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Please find below some frequently asked questions

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Yes. The City of Albany will issue each local resident with an invoice for their annual rates each year and owners are required to pay this expense directly to the City of Albany. Strata levies will never include rates charged out by local authorities such as the City of Albany or the Water Corporation.

Some strata companies, through a resolution made at a duly convened meeting of the owners, do insure the buildings within strata lots through a policy held and paid for by the strata company. As this is not a requirement under the Act for single tier schemes, not all strata schemes will insure the buildings through a policy held by the strata company so lot owners need to verify their responsibility with the strata company and/or strata manager.

Individual lot owners of survey strata schemes are required to insure their buildings (and contents) through a policy that they must personally initiate and maintain.

The by laws of the strata scheme determine whether residents can keep pets at a strata property. Generally speaking (unless by laws state to the contrary), owners are able to keep a pet at their property, however they must remove the pet if asked to do so by the strata company. Some strata companies have specific by laws about pets so anyone concerned should check with the by laws that apply to the particular strata company concerned.

The strata plan specifies who is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the buildings (units) and improvements outside the main buildings. A skilled strata manager can assist individual owners to interpret this responsibility from the strata plan.

Strata Managers are employed by the strata companies to assist the owners in performing the duties and responsibilities of the strata company, in accordance with the Strata Titles Act. The key duties of a strata company include:

  • Repairing and maintaining the common property;
  • Controlling and manage the common property for the benefit of all owners;
  • Enforcing the by laws.

When a strata company appoints a strata manager, they should obtain a written agreement, signed by both parties, that clearly outlines what services the strata manager is to provide and at what cost.

When a strata plan is first registered with Landgate there are certain ‘rules’, known as by laws, that take effect immediately and apply to all owners in the strata scheme. Sometimes developers also lodge a Management Statement, which is a set of additional by laws relevant to the particular scheme, upon registration of the strata plan. Owners in the strata scheme may, from time to time, through a correctly convened meeting, introduce new by laws, amend existing by laws or repeal existing by laws, to suit the needs of the strata company. This results in different strata companies having different rules.

If you are unhappy with your current agent and wish for Merrifield Real Estate to manage your property the process is reasonably simple.

First you need to ensure your current Management Authority has expired, if it has then you may need to provide your agent with 28 days’ notice in writing to terminate your agreement (you will need to check the conditions set out on your Management Authority regarding this).

After this has been completed our Property Managers can organise a new agreement to allow our company to manage the property on your behalf. We then contact the previous agent and deal with everything in relation to the transfer of file information and contacting the Tenant/s to let them know what is happening.

The Tenant is not disrupted during this process; the only change they will need to make is who they are making rent payments to and contacting for any tenancy queries/issues.

If your Management Authority has not yet expired, speak with our team about the next step on (08) 9841 4022.

Yes, as your agent we only complete the application checks, this means that we are checking the prospective Tenant against both Tenancy Databases (TICA & NTD) plus our own internal database. We then contact 2 personal references and 2 previous rental reference for every applicant and verify their employment details.

Once fully completed your agent will provide you with all of this information so you are able to make an informed decision as to who you would like to reside in your property.

Yes, we recommend our property Owners attend the property with us at least once a year to inspect the premises, not only to ensure you are happy with the tenancy but also to access any maintenance which may need to be carried out.

Should you wish to inspect your premises contact your agent to find out when the next routine inspection is due and we can organise a time for you to come along.

Most definitely! Some property Lessors do not allow pets on the premises due to allergy reasons or because the property is not suitable for animals. Even if the Owner has advertised the property as “Pets Allowed” it does not mean that you can gain an animal without first asking permission.

Any change to the tenancy details must always be run past the Agent/Owner first, this means additional pets, new pets or replacement pets for lost animals must always be approved first. Regardless of the previous allowance you must speak with your Property Manager or Owner before gaining any animals.

By doing this you will ensure that all parties are aware of any changes and reduce the risk of having to return an animal for which permission has been declined by the Owner.

We receive this question quite regularly. The first two weeks rent is not held like a bond, it is important to note the first 2 weeks rent pay for your first 2 weeks of tenancy.
Rent in advance concept is simple to understand… For example, you go into a shop and you select a can of drink from the fridge. If you open the can, drink the contents and then walk to the counter to pay you would agree you might find the store owner not pleased with your actions. The right thing is to pay for the can of drink first, then consume the contents after paying.
Paying rent in advance works exactly the same way. You purchase the time period in advance, and then consume the time period by dwelling in the property. Once the time period is finished or consumed, you then pay for the next time period again before using it, by continuing in the lease and dwelling in the property. This is the meaning of rent in advance.

Our office allows 5 working days to process rental applications. This provides time to complete reference checks on every application which is received for the property and for the Owner to make their decision on which application they would like to approve.

It is not a case of first in best dressed.

