4 Ways to Become a Smart Out-of-Town Landlord

landlord outside investment property

Whether you live in Australia or overseas, owning an investment property comes with a lot of responsibility you can’t shy away from –and it isn’t just about collecting rent. When you don’t live in close proximity to your investment property, it can be especially difficult to live up to your responsibilities as a landlord. These obligations don’t have to be a burden if you follow these tips for becoming a smart out-of-town landlord.

Get Yourself a Good Property Manager or Real Estate Agent

Just because you’re not in town doesn’t mean that your landlord responsibilities magically disappear. Hire a good property manager or real estate agent to handle all the responsibilities of your investment property on your behalf. An agent should do everything from identifying tenants and collecting rent to managing repairs and handling contracts. Your agent should have proper screening systems for identifying credit worthiness and criminal histories of tenants in your absence. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as possible, so you’re comfortable with the agent. After all, the agent will be handling your precious real estate property for you.

Establish a Seamless Way for the Tenant to Pay Rent

Since you’re living away from your property, you need to establish a seamless way to receive your rent on time. If you have hired agents, they will handle the rent collection for you. If you’ve decided to set up a direct rental bank deposit, be sure to give all your bank account details, so that the rent can be transferred to your account seamlessly every month. Even if you’re not in town, make sure you provide your contact information to the tenant and get your tenant’s contact details too, so you can communicate mutual rent payment concerns if any.

Know Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Just because you don’t live in the same town as your property doesn’t mean that you can feign ignorance at local laws. As a responsible landlord, make sure that you are familiar with your landlord responsibilities and rights governed by Australian law. Your relationship with your tenant falls under the Residential Tenancies Act in every Australian state. More details regarding the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act in NSW is available on the NSW legislation website.

Document all Communication

Whether you decide to hire a real estate agent or not, you must ensure that all forms of communication are well documented to avoid any confusion during settlement periods ­- this doesn’t just involve your lease agreement. you have expectations of your property, be sure to communicate this to your tenant and agent in writing. Any complaint and repair job requested by the tenant should be documented to protect your own interests. This way your tenant can’t complain that you’re a negligent landlord. Written communication is especially handy if you need to settle any unexpected tenancy disputes in court. Of course, the overall idea of documenting all communication is to prevent any disputes at all.

Follow these landlord rules to stay smart and ahead of the game –even when you’re out of town.

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