Thrive Property NT

A Landlord Checklist – Rights and Responsibilities

Whether you are new to property investment and have just bought your first investment property, or you are a seasoned Landlord, it never hurts to be well-informed. As a Landlord, it is important to be up-to-date about the relevant legislation in your state or territory as well as your, and your tenant’s, obligations.

So whether you are new to the investment game or have been a Landlord for some time, we have listed the below requirements and information to ensure you are up-to-date and the best Landlord you can be (your tenants and especially your Property Manager will thank you for it!)

For reference, the below definitions apply:

Landlord: The person who grants the right to occupy premises.

Tenant: A person who pays rent to a landlord in exchange for a right to occupy a premises.

Northern Territory Consumer Affairs

This website contains everything you need to know for residential tenancies. Sit down with a cuppa, get comfortable for some light, yet essential reading:

Types of Tenancies

There are two main types of tenancies:

A Fixed Term Tenancy

A tenancy agreement where the tenant agrees to rent premises for a fixed amount of time (such as 6 or 12 months). If wishing to end a fixed term tenancy, both the Landlord and Tenant must give a minimum of 14 days notice in writing prior to the end of the fixed term. If neither party gives written notice and a lease renewal has not been signed, the lease can continue on a periodic basis.

A Periodic Tenancy

A Periodic Tenancy agreement is where the tenant lives in the premises for an indefinite period and pays rent. In a periodic tenancy, the Tenant can give a minimum of 14 days written notice to end the tenancy. The owner must give a minimum of 42 days notice to end the tenancy.

Both are a written agreement between the Landlord and Tenant in relation to the residential premises. It establishes the term of a tenancy regarded as a ‘lease’. To ensure our tenancies comply with the Residential Tenancies Act, Thrive Property NT utilises a standard agreement  produced by the Real Estate Institute of the NT (REINT).

Smoke Alarms

All tenanted properties must have photoelectric smoke alarms installed. Both the Landlord and the Tenant have responsibilities when it comes to smoke alarms.

Landlord Responsibilities

In accordance with NT Fire & Emergency Regulations, Clause 13C, & D notes the following:

  • The owner of a property must test each smoke alarm in the residential premises every 12 months and ensure they are working correctly.
  • Within 30 days before the commencement of a new tenancy agreement, the Landlord must test each smoke alarm in the residential premises to ensure they are working correctly.
  • To ensure our owners comply with this legislation, we arrange for an electrician to carry out smoke detector checks and issue a compliance certificate.

Tenant’s Responsibility

In accordance with NT Fire & Emergency Regulations, Clause 13E notes the following:

  • Replace the stand by batteries in the smoke alarms
  • Clean the smoke alarms
  • Test each smoke alarm to ensure they are functioning and notify the owner if they are not functioning as soon as possible.

Blind Cord Safety

From July 1, 2011 Landlords were ordered to comply with The Trade Practices Mandatory Safety Standards as part of the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Safety Standard – Corded Internal Window Coverings) Regulations 2010.

This means all residential and commercial leased properties with any corded internal window covering must have the cords fitted with approved safety devices. These devices can include hooks or safety tassels to prevent babies, toddlers or young children becoming accidentally entangled in the cords causing strangulation. This also includes raised window coverings.

For blinds and curtains installed before 1 July 2011:

For those with corded internal window coverings were installed prior to July 1, 2011, all Landlords are legally bound by a duty of care to ensure the safety of their tenants. From 1st January 2015, all new blinds installed must fulfil the following requirements in accordance with the The Competition and Consumer (Corded Internal Window Coverings) Safety Standard 2014:

  • The corded internal window covering must be installed in a way that ensures a loose cord cannot form a loop 220mm or longer at or less than 1,600mm above floor level.
  • The corded internal window covering must be also be installed in accordance with the installation instructions on any retail packaging for the covering.
  • A cleat used to secure a cord must be installed at least 1,600 mm above floor level.

In addition, you must attach a label to the covering containing the name and contact details of the person or company responsible for the installation. The warning label and swing tag supplied with the corded internal window covering must not be removed.

Pool Fencing

For those pool or spa owners in the NT, you will need a pool fence or safety barrier that meets safety standards and a corresponding compliance certificate prior to renting out your property. This is relevant for all properties (houses, units and townhouses) less than 1.8 hectares.  There are different pool fencing and spa barrier safety standards for pools built after January 1, 2003 and for pools built prior to January 1, 2003.

As a whole, there are certain obligations expected of both Landlord and Tenant including:

Owner responsibilities

  • Make sure your pool safety barrier complies with the rules as stated above.
  • Making sure your pool safety barrier meets all the conditions included on the compliance certificate or acknowledgement notice including ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
  • Respond promptly to requests for any repairs from your tenants.

Tenant responsibilities

  • Report any maintenance and safety issues to the Property Manager or owner as soon as possible including:
    • Gates and doors that do not self-close or self-latch.
    • Loose poles or posts
    • Damaged fence panels or gaps larger than 10cm between the ground and the pool safety barrier.
  • Never prop open a gate or child resistant door set in the pool safety barrier.
  • Do not have any climbable objects located within 1.2m of the outside of the pool safety barrier when measured from the top of the barrier and no climbable items within 30cm of the inside of the pool safety barrier, such as tables, chairs or pot plants.
  • Ensure doors or gates are maintained and cleaned regularly to ensure they self-close and self-latch at all times.

As a Landlord, it is important to be aware of both yours and your tenants’ responsibilities and obligations when it comes to your rented property and lease agreement. Be sure to check back to this page to regularly remind yourself of your responsibilities each year and on an ongoing basis. At Thrive, we ensure we are abreast of all  legislation so we can in turn provide the best service and inform our clients of their rights and responsibilities. If you have any concerns about your property, please don’t hesitate to contact us.