Tenant - Frequently Asked Questions

What Tenants need to know about renting a property

Does my rent include the cost of utilities?

Usually utilities are not included in your rental amount. You are responsible for paying your rent and all outgoing utilities when you lease a rental property including any connection fees. It is also your responsibility as the tenant to connect your utilities, including water, gas, electricity and any other you may require at your cost.  A small number of rental properties do have outgoings included however this will be spelt out in marketing and is usually in boarding houses or shared accommodation.

How is rent calculated? Why is it not just the weekly rent multiplied by four weeks?

Click HERE for more info…

Am I allowed to hang things on the walls?

Your lease will outline that you are not allowed to puncture any walls without permission.
If there are no existing hooks and you decide that you want to hang things on the walls, you need to seek permission from the landlord before doing so.  This can be done by emailing your property manager your request including which rooms and how many hooks you are planning to put up.

The owner is not legally required to allow you to alter their property in this way and it can be viewed as damage to the property, which means that when your lease ends you will be required to re-instate the walls to the condition they were at the beginning of your lease.

If you go ahead and put up picture hooks without permission, prior to vacating you are required to remove the hook, patch the hole, sand and paint the whole wall to a professional standard.  If we deem the standard is not to a professional standard, we will arrange this on your behalf and you will be expected to pay the invoice.

PLEASE NOTE: Although temporary (adhesive) picture hooks are marketed as easy to remove, they can and often damage paint work when removed.  If damage to the walls occurs, it will be at your cost to have them repaired and this can be very costly.

How do I pay my rent?

At the beginning of your tenancy you are given a ‘tenant rental payments’ form which explains how you are to pay your rent and includes your property code which you must include as a reference with each payment.  If you cannot find this form, drop into our office, call or email us and we will give you another copy.
All rental payments are to be made electronically using the Reference code.  If this reference code is not included in your payment, we may not be able to allocate your rental payment which may lead to you being considered as in ‘arrears’.

Please Note: Ristic Real Estate is a cashless office and does not have EFTPOS facilities available.

What does ‘in arrears’ mean?

As agreed in your lease, your rent is due on a particular day each month. If your rent is not paid by this day, you are considered to be ‘in arrears’. This is a serious matter and means you are breaking the terms of your lease.  Not only are you causing financial hardship for your landlord, you are also establishing a negative rental history for yourself which could make it difficult for when you apply for future rentals.

Once you are ‘in arrears’ you will be sent correspondence from your property manager daily, these may include but are not limited to; phone calls, text messages and letters.

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if you allow your rent to reach 14 days in arrears your property manager will serve you with a ‘notice to vacate’.

What if I can’t pay my rent on time?

We all have times when money is tight or people let us down however if you know your rent is due and you are not going to be able to pay it in time, please call or email your property manager immediately. If you have a good history of paying on time, your property manager and landlord may show more understanding if you communicate your issue as soon as it arises. If your circumstances have changed i.e. you lost your job, got sick, separated etc. which is going to affect your rental payments for a period of time, there may be some options to help like a payment plan etc. The most important thing is that you keep communicating with your property manager.

How often will you inspect my home?

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 it is part of our service your Landlord to carry out regular inspections of the condition of the property. We will inspect your home 3 months after your lease begins and then each sixth month following.  You will be notified of the inspection time by letter in the mail giving you at least 1 weeks’ notice. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that you are caring for the property in a satisfactory manner but to also check for any maintenance required.

Along with the inspection notice, we will include a Maintenance Form.  Should there be any items of repair or maintenance that require attention, please complete the form and leave for collection on the kitchen bench.
If you are unable to be present for the inspection you are welcome to have a friend or family member present on your behalf, to report any matters affecting your tenancy. If you are unable to be present, we will enter the premises with our management key. Should the property have an alarm, please contact our office with the alarm code or leave the alarm off at the inspection time. Likewise, if you have pets, please make sure they are secured at the time of inspection. We will also need access to the garage so please ensure access is available at the time of the inspection.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the property is safe for entry by your property manager. Please be aware that your landlord is invited along to these inspections and may be in attendance on the day. If your landlord is not able to attend your property manager may take photographs at the time of the inspection.

Can I have friends or family stay over?

In a rental property, the only people who should be staying at the property are those listed on the lease and any children originally listed on your approved application. If however, you are planning to have friends or family stay at the property with you (for more than one night), please notify your property manager and provide certified photo ID for each person.

