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September 2013

Growing team for Spring and a special offer Spring brings burgeoning growth to more than the birds and bees and trees - our sales team has expanded by an additional seven experienced agents in the last month! This is exciting for us and also for you because it means that from amongst our twenty plus agents we are likely to have a specialist agent for your area, wherever your property is located! Our unique cooperative system of selling also means that you have the same amount of agents teaming up as a kind of Super Agent to get your property sold. And the growth of our team alone is testament to how effective we are at doing exactly that - so if you are thinking of buying or selling, please let myself or Helen know and we will be delighted to assist you! With the warmer weather upon us it's the perfect time to consider having air

for our owners.

conditioners serviced before the heat hits hard, and to help ensure they're running at peak performance prior to what's shaping up to be a long hot summer. Our air-conditioning servicers are offering a special service offer for the month of September. If you would like to have this done, please let Helen know and we will arrange it. In terms of the rental market for us, it feels tough. Days on the market have pushed out and properties are in some cases, still vacant. I am heartened though as I check the averages across the board and can report the Average days on market for our office is 24.5 (versus 27.9 for Brisbane) and the average days vacant is 10.1 for us as opposed to 17.8 for Brisbane). So I know that the ladies are doing a great job saving an average of a week's rent

In this edition: How long will it take for your property to rent? House Trashed Over Alleged Rental Dispute Get an Agent! When One Size Doesn’t Fit All – How to Make Special Terms in Tenancy Agreements It’s a Landlord’s Market – Vacancy Rates Tightening Across Queensland!

Also, it's great to know that we are putting in good tenants and keeping on top of their rent payments, it should be reassuring for you to know that we have rent arrears of .02 % right now for tenants (over 1 day). Having said that, the trend for broken leases is on the increase and it's important to note that the courts have not been holding all the tenants to their lease obligations, which I personally don’t find reassuring for any of us as landlords, and which puts even more of a premium on us securing you the perfect tenants! Wishing you health, wealth, and happiness Christina

Don’t Get into Hot Water With Your Claims! Blinds and Curtain laws – safety and your rental property A Selection Leased

of

Quote Calendar of Events

Properties

Recently


How long will it take for your property to rent? That of course depends on the time of the year so here are the latest statistics for July.

BRISBANE STATISTICS The Market

Brisbane, QLD

July 2013

Annual Change

Median Weekly Rent - House

$400

2.6% increase

Median Weekly Rent - Unit/ Apartment

$380

2.7% increase

Days on Market (Avg)

27.9

3.4 decrease

Days Vacant (Avg)

17.8

3.7 decrease

Source: rentfind.com.au

The Laverton home was left in a state of disarray with broken furniture and debris scattered across the lawn of the house, a couch on the roof, and an ironing board hanging from a tree.

House Trashed Over Alleged Rental Dispute Get an Agent! The recent vandalism of a family home in west Melbourne has exposed the dangers of landlords self-managing their properties, according to an award-winning property manager.

The investment property had been self-managed by a landlord who had spent $25,000 renovating it last year. He told Ten News he had been shocked by what he saw.

Director of Mitchell Property Management Hayley Mitchell told Residential Property Manager the incident was a good reminder that owners should use professional agents, rather than trying to do it themselves. She explained preventing situations like the case in Laverton came down to the way properties were set up at the beginning.

“It’s malicious, it’s devastating,” he told Ten News. “I’m very scared. I don’t want to go there alone."

www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com FREE Information Guide For Landlords & Tenants


“We did not trash the place,” he said. “That was done by I don’t know. We were there on Thursday, we put all the rubbish on the front nature strip and then I left because we were told to leave by the landlord.

“If the owner has managed it themselves, how good is their documentation? How good is their conditional report? Have they got insurance on the property, because a lot of insurance companies won’t insure if they are self-managed?" she said. “If we are in a situation where we end up with a tenant like that, we’ve got the documentation to fight it right to the end to get that money back for the landlord, whereas in this case, the landlord is in a position where they’re probably going to have a big loss.” According to media reports, friends of the tenants had moved in over the weekend and had trashed the property in a revenge attack. Police were currently investigating an allegation of criminal damage. In an interview with Neil Mitchell on 3AW, one of the tenants, ‘Nick’, phoned in to say that his housemates were not the culprits.

