While most landlords are aware of their duty to maintain their rental property and uphold their side of the tenancy agreement, it may come as a surprise that some responsibilities begin before entering the agreement – and as early as starting to look for a new tenant.
Such is the result of two recent changes to residential tenancies under NSW Fair Trading; (1) advertising guidelines, and (2) landlord information statements, both of which have been introduced to protect landlords and tenants before and during a lease.
But if you’re a landlord wondering why you would have obligations before you find or sign a tenant, there’s good reason for it – to ensure that you have a firm grasp of what you’re entering into, as well as to authorise how your agent represents your property prior to it being listed on the market.
And with these reforms now more important than ever for landlords to understand, if you’re making the decision to lease out your property, we’ve summarised these two changes with everything you need to consider below.
1. Approval of advertising
Under the new residential tenancy laws, landlords are required to review and sign off on all photos and descriptions to advertise their property before it is listed by the agent.
Although the need to have an approval process for your property’s advertisement may not seem obvious, if you’ve ever encountered a misleading property ad – with over-the-top photoshop editing, or an over-exaggeration of the property features – then you can probably appreciate the reasons for this reform.
At Prudential Real Estate, our system for approving all photos and descriptions attached to a rental property is both straightforward for landlords to sign off on and aligned with current NSW Fair Trading guidelines. These guidelines require that all print and online advertisements accurately represent the property with:
- All photos showing the property’s current condition, and/or are accompanied by disclaimers if required
- All descriptions being accurate, not false or misleading – such as text that states the property is ‘opposite’ a park, when in fact this can’t be seen from the property.
2. Landlord information statements
Whether you’re a new landlord or have been one for some time, at some point you will have to sign and acknowledge what is known as a landlord information statement. For new landlords, this must be signed prior to advertising your property, and is sent via email at Prudential Real Estate to be approved electronically.
All landlords are required to acknowledge that they’ve read and understood the document, which sets out the conditions of the lease including:
- Your general responsibilities as a landlord before renting your property
- The condition of your property
- What you (or your agent) must tell and provide to your tenant
- What terms are required by the tenancy agreement
- Smoke alarms, repairs and water usage
- Information about payment limits, rental bonds, payment records, property access and more.
When it comes to leasing out and managing your property, it can be tricky to be across all of your rights and responsibilities. The recent reforms for advertising approval and landlord information statements aim to clarify and increase certainty about the lease for both landlords and tenants, as well as to improve the experience of tenants while ensuring that landlords can effectively maintain their property.
If you have any questions about your lease or the changes to residential tenancy laws, your property manager is only a phone call away – alternatively, get in touch with your local Prudential Real Estate office below!
Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 | email@example.com
Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields | (02) 9605 5333 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 | email@example.com
Helpful Fair Trading NSW links:
Advertising standards and the law: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/buying-products-and-services/advertising-and-pricing/advertising-standards-and-the-law
Real estate agent advertisements: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/trades-and-businesses/business-essentials/advertising-and-marketing-your-business/real-estate-agent-advertisements
Landlord Information Statements: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/608383/Landlord-information-statement.pdf