Although this may seem invasive, if something was to go wrong i.e. a fire at the property, we need to know who was at the property to notify authorities.

If you wish for any friends or family to move into the property more permanently, please advise your property manager immediately before asking them to do so, as you require permission prior to the move in. This person may be required to formally ‘Apply’ for the property, as you did prior to your tenancy. You may also need to do what is called a ‘Tenant Transfer’ which your property manager will explain.

Can I add new plants in the gardens of the property?

According to your lease, it is in expectation that you maintain the property at the same or higher standard that you first leased it in. This includes regularly maintaining and watering the gardens including the trees and shrubs, mowing the lawn and removing all garden rubbish from the property. If any plants at the property die during your lease it is expected that you replace them with the same or similar. If the lawns dies it is expected that you lay lawn seed and re-establish the lawn to its original condition.

If you wish to plant additional plants in the gardens, please email your property manager detailing which plants and where you wish to plant them.  This will need to be approved by the landlord prior to you making any changes.

Can I get additional keys/garage remotes for the property?

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 you will be provided with at least one set of keys/remotes for the property at the beginning of your lease. You are permitted to make copies of these keys at your own expense, however you are expected to provide the additional copies back to Ristic Real Estate at the completion of your tenancy.

Should you want a master key or remote ie you live in apartment block, you will need to request this by emailing your property manager. Once they are received, you will be sent an invoice for payment.

Are my possessions covered by my Landlord’s insurance?

Click HERE for more info…

What do I do if I break or damage something at the property?

Please call or email your property manager immediately.  We understand that mistakes and accidents happen and we expect some fair wear and tear however it’s better that you notify us instead of us noticing it at an inspection.

The damage may be covered by the landlord’s insurance policy, which may mean you might only have to pay the excess amount. Should it not be covered by insurance, Ristic Real Estate works with a range of fantastic tradesmen who are not only reliable, but they give us great rates.

Can I get a pet?

Every property and landlord is different.  Some landlords are happy for pets to live at the property so long as the tenant takes full responsibility for any damage, other landlords are not.

If at the time of your original application you did not have any pets and are now hoping to get one, you must seek permission from your property manager prior to acquiring the pet; this should include the type, breed, age, sex and size of the pet. If you are approved for a pet, your property manager will draw up an agreement which you will be required to sign prior to the pet moving into the property.

If you are not approved for a pet and obtain one at the property anyway, this will be in breach of your lease agreement and will have repercussions.

What happens if the owner of the property I am renting decides to sell?

According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the owner of the property has the right to sell the property at any time however they cannot ask you to vacate the property until the completion of your lease. Just because the property is being sold does not necessarily mean that you will be asked to vacate the property at the completion of your lease.  Often rental properties will be purchased by investors who wish to continue leasing the property so you may be able to continue living at the property as you have done, the only thing that’s changes is the landlord.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if the landlord requires you to vacate the premises for the sale, a formal Notice to Vacate through VCAT will be served issuing you with not less than 60 days’ to vacate providing the vacating date falls on or after your lease expiry date.

What happens if the owner of the property I am renting decides to move into it?

According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the owner of the property has the right to move into the property however they cannot ask you to vacate the property until the completion of your lease.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if the landlord requires you to vacate so that they or one of their family members can move in, a formal Notice to Vacate through VCAT will be served issuing you with not less than 60 days’ to vacate providing the vacating date falls on or after your lease expiry date.

I want to get Foxtel connected at the property, what do I have to do?

Before making any changes to the property including getting Foxtel connected you need to seek permission from the landlord before doing so.  The owner is not legally required to allow you to alter their property in this way however many owners allow this so long as it is being installed by an approved tradesman. If any damage is done to the property while this is being done, the responsibility is with you as the tenant to re-instate the property to the condition it was in at the beginning of your lease.

What happens if I lose my keys or lock them in the property?

If this occurs during business hours, you can come to our office and borrow our master keys. Please call our office prior to you coming to our office to confirm that the master keys are in the office.  You will also need to provide us with ID and $50 deposit.  You are required to return the keys back to our office within the same day, at this time your $50 deposit will be returned to you.

If you are unable to come to our office yourself and want to send a third party to pick up the keys, you need to provide us with written or verbal consent beforehand and your representative will need to provide their ID.
If you are unable to provide a $50 deposit, we will hold your credit card.