“The owner gave us a week to clean up the place and then he came back with the police on the Friday and he told us to leave. By 9pm that night he didn’t give us no keys and no nothing and we left.” The tenant said he had been evicted for being a couple of months behind in paying his rent, but refuted allegations that friends of the tenants were behind the act. Source : Residential Property Manager (8 August 2013)

must follow the rules set out in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. Special terms may cover issues such as pets, carpet cleaning, pest control, water charging, or pool maintenance and how they apply to the tenancy. They must not contradict a standard term or be unreasonable. For example, a special term cannot state that a tenant is responsible for repairs under $50, or that the tenant agrees to pay 6 weeks bond where rent is less than $700 per week. A special term in a tenancy agreement cannot state that the bond paid by the tenant will be held by the lessor and not lodged with the RTA. This is called contracting outside the Act and is an offence. Special terms cannot require tenants to purchase a particular service

When One Size Doesn’t Fit All – How to Make Special Terms in Tenancy

For example, a special term may state that the tenant is required to clean a pool on a regular basis, but the tenant does not have to

Agreements In Queensland, lessors or agents can include special terms in general tenancy agreements in addition to the required standard terms, but any special terms

www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com FREE Information Guide For Landlords & Tenants


agree to pay a pool cleaning company. Lessors/agents must give a prospective tenant a copy of the General tenancy agreement (Form 18a)including any special terms before the tenant commits to the property – that is, before they pay any money or sign the agreement.

at the same point in 2012. “While lower vacancy rates means competition for rental properties is greater, it is also attracting more investors, which is good news for our property market.”

It’s a Landlord’s Market – Vacancy Rates Tightening Across Queensland! in a to of

REIQ analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data found that the estimated property investor activity in Queensland was up 14.9 per cent to 5,121 dwellings financed in May this year.

fail to return a signed copy of the agreement to the tenant within 14 days of receiving a signed copy from the tenant.

The REIQ June Residential Rental Vacancy Rate Survey has found vacancy rates have been tighter in June than in the same period last year.

The number of investors was also up by nearly 20 per cent compared to the month before, with the numbers of dwellings financed above the 10-year monthly average of 4,887.

The tenant must sign the agreement and return it to the lessor/ agent within 5 days.

Across south east Queensland, vacancy rates remained under three per cent and in most cases were tightening even further.

Under Queensland tenancy laws, it is an offence for the lessor/ agent to: •

fail to provide a copy of the proposed agreement to a prospective tenant

The lessor/agent must cover the cost of preparing the tenancy agreement. Source : www.rta.qld.gov.au (5 June 2013)

Supply of rental properties Queensland is not meeting growing demand, according the latest Real Estate Institute Queensland (REIQ) data.

“With the exception of Brisbane, which remains at 2.1 per cent – a level that is indicative of more demand than supply – vacancy rates are trending lower in all other major regions of the south east,” REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said.

“When you also consider the underlying dollar value of loans to Queensland investors captured by the ABS, it clearly shows that investment activity is at its highest level since June 2009,” Mr Kardash said. Last year, the Gold Coast’s rental market was in oversupply territory at four per cent, but according to an REIQ rental survey its vacancy rate in June had fallen to 2.6 per cent.

“In fact, our data shows that the Cairns, Bundaberg and Fraser Coast regions all recorded vacancy rates below three per cent and rates which were lower than

www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com FREE Information Guide For Landlords & Tenants


ba posted the lowest vacancy rate of any major region, at 1.8 per cent. Source : Residential Property Manager (5 August 2013)

Similarly, the Sunshine Coast had experienced a reduction in vacancy rate from 3.3 per cent in June last year to two per cent this year. Following the floods in Bundaberg earlier this year, the vacancy rate in that region had returned to more normal levels in June, as demand reduced. At the other end of the spectrum, however, Queensland’s mining regions continued to be impacted by lower rental demand, which was influencing vacancy rates in these areas. Gladstone and Mackay’s vacancy rates continued to show signs of oversupply at 4.6 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively in June. However, Rockhampton and Townsville both recorded an increase in vacancy rates, partially due to the downturn in the mining sector. Rockhampton posted a vacancy rate of 3.4 per cent, up from 2.7 per cent, while Townsville recorded 4.5 per cent, up from 3.3 per cent in May. Together with Cairns, Toowoom-

A deduction for expenses incurred because of repairs or maintenance on an investment property can be claimed completely within the current financial year. Capital improvements

Don’t Get into Hot Water With Your Claims! Repairs and maintenance or capital improvements? Concerns about the cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance for an owner’s investment property can be reduced by claiming back these costs when an investor is completing their tax return. Before an investor can start to tally deductions, it is necessary to understand the difference between claiming repairs, maintenance and capital improvements. Repairs & maintenance Work completed to fix damage or deterioration of a property is defined as repairs, e.g. fixing part of a damaged fence. Work completed to prevent deterioration to a property is defined as maintenance, e.g. servicing an air conditioner.

Improving the condition or value of an item beyond its original state at the time of purchase is defined as capital improvements. Capital improvements must be depreciated or claimed as capital works deductions over time. Capital improvements are classified as either capital works deductions or plant and equipment. Capital works deductions include structural additions and renovations such as adding and extending an internal wall and also includes items fixed to the property which cannot easily be removed. Plant and equipment items include removable or mechanical items such as carpet, hot water systems and stoves. To determine how expenses on an investment property should be claimed, an investor can consider the following questions: Has the property or item been improved beyond its original condition at the time of pur-

www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com FREE Information Guide For Landlords & Tenants


MRICS) is the Managing Director of BMT Tax Depreciation. Please contact 1300 728 726 or visit www.bmtqs.com.au for an Australia wide service.