To speed the process up we recommend that you let your personal and rental references know you are applying for a property and to expect our call, this makes the process of contacting your references much easier as they get back to us faster.

Once all the applications have been processed we provide all the information to the property Owner for them to make a decision on which applicant they wish to approve based on our findings.

Once the keys have been returned to the Agent and the final inspection has been completed, the Agent will let you know whether there are any additional items which need to be completed to return the property to a similar condition as at the commencement of your tenancy. These conditions are detailed on the original Property Condition Report provided to you at the start of your tenancy.

In some circumstances contractors may attend the property to complete additional cleaning or gardening for example.

When all the final invoices have been received by the Agent they will then either email or post out the bond deduction information to you.

The Bond Administrator who holds the bond funds now offer an electronic/online payment system which means the refunds come through much faster than previously experienced. Your agent will be able to give you the required form/information so you are able to register for the online bonds. Once registered for online bonds your refund will be paid out to you within 48 hours of you approving the bond deductions.

Legally there is no set time frame in which an Agent/Lessor must payout the Bond funds however it is in everyone’s interest that this process is completed as quickly as possible.

It is our office policy to not allow people to apply for a property without viewing as there is too many unforeseen issues which could be missed. For example, the fencing may not be adequate to keep in pets, the heating type may not be to your liking, rooms could be smaller than you thought or the property may not fit your furniture. To ensure you enjoy your stay at the property it is best to either view the property yourself or by someone you trust, this way you can be sure that the property will be right for you.

In the event that you sign the lease and then decide the property isn’t right for you, you will be required to break the lease which will be a very costly exercise.

Yes, any tenancy changes need to be advised to the agent immediately. In the event of someone wanting to move in, they will need to complete an application to reside in the property BEFORE they have moved in.

The agent will need to complete reference checks on the person wanting to move in and have the application approved by the Owner. It would then be your decision as to whether you would like to vary the lease by adding the additional occupant to the agreement or they can simply reside in the property as an approved occupant which means you will ultimately be liable should anything occur.

By not doing this you are breaching the terms of your agreement which could have an effect on future references.

If you find yourself in the predicament of needing to leave the property for any reason during your lease agreement it is what we call breaking your lease. This means that you have a fixed term lease in place and are requesting permission from the Owner to break that agreement which generally includes a sum of compensation to the property Owner such as covering the costs of finding a new tenant.

In all cases you will be required to continue paying rent at the property up until the day before a new tenant takes over or the lease expires (whichever comes first), this also means maintaining the property in relation to lawnmowing/gardening and cleaning to ensure the property is presented at its best to help gain a new tenant faster.

In some circumstances you may also be required to cover additional costs such as a portion of the letting fee, advertising costs, property condition report and any other costs the Owner would normally pay to the agent to place a tenant in the property. The idea is that as the Tenant you are compensating the Owner for breaking the lease early for which they should not be out of pocket.

If you find yourself in this situation, the best option is to speak with your Property Manager immediately; they will be able to advise what compensation will be requested from the Landlord and exactly what needs to be done. Giving the agent as much notice as possible will help them gain a tenant faster and hopefully have someone secured and ready to go before you have left the property.

The lease document will outline the procedure for a breach of lease; typically a written notice of breach is required with a specific timeline to rectify the breach given. The lease will also specify what the course of action is if that breach is not rectified.

The first step when a tenant has not paid rent is to issue the tenant with a breach notice. The tenant needs to be made aware in writing that they have breached the lease. If the breach is not rectified a termination notice can be issued. There are several ways to attempt to recover the debt including seizure and sale orders, means enquiries, debt collection or payment plans.

Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance at the property is negotiated in the lease. In general terms the landlord is responsible for structural repairs and the tenant is responsible for daily maintenance and repairs.

Insurance requirements form part of the lease which is again negotiated before commencement of the tenancy. Usually the landlord insures the building and the tenant takes out public liability, plate glass and contents. The tenant would normally reimburse the owner for the building insurance through the variable outgoings.

The lease will specify what the commercial bond can be retained for, as an example if you are in arrears or if you have damaged the property on vacation of the property. If there is no arrears or damage to be rectified the bond should be returned.

Commercial Leases generally require the lessee to ensure they have obtained all appropriate approvals prior to commencing the lease. Before entering into an Offer to Lease the lessee should speak to the City of Albany directly who will advise the lessee what approvals are required. The City of Albany will advise if a formal development application will be required or simple email is required.

Variable Outgoings are the costs associated with operating the property. Common types of variable outgoings are council rates, strata fees, water corporation rates, land tax, building insurance, property management fees, common area cleaning and maintenance, common area utilities and garden maintenance.

Generally speaking the Lessee (tenant) pays the variable outgoings charges. Who pays the variable outgoings is negotiated in the lease which is why it’s important that all parties are clear on what they are expected to pay prior to a lease being finalised.