriorate quickly.

Check the Legal Issues First

If you are already renting a property and need some help with the rent, there are a few things to know before you invite someone else to share. You have already signed an agreement that sets out the terms and conditions of the tenancy. If you sublet without first securing the approval of the lessor, you may be in breach of that agreement.

Tenant is Responsible for any Nuisance or Illegal Activity

We cannot give any guarantees here that approval would or would not be given as every case is different. If Bunbury Real Estate was managing the property, we would contact our lessor for approval. If that was given, we would advise our tenants that they are responsible for anyone they allow onto the premises. They must make sure that anyone there does not create a nuisance for neighbours, or use the premises for anything illegal.

Select Housemates Carefully

We would also suggest that they treat the search for a housemate like a job interview. For security, arrange to meet applicants somewhere public like a park or café. Spend some time with the different applicants, as you are assessing if they will fit into your home environment.

Get some background information by asking specific questions. Do they smoke, for example, or play their music loud? Do they have any pets who need to be included, how much space do they need for their possessions; do they cook or entertain friends?

Very Important – Check References for a Positive Sharing Experience

Our most important requirement would be to get references from other tenancies or share houses they have occupied. These documents are easy to fake, so take that next step and make personal contact with the referees. This could prevent all sorts of problems.

What you want is a reliable, easy-going person to help with expenses, not a lazy troublemaker. When the people who share your rental are compatible, you will have no trouble with your property manager, and there will be more money in your pocket at the end of the month.

Looking To Buy An Apartment? Here’s Some Good Advice

Buying property is a major financial commitment, so it is surprising that many people start the search for their ideal home without having made some important decisions beforehand. How it will be financed, the size of the deposit, the location, desired features, whether it will be a free standing property or an apartment are all decisions that should be driving the search process.

What is a Strata Title?

If the choice is made to buy an apartment, buyers unfamiliar with the concept of strata title should seek out knowledge about this type of ownership. The best decisions are informed ones so people looking at just the advantages of group living should also consider any disadvantages, to ensure that they are happy with the final choice.

Know What You Want Before You Start Looking

Apartment living suits many people for a range of reasons, but before rushing off to buy the first one you see, take some advice from our experienced sales people at Bunbury Real Estate. Make a list of the things you absolutely must have in an apartment, the things that would be nice but are not essential, and most important, what you definitely don’t want.

This helps everyone involved to focus on the target and reduces the frustration buyers feel when inexperienced selling agents take them to properties that are never going to be suitable. Having said that, also consider the possibility that the perfect apartment may not be available right where you want to live.

Can you Compromise to Get What You Want?

To prepare yourself for this eventuality there are a couple of strategies to consider. Realise that you may have to compromise. Look through your list of absolute musts to see if there are a couple of things you could live without. At the same time, go through the things you don’t want and imagine what it would be like if you had to live with one of them. It might not be so bad, and could give you the keys to everything else you desire.

Great Apartment – Poor Management. Is this a Problem?

Ask questions about the strata management of the building. This is important but is often overlooked by over-eager buyers. The apartment might look perfect and have everything you want, but if the complex itself is poorly managed, there could be problems maintaining and using the common areas, or financial issues with the Council.

Inspect the common areas as well as the apartment itself, because once you have purchased, you are also a part owner of these. Is the pool clean, are the parking areas marked, does the fencing need attention, have the lawns and gardens been maintained, are the stairwells and lifts clean?

Be Informed and Enjoy the Chase

We can help you find your perfect apartment, but if you are well informed and clear about what you want, you will enjoy the searching process just as much as finally moving in.

What To Do When Tenants Vacate And Leave Their Possessions Behind

Currently in Australia, around 35% of households are rentals. Most of the people in these rentals observe the conditions of their rental agreements, paying their rent on time and treating the properties with respect. Of the small proportion that do not, some simply abandon their rental and their possessions, often leaving no forwarding details.

