There is a lot to consider when you first take the step to rent out a property you own. Whether you are looking to move out of the family home and offer it for rent, or whether you have purchased your first investment property specifically to find a great tenant – there is a lot to be done before it hits the market.

A conversation with an experienced rental property manager is, of course, a very good place to start. Additionally, the following points will provide a broad overview of what will need to be done and/or prepared in advance of finding a tenant for your home.

1. Legal requirements before renting your property

  • Pool and spa safety – if your property includes a pool or spa, you must ensure it complies with council regulations. A handy pool inspection self-assessment checklist can be found on the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register site, while additional information on compliance can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website
  • Smoke alarms – must be installed correctly and tested regularly in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act. Batteries must also be changed at the commencement of each tenancy. Properties managed with Carnelian Property Management are routinely maintained by specialist smoke alarm service technicians with all records stored securely as evidence of ongoing compliance
  • Electrical safety – an RCD/safety switch must be installed to comply with Australian Standards of electrical safety in the home
  • Water efficiency – in order to pass on water usage charges to a tenant, you must ensure your property meets water efficiency standards. These include ensuring there are no leaking taps and that internal cold water taps, single mixer taps, and showerheads have a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute
  • Security and windows – landlords must provide and maintain locks or security devices to ensure that the premises are secure. Child safety window locks may also be required to ensure compliance, while all strata buildings must be fitted with window safety devices as of March 18, 2018. View further information from NSW Fair Trading regarding window and balcony safety
  • Blinds and curtains – there are mandatory blind and curtain cord requirements to ensure babies and young children are safe in a rental property. You must ensure compliance with these requirements before your property is rented to a tenant

2. Consider what to leave behind at a rental property

When preparing your home for cleaning, give special thought to anything you may leave behind. We’ve had landlords move interstate and internationally, and wish to leave behind items such as fridges, furniture and gardening equipment. This is fine, as long as it is clearly communicated to prospective tenants that these are inclusions and not burdens, and the items are in perfect working order. Such inclusions may add rental value and desirability.

Be careful however to not leave things behind simply because you don’t want to take them with you or deal with their disposal. For example, hardware such wood planks, old storage containers, or undesired furniture can devalue a property and be a turn-off for prospective tenants.

3. Service fixtures such as air conditioning

Before renting the property out, you should service fixtures such as air conditioning. This not only ensures that the air conditioning unit is clean and working as it should for your new tenants, it gives you peace of mind of the full working condition you are leaving the property in.

4. Cleaning to prepare a rental property for lease

As a landlord, ensuring your home is in top-top condition at the start of the rental period will help ensure this is the state the property is returned in. A beautifully prepared and presented home will also often achieve higher rental return and a greater number of high-quality applicants.

To assist, we have prepared a very detailed rental property cleaning checklist which can be downloaded as a PDF and used in the preparation of your home for rent.

5. Pest inspection and treatment of the rental property

It is strongly recommended that you complete a pest inspection and treatment of your home before it is rented to tenants. Again, this provides you peace of mind that you’re handing the keys over with the property in tip-top condition, and providing your new tenants with a comfortable start to their tenancy.

Contact us if you would like a recommendation of a professional pre-rental cleaning service in the Newcastle area.

6. Get your depreciation report done before tenants move in

A depreciation report should be completed before the tenants move in, as access is much easier to arrange before the property is occupied. This report is, of course, vital to assisting in minimising your tax obligations.

7. Arranging landlord insurance

We strongly recommend that all landlords put in place a landlord insurance policy in addition to more standard building and contents insurance policies. We have covered the reasons for this separately in our article “Do I need landlord insurance for my rental property?”.

Landlord insurance typically covers you for claims related to loss of rental income (e.g. due to a tenant defaulting or absconding), malicious or accidental damage, water damage, death of a tenant, and storm damage, among other events. In what can be a hectic time finalising a property for rent, this critical insurance can sometimes be overlooked.  

For help navigating all there is to think about when preparing your property for the rental market, contact an expert. We have these conversations with landlords every day – so remember, what may seem overwhelming to you is what we help with every day of the week!

Carnelian Property Management is a family-owned business offering expert rental property management across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Their highly accessible and personal approach has delighted Newcastle and Lake Macquarie property investors since 2011.