In the event that you need to borrow keys after hours, and an agent is able to provide you with access, this will cost you $100 to be paid to the agent at the time access is given. If in the event an agent is unable to provide access to the property, you will need to contact a locksmith at your own cost. If the locksmith needs to change the locks, under legislation, you will need to provide the office with a copy of all entry and exit door keys.

Our recommended Locksmith:  Northtech Locksmiths & Security: 0400 227 574 / 0400 187 977

What happens when my lease expires?

When your lease is nearing its end, we will contact you to ask if you would like to enter into a new lease.  If you do want a new lease, we will confirm this with your landlord and if all parties agree we will prepare the new leases for you to sign. It is at this point you may be notified of a potential rent increase.

Download the ‘Notice to Vacate’ Form HERE

If you have decided to move on when your lease finishes you must give us a minimum of 28 days written notice, prior to your end of lease date.

What if I need to move out before the end of my lease?

Sometimes things happen and a tenant needs to move out of a property before their current lease has expired ie got a job overseas or interstate, went through a marriage breakdown, has serious health issues etc. This is known as a ‘Lease Break’. In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act and your lease agreement special conditions, you are required to:
–    Give us written notice of your intention to break your lease (see link below).
–    Pay rent up until the lease ends or until the new tenants lease commences (whichever comes first), even if you have physically vacated the property prior to that date.
–    Pay a break lease fee of the equivalent to 2 weeks’ rent + GST. You will be invoiced for this amount and must pay the invoice amount immediately.
–    Notify us of a date you will be vacating the property so we can prepare it ready for re-leasing

If you know someone who wishes to lease the property, they are required to complete the application process as normal. You can discuss this with your property manager in more detail, however it is important that you understand there is no guarantee that this application will be approved.

Download the ‘Notice to Vacate – Lease Break’ form HERE

Why do I need to pay my last month’s rent? Didn’t I pay a month in advance when I moved in?

You paid your first month’s rent when you signed your lease. As agreed in your lease agreement, you are required to pay your rent in advance each month.  The date your rent is due is the 1st day of the next rent cycle for that month.  You must pay rent up to and including your final vacating date.

When will I get my bond back & can I use it for my last rental payment?

You cannot use your bond for rent. Your bond is held in trust by Residential Tenancies Bond Authority Bond (RTBA) not by Ristic Real Estate.

Following your final inspection, your property manager will have 10 business days to lodge your bond refund form or make an application to VCAT. Once your final inspection is completed and all matters resolved, you will be asked to sign a ‘Bond refund form’ which will be submitted to RTBA who will refund your bond directly into your nominated bank account, this may take up to 72 hours.

Under legislation, you can be fined if you refuse to pay your rent on the grounds that you want to use your bond to pay your rent. Read more HERE.

What is a final inspection and how does it work?

Once you have given notice, your property manager will arrange a time to meet you at the property for your final inspection to compare the property condition to when your tenancy began.  We expect some fair wear and tear however will look for visible signs of damage and also check that the property is cleaned to a standard expected in your lease agreement.

Your property manager will discuss with you any items requiring your additional attention.  At this time you will also be asked to provide a receipt for carpet cleaning or any other special requirements ie flee spraying (if you had a pet at the property) etc.

Download our final inspection check list HERE

What is a Condition Report and how does it relate to my tenancy?

Ristic Real Estate is required to complete a thorough inspection of the property prior to the beginning of your tenancy noting in detail the condition of the property including any damage cited and photos of the property and all items at the property.  This condition report will in turn be used for your final inspection to ensure you have returned the property back to the landlord in its original condition.

As required by legislation, at the time you collect your keys, you will be given two copies of the prepared condition report, along with a CD containing the condition report photos.  The condition report marked ‘copy’ and the CD of photos is intended for you to retain for your records.

The original copy of the condition report is the one that you must check over and make any required amendments or additions to; you have 3 business days to return this back to our office.
We recommend you go through the property before you move any personal belongings in. If you agree with our comments you don’t need add any additional comments.  If you notice something we haven’t mentioned or you disagree with our comments, put your comments in the ‘tenant comments’ column of the relevant area and category.

If you fail to return the amended condition report to our office within the allocated time frame (3 business days) the original condition report will be declared as true and correct.

How does the application process work?

Once you have submitted your application and all supporting documents required, we will keep you updated via SMS/email as it progresses to each stage in the process. After we have done all of the necessary checks, your application will be presented to the Landlord for a final decision.

Why is my application not being processed?