Breaking the News to the Owners

These actions create a significant problem for the rental agents. First, they have to advise the property owner that the tenant has gone, possibly owing rent. Then they have to explain that, by leaving their possessions behind, the property must remain vacant until due process has taken place.

Fortunately, at our agency, this does not happen often, as our tenant selection process is quite rigorous and includes employment and reference checks. However, after all our years at Bunbury Real Estate we expect the unexpected and have procedures in place to deal with these situations.

In Western Australia, there is a legal process that must be followed to clear the property for the next tenants. The first move is easy, as we are permitted to dispose of perishable foodstuffs within two days. After that, it gets a little more complicated.

State Government Certificates and Official Notices Required

We then assess the estimated value of the remainder to separate them into “goods of little or no value” and “goods of value”. For the former, we apply to the state government for an Abandoned Goods Certificate. This protects us from any claims by the tenants should they return to collect their possessions. We must give the department the details of the tenants and the property, as well as an itemised list and colour photographs. We then wait for official notice that we can dispose of the property.

Agents Required to Safely Store Goods of Value

For goods of value, and important documents, we must immediately arrange to store them in a safe place and manner for at least 60 days. Using the appropriate departmental forms, we must notify the tenant at their last known contact address of our intent concerning their property. We must also advertise this intention in a state wide newspaper. This allows someone with a legal right to the goods to collect them within 60 days.

Auction of Unclaimed Goods Permitted after Due Process

If the goods are not claimed within 60 days, we have the legal right to sell them on auction, and recover any removal, storage and sale costs. We then pay any balance through the Magistrates Court to the Rental Accommodation Fund, discharging our liability. If we are owed back rent or damages from the tenancy, we can make a claim from this deposit.

This process is fair to everyone, including the property owner, who can have the property tenanted again after 60 days. No agent can just seize abandoned property as compensation. This legal process protects everyone involved, and any ongoing disputes are settled in court.

Shared Living – Hell Or Paradise?

A broad percentage of the myriad of people we call tenants are not your average family unit. Mum, dad, kids, pet.

For some, it may be the extended family, which could include one or more grandparents, an aunt, or uncle even.

For some it may be a couple of single mums, or two or three singles sharing a home. This may be for a number of reasons and Bunbury Real Estate enjoy the experience of the many personalities that come through our door sharing their attitudes, beliefs and recipes!

So what is it that drives people to shared living and how can you make the best of it?

Helps out With the Children and Saves Money

It may be that grandparents are living in a shared situation to help their children out with their own children. The simple pleasures of being close can be cherished. Obviously, there is a financial benefit that cannot be overlooked, that is, sharing of a home and its associated expenses.

Trying to Save a Deposit for a House

Some young people have chosen to move back into their family home in an effort to save the money required to put down a deposit on a home of their own.

Singles Sharing the Load

The single life has many freedoms but does not necessarily mean that you want or have to live on your own. The major drawcard to singles sharing together is to improve their living environment. Two or three people sharing a four-bedroom home allows them the space and freedom and saves a whole heap of cash to boot.

Living in a shared house environment can open the doors to many and more experiences, jobs, relationships, bargains, parties. The list goes on and on.

Dealing With the Bumps in the Road

It does not matter how close you are or how much you love each other or even how detached you can make yourself. The fact is that energies of all sorts can run a little high when they all come together.

When you share with anyone it is important to always stay in allowance of them as a person. This is the only way you can be in a position to expect it for yourself.

Without judgement and an understanding of each other’s personality traits, likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses you will all be in a much better position to solve issues and create meaningful procedures and relationships that complement you as a team.

Finding The Perfect Family Home – To Rent

Finding the perfect family home can be a challenge.

Mum is looking for a nice kitchen and somewhere to conduct her favourite hobby whether it be tending the vegetable garden or creating amazing water colours.

Dad is looking for that all important shed, a good ADSL connection and somewhere to play a lazy game of pool on a Sunday afternoon – whilst keeping in mind what mum wants of course!

