What makes property managers say no to a potential tenant

Posted by Henry | R/E AGENTS,RENTING,TENANTS | Tuesday 12 April 2016 9:10 am

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  • Not all tenants are equal in the eyes of the landlord & agent.

In competitive rental markets, property managers need to quickly whittle down a pile of applications into the best possible tenants for their landlords.

It’s not an exact science, but there are several hallmarks of “bad tenants” they’ll use to weed out the weakest applications and to make their final decisions.

Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parella warned of tenants who try to keep a distance from their landlord and who avoid leaving a paper trail.

“New, potential drug manufacturing tenants may be willing to pay rent months in advance and be happy to pay cash,” Ms Parella said.

She also warned of tenants who “try to avoid background checks”. This could include providing false references or not wanting to provide contact details.

When contacting a referee there are specific questions landlords and property managers should ask to determine whether an applicant is worth considering.

“Speak with previous landlords or property managers and ask whether they have had any issues with the tenants being reviewed, including late or missed rental payments and incidences of malicious or accidental damage,” Ms Parella said.

She said property managers should research the national tenancy databases to double check their rental history, undertake a public record check for bankruptcies and other details, and verify their identity.

But a negative mark on a tenancy database doesn’t necessarily mean a renter is going to be bad, Tenants Union of NSW policy officer Ned Cutcher said.

“The question of whether or not they’re a bad tenant warrants further exploration,” Mr Cutcher said.

“It puts them in a vulnerable position and to put a line through them without an opportunity to talk through what went on is symptomatic of our housing system.”

How a tenant acts at an open home can also be a deal breaker for some landlords. But while considering how polite an individual is, and how well-dressed they are, is “reasonable to a point” it isn’t always indicative of a good tenant, he said.

“In many cases you’re lining up with other hopefuls, it’s not quite what you are after and you’re expected to put on a cheshire cat grin. It’s a bit shallow but that’s the way decisions are being made about how you’re going to be housed,” he said.

“The best applicant might be the one that doesn’t immediately leap out at you,” he said.

It’s often not just one single warning sign but a combination of red flags that should be cause for concern. But in a competitive market it could be a single black mark that results in a potential tenant being unsuccessful in their application.

Unfortunately for most tenants, if you don’t get the rental “there’s no obligation for the landlord to provide a reason … most tenants wouldn’t hear back,” Mr Cutcher said.

Buyer’s agents and property management company Right Property Group director Victor Kumar said without a rental history they’d be willing to “give [a tenant] a break if everything else checks out”.

“I find that most times these tenants are grateful and will stay long term,” Mr Kumar said.

They also research the tenant’s workplace online, check on the ASIC register and ABN search where necessary to ensure the applicant is being truthful.

Asking for a month or two worth of bank statements can “tell a story too” about a tenant’s financial habits, Mr Kumar said, as can looking them up on social media.

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Henry Sapiecha

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The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions

Posted by Henry | COUNTRIES,HOMELESS PEOPLE,RENTING | Saturday 18 April 2015 8:41 am

One American social researcher came up with a radical way to help street people.

Give homes to the homeless.

man in a wheelchair makes his way to the homeless shelter in Salt Lake City as a major storm blows into Utah image www.australianmortgageloans.com

A man in a wheelchair makes his way to the homeless shelter in Salt Lake City as a major storm blows into Utah. Photo: AP

The story of how Utah solved chronic homelessness begins in 2003, inside a cavernous Las Vegas banquet hall populated by droves of suits. The problem at hand was seemingly intractable.

The number of chronic homeless had surged since the early 1970s. And related costs were soaring. A University of Pennsylvania study had just showed New York City was dropping a staggering $US40,500 ($52,000) in annual costs on every homeless person with mental problems, who account for many of the chronically homeless. So that day, as officials spitballed ideas, a social researcher named Sam Tsemberis stood to deliver what he framed as a surprisingly simple, cost-effective method of ending chronic homelessness.

Give homes to the homeless.

