The Definitive Guide to Rental Properties in Canberra

The Definitive Guide to Rental Properties in Canberra

The Definitive Guide to Rental Properties in Canberra

Exploring your options in rental properties can be both exciting and daunting. With numerous choices and factors to consider, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your property needs and desires.

In this guide, we dive into everything you need to consider and prepare for before signing that all-important rental agreement, ensuring you step into your rental journey fully equipped.




Renting a property comes with a range of advantages:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Renting can often be more budget-friendly compared to the costs associated with buying a home.
  • Flexibility in Relocation: Renters have the ease of moving between various locations – whether it’s a different neighbourhood, city, or even a new state.
  • Ease of Adjusting Living Space: Renting offers the flexibility to easily scale up or down in living space, allowing adjustments according to financial situations or changing needs.
  • Reduced Responsibility for Maintenance: In most rental agreements, the responsibility for major repairs and maintenance falls on the landlord, easing the financial burden on the renter.
  • Access to Additional Facilities: Many rental properties come with amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and community spaces that might be unaffordable or unavailable in purchased properties.
  • No Property Taxes: Renters are not directly responsible for paying property taxes, a significant expense that homeowners must bear.




When it comes to finding a rental property, leveraging online resources is a highly effective strategy.

Websites such as jonnywarren.com.au, realestate.com.au, domain.com.au, and allhomes.com.au can offer extensive listings and are excellent starting points at any level.

These real estate portals allow you to filter properties based on specific criteria like preferred suburbs, number of bedrooms, budget, and other desired features. This filtering results in a curated list of properties that match your needs.

To streamline your search, it’s advisable to save your search parameters and activate property alerts. This way, you’ll receive immediate notifications about new listings that fit your criteria, keeping you ahead in the rental market.



Before you dive into the rental property market, it’s helpful to reach out to an experienced property manager.  It’s vital to understand what’s required to secure a lease, especially for first-time renters with no rental history.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Employment Verification and Proof of Income: This affirms your financial stability and ability to pay rent.
  • Professional Reference: A reference from an employer or colleague provides credibility to your reliability and responsibility.
  • Personal References: Non-relative references that vouch for your character are essential.
  • Photo Identification: For identity verification.

Becoming a Tenant in Canberra & Surrounds:

To initiate the process of becoming a tenant in the ACT, it’s essential to navigate through the rental application process. This primarily requires you to present evidence of your income and references from prior landlords. (Only if required)

It’s equally crucial, prior to finalising the tenancy agreement, to ascertain the contact for addressing any potential issues during your tenancy. The guidelines governing rentals in the ACT are outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.


Tips for First-Time Renters

Before exploring rental properties, it’s important to get clear with your needs and wants. This step is essential as it gives you a clearer perspective on the things and amenities that would suit your lifestyle.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Number of bedrooms and car spaces required?
  • Preferences for the living space (e.g., large dining area, outdoor space for children)?
  • Need for a pet-friendly environment?
  • Preferred locations and their proximity to essential services?

This will help you in striking the right balance between your essential needs and areas where you can afford flexibility.

  • Let’s say you want a large living space and a proper space for a studio or work area. Would you be willing to go for a property that had your ideal living space, but only came with a small space for your work area? 
  • Let’s assume you have a car and a motorbike, are you keen on signing off on a lease that doesn’t have enough garages to house your vehicles? You have to ask the right questions during an inspection, especially when off-street parking policies vary from suburb to suburb.

Once you’ve listed your essentials and preferences, it’s time to start your property hunt.

Both online real estate platforms and local real estate agents can be invaluable resources. Organise your findings and schedule inspections, keeping in mind that the rental market moves quickly.

The Importance of Property Inspections

When looking for a rental property, it’s essential to go beyond just viewing photos online. Actually visiting the property can reveal much more than pictures can convey.

Exploring potential homes in person can be quite enjoyable. As you tour different properties, it’s easy to start visualising your life there, like reading a book in that cosy corner during a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s important to stay focused during these visits.

Your primary task is to check for any damage. If you find anything, document it with notes and photos, and inform the property manager.

This documentation ensures you won’t be held accountable for pre-existing issues, and it also prompts any necessary repairs before you move in. Additionally, verify that all appliances are functional, and confirm that the property matches its description.

A physical inspection also gives you the opportunity to meet with the leasing agent face-to-face, allowing you to ask questions and seek advice on the application process.