The children will desire something different again. Swimming pools, open spaces, skate and sport parks, cinemas and shopping all figure large on their list.

When you are looking for the perfect family home in the rental market it requires just a little more finessing.

Sometimes, if you have the time, it can be beneficial for you to consider what is available to you on the market at a particular time and perhaps decide to wait to see what may come up.

There is always something coming up and if you have the time it can pay big dividends.

Living in a Rental Home is Easy and Offers Freedom

Living in a rental home means you will be living with it as you find it. There is no opportunity for you to knock down walls to make rooms bigger and really no chance of any major redecoration, extensions or additions, apart from perhaps receiving a lick of paint or some new curtains.

This does not mean that a good landlord will not consider requests for refurbishment or improvement. Even little things such as adding ceiling fans can make a difference to you and your family’s’ wellbeing without breaking the landlord’s bank, so don’t be scared to ask.

The upside is that you don’t have to worry or even consider carrying out any seriously expensive transformations. Imagine how freeing that feeling is!

This feeling of freedom is not a feeling most property owner’s experience. Most have dreams and want to improve on something somewhere, which will always mean digging into the back pocket.

The fully trained and professional staff members at Bunbury Real Estate understand that renting a family home is a big and very important commitment so we are pleased to take on board feedback and any requests you may have and take them back to the property owner for proper consideration.


Flying Solo – The Advantages of Living Alone

There was once a time when living in a shared house was the normal way to go when you moved out of your home (or separated from a partner) and it certainly is an experience to cross off the bucket list. But anyone who has experienced it will likely have their own stories a la ‘he died with a felafel in his hand’, and there comes a time when you just want to fly solo and make your own stories. Those who have taken that leap into independence can attest to the newfound freedom and enjoyment that can be found in living alone, and having their place all to themselves. At Bunbury Real Estate we’ve heard all the interesting stories of shared housing gone wrong, and we love the opportunity to introduce people to the joys of living alone.

Time Out for Yourself

Let’s face it, people are great. However, sometimes you just want to get away from everything and everyone, and relax into your own space. Having your own place where you can retreat back to, is akin to having your own private cave where you can spend time doing exactly what you want to do, and nobody will say anything about it.

No Negotiating Required

Sharing with other people can be challenging even for the best communicators around, and despite all the best intentions, sometimes personalities can clash. We spend the majority of our daily lives at work, study and play, negotiating with the people around us to achieve a win/win for everyone, as best we can. When you live alone, you know that you can head back to your little island in the world, where you can let it all hang out, and be who you are, without worrying about stepping on anyone’s toes.

You Choose Who Visits

The upside of living with other people is that you get to have impromptu social engagements, but the downside is that you might have to put up with people whom you just don’t want to be around. When living alone you get to choose who comes to visit and when, so you can create your own social engagements according to your own needs at the time.

I Did it My Way

If you are one of those people who like to have things in the house set up exactly how you want them, living alone has a distinct advantage, because everything is done your way. Even down to how the washing up is done! If you decide that you want to move the whole lounge room around every week, nobody is going to say a word. If you decide to stay up all night listening to music, or feel like watching movies in your undies it’s fine by us, if it’s fine by you.

You’ll Feel Empowered

Making choices 100% for one’s self is one of those rites of passage that come to people who are focused on their own path in life. Living alone is one of those choices, and helping you to step onto that path would be our pleasure at Bunbury Real Estate, so contact us to see what we have available, and start enjoying the benefits of living alone.


Apartment Living – A Lifestyle That Suits a Changing Society

As the demographic mix of our Australian society changes, things that older generations took for granted as being a way of life are being challenged. Couples are marrying later in life, or not at all. Women are waiting until their 30s, and later, to start a family, and apartment living as a lifestyle is a conscious choice for many people.

There is no doubt that this style of housing would not suit people who approach maintaining a yard and garden as a hobby. For those who have other interests, however, apartment living, whether renting or buying, has several advantages. At Bunbury Real Estate we receive constant enquiries from owners wanting to rent their apartment, and tenants looking for somewhere to live.

