For busy landlords, the duties of tenanting and maintaining a property can be simultaneously time-consuming and stress-inducing.

By law, Victorian landlords are required to ensure that their rental properties meet standards around amenity, safety and privacy. Plus, recently introduced legislation means that landlords are required to conduct gas and electrical safety tests every two years.

Thankfully there are qualified professionals with varied expertise within the property game who can help.

From property managers to licensed inspectors and lawyers, we outline the professionals every landlord needs to have in their corner and ask them what they offer to make landlord-life just that little bit easier.

1. Licensed or registered gasfitter

In March 2021, the Victorian government introduced legislative changes requiring all rental properties to not only meet the general minimum standards, but also to have new gas and electrical safety inspections every two years.

It’s crucial for a landlord to have regular access to the services of a licensed inspector from a respected company such as RACV, who provide qualified and trustworthy inspectors, Head of Trades at Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Kieran Davies, says.

“These changes ensure the property is safe and allow renters to request urgent repairs or terminate a lease if a landlord cannot provide evidence that they have been completed,” Kieran says.

Licensed inspectors identify urgent repairs and detail any required works to make a property safe. Picture: Getty

When it comes to gas connections, Kieran recommends licensed RACV inspectors as they will perform a full safety check of the premises. This will include checking the condition and certification of different gas appliances, such as stoves and hot water heaters, a negative pressure and carbon monoxide spillage test, as well as a bushfire safety check.

“They will also identify urgent repairs and detail any required works to make a property safe,” Kieran says.

2. Electrical safety inspector

It is a legal requirement for landlords to ensure an electrical safety check is conducted on their property by a licensed or registered electrician every two years.

The checks need to be conducted by an electrician who is licenced by Energy Safe Victoria and employed by a Registered Electrical Contractor.

The check will cover all electrical installations and fittings at the property and if any repairs are required, an Electrical Safety certificate will must be completed.

3. Property manager

Department Manager at Victoria Real Estate Agency, Frank Moscatt, believes the role of a property manager is to simplify the investment journey as much as possible.

“The first crucial step is sourcing an acceptable renter for the property,” explains Frank.

“Property managers screen potential tenants extensively to ensure they are suitable. It’s very important to get this right, as a good tenant creates a seamless experience for all parties.”

Additional resources property managers like Moscatt can offer landlords are easy to read inspection reports, monthly rental statements and day-to-day operations such as ensuring that rental payments are monitored and paid on time.

A property manager can find you the right tenant. Picture: Getty

4. Lawyer

Even the most experienced property investors can get themselves into trouble when they purchase a property without understanding the matrix of legal rights and obligations that come with it.

“Landlords who don’t understand the complexities of apartment living are often surprised by the additional time, effort and cost they find themselves dealing with,” says strata lawyer Amanda Farmer, Founder of Your Strata Property.

Amanda says the three things landlords find they’re not aware of when investing in a strata property are:

  • You don’t own the entire property – the body corporate owns the ‘common property’
  • You can’t renovate without first obtaining the approval of the body corporate
  • Your tenant must comply with the building by-laws and you may be held responsible for a tenant’s bad behaviour

Lawyers can help landlords navigate the complexities of strata properties. Picture: Shutterstock

5. Tradespeople

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, a landlord needs reputable and trustworthy tradespeople on standby in case anything goes wrong with the property.

These include professionals such as locksmiths, painters, interior decorators, fire safety professionals, builders and more for minor upgrades through to renovations.

“RACV has a long history of providing services to landlords which now also includes trades,” Kieran says.

“We have an extensive network of high quality tradespeople who are able to seamlessly support landlords with electrical and gas issues and can even be sent out within a couple of hours for anything urgent.”

This article was originally published on 18 Oct 2022 at 9:54am but has been regularly updated to keep the information current.

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