There are certain costs that tenants in the ACT are exempt from bearing. Charges such as those for keys, swipe cards for property access, or any administrative fees related to bond processing or other move-in paperwork are not the tenant’s responsibility.

Should any disputes or uncertainties arise regarding these financial aspects, the ACT government offers comprehensive guidance through their Information Portal, a resourceful tool for tenants to navigate their rights and obligations. Further assistance can be found on the ACT government’s Community Service website.


Regarding rent increases:

The law mandates a fair process. Landlords or property managers are required to provide a written notice at least eight weeks prior to any rent hike. This notice must detail the exact amount of the increase and the date it becomes effective.

Importantly, this notice must be specifically addressed to the leaseholder and should be signed and dated to be considered valid. A notable aspect of renting in the ACT is that rent cannot be increased more than once annually, unless authorised by a tribunal – a rule that offers some stability to tenants.

Additional expenses that tenants might encounter include:

  • Bond lodged with ACT Rental Bonds 
  • Costs for duplicating keys.
  • Various charges associated with setting up utilities in the home.
  • Any insurance costs that are legally mandated and specified in the tenancy agreement.


Understanding Agreements, Bonds, and Reports

Once you’ve chosen a rental property that ticks all the boxes, filled out all the necessary forms and (hopefully) an approved application, you’ll receive several important documents:

  • Residential Tenancy Agreement: A legally binding contract outlining the terms of your tenancy.
  • Bond Lodgement Form: For the bond, which is a security deposit separate from your rent.
  • Condition Report: Details the property’s condition before you move in. Ensure it’s accurate and note any discrepancies.

These documents are crucial in defining your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and must be thoroughly understood and agreed upon.


What’s included in an RTA? 

  • Tenant, Owner, and Property Manager Details: Identification of the tenant, owner, and property manager (if applicable), including names and addresses.
  • Tenancy Duration: Specific start and end dates of the tenancy agreement.
  • Rent Details: Information on the rent amount, payment schedule, and preferred payment methods.
  • Standard Terms: Clarification of the obligations and restrictions for both the tenant and the owner/property manager.
  • Special Terms: Any additional terms that require prior mutual agreement.
  • Tenancy Type and Length: Description of the tenancy’s nature (e.g., fixed-term or periodic) and its duration.
  • Bond Requirements: The stipulated bond amount to be paid by the tenant.
  • Additional Conditions and Rules: Outline of any other terms, conditions, or rules pertinent to the tenancy agreement.

Types of Tenancy Agreements:

There are two primary types of tenancy agreements to consider: Fixed-term and Periodic agreements.

Each of these agreements plays a crucial role in defining the relationship between tenant and landlord, and it’s essential to understand their differences and implications.


Fixed-Term Agreement (Stability and Predictability)

A fixed-term agreement is essentially a contractual commitment between a tenant and a landlord, allowing the tenant to reside in a rental property in the ACT for a predefined period.

Typically, these agreements span six months to a year, though they can extend for longer durations. A key feature of the fixed-term agreement is its potential for renewal, which can be negotiated between tenant and landlord before the current contract expires.

Periodic Agreement (Flexibility without Fixed End Dates)

This type of contract is unique in that it doesn’t stipulate a fixed end date. Despite this open-ended nature, a periodic agreement maintains the same rules and regulations as its fixed-term counterpart, offering a blend of continuity and flexibility.


IT’S CRUCIAL to thoroughly read and understand this document, as it covers a range of obligations, this can include requirement for professional carpet cleaning at tenancy’s end and rules about having pets. The agreement also outlines the repercussions of falling behind on rent and other terms.


Is a Tenancy Agreement really that important?

You have to understand that without a signed tenancy agreement, tenants in the ACT may face abrupt eviction or rent increases, as landlords are within their legal rights to take such actions. Signing a tenancy agreement, therefore, provides a significant level of protection for tenants.

It also offers clarity on how the tenancy operates, including a clear understanding of both rights and responsibilities. Upon signing, tenants should receive a copy of the agreement for their records.

What is a Bond?

A bond is a separate arrangement from your regular rental payments, serving as a safeguard for the landlord in case you fail to adhere to the terms of your lease agreement. This bond is either refunded to you at the end of your lease term or can be applied to any necessary cleaning or repairs.

The bond is not a substitute for rent payments. Therefore, when vacating the property, your rent must be paid in full up to the specified date.

What’s included in the Condition Report?