Reduced Rent and Energy Costs

Tenants often comment to us that since they have moved into an apartment, their overall costs are lower than when they were renting a house. Firstly, the smaller floor area of most apartments compared with an average house means that energy costs for heating and cooling are reduced. Secondly, the rent or mortgage repayments for an apartment are usually cheaper than for a free-standing house.

Busy lifestyles don’t leave much time for property maintenance, and for an apartment dweller who is renting, a call to the property manager hands the problem over to someone else. Most apartment complexes have a gardener who looks after the lawns and gardens, and keeps the driveways clean. Tenants can still have indoor plants and vertical gardens for a touch of greenery inside with little maintenance needed.

The Comfort of Secure Premises

The apartments we manage for owners have a range of different security systems. This makes it more difficult for intruders to gain unauthorised access to the premises than to a house. Our tenants like this extra level of personal protection and they report feeling safer because there are other people in close proximity to them in the complex. Often apartments also have secure, off-street parking providing added security for vehicles and the occupants as they enter and exit.

Use of Amenities without the Maintenance

The extra amenities that come with some of our apartments are also a big hit with our tenants. Not only do they have the use of swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, barbeque areas and other amenities, but they don’t have to spend hours maintaining them. This gives them a lifestyle that they would not be able to afford if they were renting a house.

The final advantage that our tenants often talk about is the freedom they experience with apartment living. Rather than being tied down to a mortgage and a particular area, they can move around in response to job opportunities or just because they want a change of scenery. The one thing that doesn’t change is that they ask our property managers at Bunbury Real Estate to search for something suitable when they want to move on.


Get a Pet-Friendly Aparment Rental with Some Extra Effort

Finding the perfect rental property can be quite difficult. Things like proximity to transport, schools, essential services and work, as well as affordability and space in a good area, narrow the field. Add “pet friendly” to this wish list and the number of choices available plummets.

The RSPCA takes in thousands of pets every year with the hope of re-homing them, but unfortunately many are euthanised when new owners cannot be found. A significant proportion of these animals are handed in by distraught pet owners who are forced to make the awful choice between being homeless or giving up their beloved pet.

Many Owners Concerned About Damage to their Properties

As property managers responsible to our owners for the condition of their rental properties, what can we do to close this gap? At Bunbury Real Estate we advise pet owners to put in a little extra effort before they start looking. We also tell them that many owners are concerned that their property could be trashed by tenants who are irresponsible pet owners.

Save Time and Ask About Pets Up Front

To allay those fears, we have a few suggestions. Firstly, save time and anguish by asking first “Do you have any rentals that will allow pets?” This is particularly important if you are looking for an apartment, studio or unit. In the high-density living market, strata company by-laws usually prevent occupants from keeping pets.

There could be exceptions, for example a couple of caged birds, a cat or a small dog may be acceptable but large dogs may not. Asking up-front ensures that nobody is wasting their time applying for a property that will not be suitable.

Speak Directly to the Property Manager

Try to speak directly to a property manager. Asking that first vital question of someone else in the agency, such as the receptionist who does not know the property or the owner, may be a missed opportunity. It could be that a particular owner will accept a pet if the tenant has an excellent history and references.

Where a tenant has already rented somewhere else they should ask for their pets to be mentioned in any references. This will go a long way to convincing an owner and a property manager, that they are responsible tenants who will keep their pets under control.

Pet Bond and References may Convince Strata Companies

Go the extra step and do a pet profile. This should contain information about the pet and its habits, some testimonials from former neighbours and rental agents, photos and of course, current vaccination certificates and local government registrations. Offer to pay a pet bond, to cover any damage that the pet may do to the property. This may even satisfy some apartment owners and prompt submissions to the body corporate on your behalf.

Here at Bunbury Real Estate we do our best to match our owners and tenants so that everyone gets what they want. We never recommend trying to hide the pet as it only ends in tears for everyone.