Mr Tsemberis’ researchshowed this wouldn’t just dramatically cut the number of chronically homeless on the streets. It would also slash spending in the long run. In the audience sat a Utah businessman named Lloyd Pendleton. He had just taken over the Utah Housing Taskforce after a successful run in business. He was intrigued. “He came over to me and he said, ‘I finally just heard something that make sense to me’,” Mr Tsemberis recalled in an interview. “‘Would you be willing to come to Utah and work with us?'”

That conversation spawned what has been perhaps the United States’ most successful – and radical – program to end chronic homelessness.

Now, more than a decade later, chronic homelessness in one of the nation’s most conservative states may soon end. And all of it is thanks to a program that at first seems stripped from the left-wing socialist manual. In 2005, Utah had nearly 1932 chronically homeless. By 2014, that number had dropped 72 per cent to 539. Today, explained Gordon Walker, the director of the state Housing and Community Development Division, the state is “approaching a functional zero”.

For years, the thought of simply giving the homeless homes seemed absurd, constituting the height of government waste. Many chronically homeless, after all, are victims of severe trauma and significant mental health and addiction issues. Many more have spent thousands of nights on the streets and are no longer familiar with living in a home. Who, in their right mind, would willingly give such folk brand-new houses without any proof of marked improvement?

But that’s exactly what Utah did.

First the state identified the homeless that experts would consider chronically homeless. That designation means they have a disabling condition and have been homeless for longer than a year, or four different times in the last three years. Among the many subgroups of the homeless community – such as homeless families or homeless children – the chronically homeless are both the most difficult to reabsorb into society and use the most public resources.

So in 2004, as part of a trial, the state housed 17 people throughout Salt Lake City. Then they checked back a year later. Fourteen were still in their homes. Three were dead. The success rate had topped 80 per cent, which to Mr Walker “sounded pretty good”.

It’s now years later. And these days, Mr Walker says, the state saves $US8000 ($10,271) per homeless person in annual expenses.

And now, the chronic homeless are no longer tallied in numbers. They’re tallied by name. The last few are awaiting their houses.

The Washington Post

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Henry Sapiecha

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IF YOU ARE RENTING WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?

Posted by Henry | BORROWING LENDING,RENTING | Saturday 20 December 2014 11:59 am

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By keeping up to date with your renters’ rights you will receive the services you are entitled to, avoid unnecessary costs and live securely in your happy home!

Rental repairs and maintenance

By law your rental property must be maintained in a decent living condition. This includes urgent and non-urgent repairs by your landlord. The level of maintenance will be determined by the age of the property and the amount of rent you are paying. It is your responsibility for general upkeep such as cleaning, dusting, replacing light bulbs and mowing the lawns.

Urgent repairs include: burst water pipes; gas leaks; blocked toilets; serious electrical faults; failure in essential services like water supply, hot water, cooking equipment and heating; fire or flooding damage; or any event that makes the premises unsafe or insecure.

In the event that an urgent repair is required contact your landlord or property manager through your agreed mode of communication. This may be in writing, electronically or by phone and will be outlined in your lease agreement. If the emergency repair has not been addressed or the landlord is out of reach, in most states and territories you can organise the repairs yourself up to a specified amount ($1,000 in NSW, $1,800 in Vic, two weeks rent in Qld, and five per cent of the property’s yearly rent in the ACT) and using the recommended repairer if there is one nominated on your lease agreement.

When it comes to urgent and non-urgent repairs or damage you have caused to the property, it is important to notify the landlord as soon as possible. Check the legislation in your state or territory. This will specify the time frame in which urgent and non-urgent repairs must be conducted, your options if they have not been addressed and your obligations if you have caused damage to the property.

Adhering to health and safety regulations (including supplying smoke alarms and having appropriate locks on doors and windows) is non-negotiable for all rental properties and is an essential renters’ right. Contact your local tenancy resource if a landlord or property manager is refusing to address pressing repairs or important health or safety issues. Do not stop paying your rent during a tenancy dispute as this could lead to eviction. It is generally best to seek rental compensation through the tenancy mediation process.