A condition report is a comprehensive document detailing the state of a property before a tenant moves in. It encompasses all aspects of the property, including its fixtures and fittings. As a tenant, it’s crucial to meticulously compare the report with the actual condition of the property. This ensures that any pre-existing damage or issues are adequately noted.

This report is particularly vital in resolving disputes related to various aspects of the property, ranging from cleaning requirements to major and minor repairs. Therefore, a thorough examination of the report is essential.

For both the landlord and tenant, reaching a mutual agreement on the condition report is paramount. Additionally, it’s advisable for tenants to take photographs of the property prior to moving in. This provides a visual record of its original state, which can be invaluable in case of future disputes or issues.


Understanding Routine Inspections


(Random) routine inspections of the property are conducted by the property manager to ensure that it is well-maintained and any necessary repairs are addressed.

The frequency of these inspections varies by state or territory, and you should consult with your property manager to understand how you will be informed about upcoming inspections.

The following aspects are typically included in these inspections:

  • Adherence to lease terms: Ensuring there are no illegal activities, such as drug labs.
  • Cleanliness and tidiness: The property should be kept clean and orderly.
  • Grounds maintenance: The outdoor areas should also be maintained in a neat condition.
  • Property preservation: Checking that the property is not being damaged.
  • Occupancy limits: Only the number of people listed on the tenancy agreement should be living at the property.
  • Pet policy: Pets should not be kept on the property unless previously agreed upon.
  • Maintenance issues: Identifying and addressing any necessary repairs.


Rental Properties in Canberra – FAQs


My lease is about to end, what should I do? 

Once the designated end date of your lease specified in the agreement passes, the lease doesn’t just terminate abruptly. Instead, it transitions into what’s known as a ‘continuing agreement’. Under this arrangement, all involved parties remain bound by the terms originally set out in the lease.

For tenants desiring to stay beyond the current lease term, proactive communication is key. You should initiate a discussion with the property owner or the managing agent to express your interest in renewing the lease.

The decision to renew rests with the property owner. They have the discretion to either extend the lease, allow the tenancy to proceed under the existing terms, or provide the legally required notice for you to vacate the property.

Engaging in this dialogue well before your lease’s expiration date is advisable. It allows ample time for both you and the property owner or agent to plan and make necessary arrangements, ensuring a smooth transition regardless of the outcome.


Can I transfer my lease to another person?

In the event that you wish to end your lease early and have someone ready to take over the property, there are specific procedures to ensure a smooth and legal transition. The first step is to promptly inform your agent or property owner about your intentions. It’s essential to communicate your plan as early as possible to allow for the necessary legal and administrative processes.

However, it’s important to recognize that your agent or property owner is not obligated to automatically accept this arrangement. The prospective new tenant must undergo the standard application process, which includes filling out an application form, providing references, and meeting all other criteria required for tenancy approval.

Assuming the new tenant’s application is successful, they should not move into the property immediately. A final inspection of the property is necessary, and arrangements must be made for the transfer or release of your security bond. Only after these steps are completed can the new tenant officially take over the lease.


Can I exit my lease early?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to vacate your rental property before your lease agreement expires, there are several responsibilities and potential consequences you should be aware of. Firstly, you will be accountable for any reasonable costs incurred by the property owner or agent in finding a new tenant. These expenses can include advertising and administrative costs related to re-leasing the property.

Moreover, your obligation to pay rent continues until a new tenant is found and a new lease agreement is signed. Both you and your agent have the right to look for a suitable replacement tenant. However, any potential tenant must undergo the usual application and screening process before they can be approved.

Leaving the property without informing your owner or agent can have serious repercussions. Not only could you lose your security bond, but such an action could also negatively impact your rental history. This could potentially make it more challenging for you to rent properties in the future.

Additionally, while laws in some regions may allow tenants to make minor modifications to the property, like installing picture hooks, you must ensure the property is returned to its original condition when you vacate. If any damage occurs due to the installation or removal of these fixtures, you could be held financially responsible for the repairs. It’s important to be fully aware of the specific rules and regulations of your state regarding such modifications.


The owner of my rental property decided to sell. 

When the property you’re renting is put up for sale, the outcomes and implications depend largely on the specifics of your lease agreement and the intentions of the new owner.

Here’s what you might expect in different scenarios:

Sale to Another Investor: If the rental property is sold to another investor while you are still within the term of your lease, your tenancy should remain largely unaffected. The new owner takes over the role of your landlord, and your rights as a tenant continue as per the existing lease agreement.