As a rule, we will not begin processing your application until we have all of the necessary documents provided.  If you submit your application and it is missing some information (i.e. one of the other applicants hasn’t submitted their application or you still need to provide your payslips etc.), we will send you an SMS/email ‘more info is required’. Please call our office asap to confirm when you will be providing us with the additional info.

How long does it take for you to tell me if my application has been successful or not?

Depending on the number of applications we receive for the property, we aim to give you a final decision within 2 – 5 days.  Waiting on additional information or references to get back to us is the main reason why processing your application may take longer.

What can I do to help my application get processed as quickly as possible?

There are a number of checks that need to be done for your application so be sure to include all of the items on the check list in the application form and notify your references to expect our call.

If your situation is a complicated one and you believe that the application form does not ask questions you may wish to answer we encourage you to submit a cover letter with your application.

Why do you require 100 points of ID?

The 100 point check is a personal identification system adopted by the Australian Government to combat financial transaction fraud by individuals and companies, enacted by the Financial Transactions Reports Act (1988) (FTR Act).

Points are allocated to the types of documentary proof of identity. Ristic Real Estate requires at least 100 points of certified identification to be submitted with your application.

By us requiring 100 points in ID we are able to know beyond reasonable doubt that the individual applying for the premises and the person moving into the house is one in the same.

How do I certify documents or ID?

You must take the original ID and a photocopy of the original ID to an authorised person to have them certified.

The authorised person must write/stamp on each page of the photocopied document: ‘I have sighted the original document and certify this to be a true copy of the original’ then sign and date.

Authorised person/s able to certify documents:
•    principal of a registered school
•    lawyer
•    medical practitioner
•    dentist
•    pharmacist
•    veterinarian
•    accountant
•    minister of religion authorised to celebrate marriages
•    a justice of the peace or a bail justice
•    bank manager
•    police officer

Why do I need my documents certified by a professional?

This is done to protect the landlord against attempts of identity fraud and deception. Although most people are honest and legitimate, occasions may arise where applicants are not who they say they are.
Staff at Ristic Real Estate are not authorised or trained in the intricacies of identifying fraudulent identification so we require this to be done by an authorised professional.

Do I have to connect my own utilities?

It is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that all utilities are connected in their name/s.
Our utilities connection partner ‘Myconnect’ can arrange the connection or transfer of all of your connections including water, gas, electricity, pay TV, internet and phone in a couple of easy quick steps.  You can nominate your own providers and they will arrange it on your behalf for some or all of your services and it doesn’t cost you a thing! On your application form tick the box and we will make this happen for you.

Once you approve my application what happens?

We will contact you to come to our office for a ‘sign up appointment’ to sign your leases and pay your first month’s rent and bond. Your lease is not considered ‘Secured’ until all of the adults on the lease have signed the leases and you have paid your first month’s rent & bond.  All approved applicants must be available for this appointment within 48 hours of us offering you the lease, or we may offer the lease to another applicant.

How do I pay my bond and first month’s rent?

You must pay your first month’s rent by Bank cheque or money order which must be made out to ‘Ristic Real Estate’ and paid to us at your ‘sign up appointment’.

We also prefer that you pay your bond at this appointment, however in special circumstances this can be arranged to occur on the day you collect your keys. The bond must be paid by bank cheque or money order made out to ‘RTBA’.

Why do you need my current and previous landlord / agent / employer’s details?

Part of our application screening process we conduct a thorough background check on all applications to ensure the applicant/s:
•    Are actually who they say they are
•    Are in the financial position to pay their rent
•    Have a good rental history of paying their rent on time and taking care of the rental properties they have leased in the past.
What do I need to submit with my application?
•    100 points of ID including at least one form of photo ID
•    Welfare income statement (government assistance/Centrelink)
•    Your last 3 x payslips in consecutive order
•    Past Tenancy ledger
•    If you are a home owner, a copy of your land rates notice or mortgage documents
•    Bank statement (last 6 months)
•    Any written references

Who should I contact about renting one of your properties?

You can call our office during business hours for answers to any questions relating to any of the properties we have available for lease.

Alternatively, you can send an enquiry through the online advertisement of the property you are interested in.

Who should be contacted AFTER I’ve moved into a property?

On the day you come to our office to sign your leases and pay your first months’ rent and bond you will be informed of who your property manager is.

After you move in, your property manager is your main point of contact for anything to do with your tenancy.  Unless the matter is urgent, the best form of contact is a direct email to your property manager.

If you do not have your property managers email address you can find this HERE