by Damian Collins – REIWA President https://reiwa.com.au/
While the majority of tenancies are successful, there remains a portion that results in either the tenant or landlord moving to terminate the agreement prior to the end of the lease.
By far the most common cause of a breakdown in a rental agreement is financial hardship. This is a big problem, as the loss of job or a change in a relationship status can leave people in a worse financial situation than they were when they agreed to the terms of the lease.
On the other hand, landlords are also facing their own financial pressures, including tighter lending criteria, a shift from interest only loans to principal and interest, a reduction in rents over the last few years and loss of equity. With both situations at play, this can often result in significant financial hardship and housing insecurity on both sides.
The next is excessive property damage – this is something that happens less often, but it is very difficult to mitigate the risks. Ultimately, the onus is on the tenant to keep the property to the agreed standard, to avoid a breakdown in the rental agreement and the loss of bond.
So how do we best mitigate the risks involved in a tenancy? The first thing is clear communication between the tenant and the property manager. If you are a tenant experiencing issues, make sure you let the property manager know as soon as possible. They may be able to work with you on behalf of the owner to resolve the issue. If the tenant ignores the issue then the property manager will be left with no choice but to terminate the tenancy.
You may also wish to contact the REIWA Information Service. REIWA receives thousands of calls a year to the REIWA Information Service from both property owners and tenants seeking advice.
It is evident that there is a huge lack of knowledge and understanding of the Residential Tenancy Act, and therefore the rights and responsibilities of each party, which is when these breakdowns occur.
Not every tenancy will be smooth sailing, ultimately knowledge is power. The better you know your rights and obligations and those of the other party, the more likely a tenancy is to be a success.
Hiring an experienced property manager with the skills and knowledge to deal with any situation that arises is the best way to safeguard against the early termination of a lease. When it comes to property managers, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
A REIWA property manager can provide valuable insight, having been through each situation many times before, and can guide and assist both parties to ensure a positive outcome for all involved.