Your privacy rights and landlord access

The landlord or property manager cannot access your rental home without giving you prior notification. The amount of notification and how it is communicated will depend on the reason for the visit and the state or territory in which you reside, as outlined below:

  • Undertaking general repairs and maintenance requires 24 hours notice in Vic, Tas, Qld and NT; 48 hours in NSW; 72 hours in WA; and seven days in SA. In the ACT a lessor must make a “suitable time with the tenant”.
  • Conducting a routine inspection requires 24 hours in Vic and Tas; and seven days in ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA and WA. All regions place a limit on how many general inspections can be conducted within a year.
  • Showing prospective new tenants the property if you are moving out requires ‘reasonable notice’ in NSW and WA; 24 hours in ACT, NT, Vic and Qld); 48 hours in TAS; and seven days in SA. Generally, these are limited to the final weeks of the lease.
  • No notice is required for an emergency.

Check your local tenancy legislation for the restrictions outlining access to your property and keep in mind it is normally restricted to within regular business hours.

What changes can I make to a rental property?

Any changes, alterations or renovations you would like to make to the rental property must be agreed to by your landlord and it is best to make the request and get approval in writing. This may include installing pay television or air conditioning, painting walls or adding permanent fixtures. Your landlord is not obligated to contribute to the costs but may offer compensation if you negotiate. Using qualified tradespeople is likely to assist in the approval process. You may be required to return the rental property to its original condition at the end of your lease depending on the agreement stated. Before you invest time and money in your rental home consider decorating ideas that don’t require permanent or structural changes and check your lease agreement for permissible alterations or updates.

Your rights when rent is increased or a decrease is warranted

There is legislation that regulates rental price increases, and while the states and territories may differ in the details, there are a number of universal rules. Firstly, your rent cannot be increased within a fixed-term lease period unless it is specified in the lease agreement you signed. If an increase is specified at a future date, it must outline the exact dollar amount or percentage increase.

If the fixed-term period has come to an end and you have moved on to a periodic lease, or an increase has been specified in the lease terms, you must be given written notice of the rental increase outlining the amount and proposed date payable.

Most states specify a minimum 60 days notice on any rental increase, though in some parts of Australia (e.g. Northern Territory) it is less. A number of states, including Victoria and Queensland, only permit one rental increase within a six-month period. In the ACT it is restricted to once a year and is not permissible in the first year. Check your local legislation. If you believe a rental increase is too high and negotiations with your landlord are unsuccessful, or your landlord is trying to up the price in return for maintenance and repairs – which is illegal – contact your local fair trading or consumer affairs department.

There are circumstances when a rental reduction is warranted, such as a decrease in the quality of living conditions in your home or disruption to utility services. Discuss the issue with your landlord and if an agreement cannot be negotiated it is wise to contact your local tenancy service.

Behind in rent: what can I do?

Life can take unexpected turns which may result in you not being able to pay the rent. Though this is a scary proposition, there are options out there to help you, from talking honestly with your landlord or property manager about your circumstances and organising a repayment plan, to obtaining rental assistance from Centrelink. Your local tenant advocacy service may also be able to help you.

It may be necessary to break the lease if your financial issues are likely to continue. If your rent is in arrears (overdue) after a specified number of days the landlord can issue you with a vacation notice, which also specifies the period in which you must vacate the premises (this varies between the states and territories).

Renters’ rights if the property is sold

If you are in a fixed-term lease you cannot be asked to vacate the rental property in the event it is sold. The new owner will become your new landlord. If you are in a periodic lease and the property has been sold, the existing owner can issue you with a vacation notice. The length of the vacation notice will depend on your location in NSW and Qld it is 30 days, in Tas it is 42 days, ACT is it 8 weeks, while in Vic, SA and WA it is 60 days.

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Henry Sapiecha

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