Sale to an Owner-Occupier: In case the rental property is purchased by someone planning to occupy it themselves, the situation changes. You will likely be issued a notice to vacate the property. The terms of this notice should align with legal requirements, providing you with sufficient time to find alternative accommodation.

It’s important to note that during the sale process, your rights as a tenant regarding privacy and reasonable notice before inspections are maintained. 


Repairs are needed in my rental property

To address repair needs in your rental property, it’s important to follow the correct procedures, which typically involve the following steps:

Notification of Repairs: Inform the property owner or agent about any required maintenance or repairs. Doing so provides a clear record of your request and ensures that both parties are on the same page.

Use of Maintenance Forms: Many rental properties provide specific maintenance request forms. These are often given to you when you first move into the property. Using these forms can streamline the process and ensure that your request is handled efficiently.

Avoid DIY Repairs: It’s crucial that you do not attempt to make the repairs yourself. Even if you have the skills, doing so can lead to issues with liability and compliance with your lease agreement. Your responsibility as a tenant is to report the problem, not to fix it.

Consult Your Lease Agreement: Your lease agreement will contain specific provisions on how to handle repairs or maintenance requests. It’s important to review these clauses to understand your rights and responsibilities, as well as the expected response time and process from the landlord or agent.


I am currently unable to pay my rent

If you’re unable to pay your rent temporarily, you should:

Contact Your Agent or Owner Immediately: Inform them as soon as possible about your situation.

Maintain Open Communication: Keep them updated on your circumstances.

Prompt and honest communication can often lead to an understanding or arrangement during such temporary difficulties. Ignoring the issue is not advisable, as it could worsen the situation.

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Tips And Strategies For Effective Tenant Screening

Tips And Strategies For Effective Tenant Screening

Tips And Strategies For Effective Tenant Screening

1.    What is Tenant Screening, and Why is it Important?


Tenant screening, as the name might suggest, is the process where a landlord or a property manager evaluates and interviews potential tenants before renting out a property. Tenant screening involves taking a number of important steps to ensure you find a tenant you can trust. These include checking the following:

  • Background

  • References

  • Credit history

  • Employment status

  • Income

  • Criminal record

  • Rental history

  • And more

The main purpose of tenant screening is to identify any red flags indicating a potential tenant may be unreliable. For example, a history of missed payments, eviction notices, or criminal activity might suggest a tenant is at risk of causing issues in the future. Of course, this is by no means always the case, but by conducting a thorough screening and rental check, you can make an informed decision about who to rent to and avoid tenants who may cause issues or be unable to pay rent on time.

So, what are the key elements to consider when conducting a screening? And what can you do to ensure you are not discriminating against potential tenants? Read on for our top tips and strategies when screening tenants for your rental property.


2.    What are Some of the Legal Requirements for Tenant Screening?


In Australia, legislation is in place to protect the rights of landlords and tenants. However, each state and territory has its own unique laws in place. And so, the legal requirements for screening tenants in ACT may differ slightly from that of WA. However, some general conditions to be aware of include:


  • Anti-discrimination laws: Landlords and property managers cannot discriminate against potential tenants based on their race, gender, age, disability, religion, or other protected characteristics. All of your applicants must be treated equally and fairly.

  • Rental history: You may request information about a potential tenant’s rental history, including rental payments and past tenancies. However, you must obtain the tenant’s consent first.

  • Privacy laws: You are required to comply with privacy laws when collecting and using personal information about your potential tenants. Also, the information you collect must only be necessary for the screening. Once you’ve obtained the data, you must store it securely.

  • Reference checks – As a landlord, you may request references from your prospective tenant’s previous landlords, employers, or other referees. Again, however, you must first obtain your tenant’s consent.

  • Background checks: You may conduct background checks, such as criminal checks. However, you must obtain permission and ensure your queries are relevant to the tenancy.

  • Financial checks: You have the right to request financial information such as income, credit history and employment status, but you must first obtain consent.


3.    What are some of the key elements to consider when screening potential tenants?


As mentioned above, a host of enquiry options are available to landlords, and it is highly advisable to use them as they are vital elements that ensure a thorough screening. However, some key elements to consider include the following:


  • Inform your tenant that they must complete a rental application that will provide their personal details, rental history, employment information, and references. Make sure to advise tenants that you will be contacting references and carrying out background checks.