Source www.smh.com.au 23rd August 2013

Blinds and Curtain laws – safety and your rental

Was the asset partially replaced, or replaced entirely?

property

Partially replacing an item due to damage or wear and tear is classified as repairs and maintenance. If an owner decides to replace the entire item to improve the property’s value, it will be considered a capital improvement.

Tragically, a toddler died on the August 23rd about being entangled in cord from vertical blinds and choked as reported below.

A BMT Tax Depreciation Schedule will only include items classified as capital improvements. Repairs and maintenance can be separately claimed as a 100% deduction with an accountant when an investor is completing their tax return. BMT can answer questions about alterations, additions, repairs or improvements and the implications they may have on depreciation. Article Provided by BMT Tax Depreciation. Bradley Beer (B. Con. Mgt, AAIQS,

A crime scene was established as forensic police worked to gather evidence for a report to the coroner. Early indications are that the boy had become entangled in cords from vertical blinds and choked

chase? If an item provides something new or changes the character of the original item in any way, it will be considered a capital improvement.

pronounced dead at the hospital.

Toddler strangled by cords from blinds A toddler has died after apparently being strangled by cords from blinds next to his cot. Port Stephens detectives are investigating the horrific death of the 19month-old boy inside his family's Mallubula home on Thursday afternoon. Emergency services went to the Essendene Garden home about 2.30pm after the boy's mother raised the alarm.

New Blinds and other internal window coverings with cords must comply with national laws. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) introduced the regulation following concerns that looped cords posed a child strangulation risk. Lessors, agents and suppliers must comply with the new mandatory standard when supplying new window coverings in rental properties. While it is not essential to replace all existing blinds, there are simple ways of minimising risks posed by older blinds before they are replaced. The Office of Fair Trading recom-

The Hunter Westpac rescue helicopter was called and flew the critically injured boy and his mother to John Hunter Children's Hospital. Paramedics continued to work on the boy during the flight but he was

www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com FREE Information Guide For Landlords & Tenants


• register to receive automatic email updates from the Product Safety Australia website Further information is available on the ACCC website – www.accc.gov.au mends adding safety tassels to cords or adding a hook high on a window frame to hook up the cord. The bottom of any blind or curtain cord should be at least 160cm above the floor. Lessors have a duty of care to tenants as well as anyone the tenant invites into the property, and must ensure the property is safe to live in. Suppliers of internal window coverings must meet all the requirements for design, construction and the marking of corded internal window coverings such as warning labels on cords and retail packaging. The internal window covering must also include installation instructions and any necessary safety components required for installation. To comply with the standards, the ACCC advises that suppliers: • read the ACCC’s regulations • have checked to ensure products comply with the standard

The above information is from the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) www.rta.gov.au Although the standard is intended to ensure all new window coverings are safe, there are many unsafe blinds, curtains and shades still in Queensland homes. Since 2000, at least 10 Australian children have died from blind or curtain cord strangulation. A child can place their head in the loop created by a blind or curtain cord. If the child then tries to sit or falls down, they can hang themselves in the loop. Follow these seven easy steps for blind and curtain cord safety to make sure your home is safe. 1. Make sure children cannot reach any blind or curtain cords. 2. Make sure the bottom of any blind or curtain cord is at least 160 cm above the floor.

3. Move children´s cots, beds, high chairs or play-pens are away from windows with blind or curtain 4. Make sure you child cannot climb on furniture and reach the blind or curtain cord. 5. Wrap blind cords securely around a hook attached high on the wall. 6. Install a cord tensioning device for vertical blinds. 7. When installing new blinds, seek advice from the supplier about products that use ´wands´ instead of cords to operate the blinds. The above information has been sourced from www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au

Our agency encourages our lessors to have safety checks carried out at their property to ensure the property is safe and fit to live in. Please email your property manager to advise if you wish for the safety checks to be carried out.

www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com FREE Information Guide For Landlords & Tenants


A Selection of Properties Recently Leased

Quote “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else� Wilston Unit

$310p.w.

-- Winston Churchill

2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car accommodation

Calendar of Events

St Lucia Apartment

$395 p.w.

2 bed, 1 bath, 1 car accommodation

16 September Mid Month Accounting

Ascot Townhouse

1 October End of Month Accounting

$535 p.w.

3 bed, 2 bath, 1 car accommodation

RE/MAX Profile Real Estate www.profilerealestate.com.au www.propertyrentalsbrisbane.com

141 Boundary Road Bardon QLD 4065 PO Box 388, Paddington, 4064

TEL 07 3510 5221 TEL 07 3510 5227

FAX 07 3876 5544 Helen helenbryan@remax.com.au Chelsea profileassist@remax.com.au

Errors & Omissions: These details have been prepared by us on information we have obtained and while we trust it to be correct, is not guaranteed by us and you should rely on your own enquiries.


Landlords' Newsletter September 2013