  • Once you have your prospective tenant’s rental history, contact their previous landlords to ensure they paid rent on time, complied with the terms of their lease, and maintained the property.

  • Employment and income verification – This may include contacting their employer or reviewing their pay slips or tax returns.

  • Request references from the tenant’s previous landlords, employers, or other referees

  • Check the tenant’s credit history to see if they have any financial issues or outstanding debts.

  • Consider conducting a criminal background check to verify if the tenant has a criminal record.

  • Make sure that they understand the terms and conditions of the lease.


4.    What are Some Effective Screening Techniques for avoiding problematic tenants?


To be extra thorough when carrying out a tenant screening, consider doing a ‘pre-screening’ with your tenant before the rental application process begins. Asking simple questions about pets, whether they like to party regularly, or simply mentioning that you will carry out background checks can help weed out tenants unsuited to your property. It may also help you find your dream tenant and speed up the process.

Consider looking at their social media to get an idea of their character. This may help give you an idea of how they would treat your property.

In most cases, you’ll want to carry out inspections where you’ll be showing potential tenants around your property. This is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for each tenant, where you can interview in an informal, relaxed environment. Chatting and asking questions about them, such as how they enjoy their job and if they move around a lot, can give you some idea of who they are.

Also, seeing them physically interact with the property can give you some clues about how they will treat your home once they move in. If you have hired a property manager to carry out the screening, joining them for the inspections might be advisable.


5.    What are Some Common Red Flags to Look Out for During the Tenant Screening Process?


When carrying out rental checks and screenings, it’s vital not to discriminate and remember you can’t always judge a book by its cover. Or its credit score. However, there are some common ‘red flags’ you can keep in mind while screening. These include:


  • Eviction history – If a tenant shows a history of being evicted, it may be a sign that they have had previous issues paying rent and respecting lease terms.

  • Poor credit score – A low credit score may indicate a tenant’s history of not paying bills on time, which could mean a risky tenant.

  • Refusal to provide information – If a tenant is unwilling to provide information during the screening process, such as rental history and personal references etc., you should ask and check why this is. Ultimately, you’re entrusting your property with someone you don’t know, so it’s your right to be given the appropriate information.

  • Poor Communication Skills – Having a good communicative relationship between you and your tenant is important. If a prospective tenant has difficulty responding to calls and messages, it might be a warning sign that they would be challenging to work with.

  • Criminal Background – Remember, it’s important not to discriminate, and you should only make a decision once you have all the relevant information. However, a criminal history, especially for violent crimes, might indicate that your tenant could pose a danger to neighbours, other tenants, or property.

  • Inconsistent Employment: A tenant’s history of frequent job changes or gaps in employment may be a sign that they do not have a reliable income source and could struggle to pay rent.


6.    How do Credit and Background Checks Factor into Tenant Screening?


As mentioned above, you can run credit and rental background checks on prospective tenants during the screening process. However, hiring a property manager to carry this out is advisable as they are fully qualified and equipped to perform a thorough screening that can save you time and money.

When carrying out background and credit checks, you must always obtain consent from potential tenants and comply with the relevant privacy regulations and laws. Both credit and background checks factor separately into the tenant screening process:


Credit Checks

You can request a tenant’s credit report from a credit reporting agency. This report provides information on the tenant’s credit history, including any outstanding debts, late payments, and bankruptcies. A tenant with a poor credit score might be considered a higher risk for defaulting on rent payments or other financial obligations.

Background Checks

Background checks are used to verify a tenant’s identity and check for criminal history. This includes searching for any past convictions or charges and any outstanding warrants. Again, it is vital not to discriminate and ensure you have all the information before making a decision. However, a tenant with a history of criminal activity may pose a risk to neighbours, other tenants, and the property itself.



7.    What are Some Best Practices for Communicating with Potential Tenants During the Screening Process?


You are advised to follow several best practices when communicating with potential tenants during the screening process. It’s important to carry out non-discriminatory screening, set expectations, and be transparent about the screening process. By following best practices, you’re doing your job to ensure a smooth screening process.


  • Being prompt and professional – Respond to questions and enquiries promptly, and maintain a professional tone in emails, phone calls and in-person meetings.

  • Provide clear and detailed information – Be sure to provide detailed information about the property, including rent, amenities, lease terms, and other valid information.

  • Say no to discrimination – Treat all applicants the same and do not make any decisions based on factors such as gender, sexual orientation, race or religion.

  • Conduct background checks– Once you’ve received all your applications, conduct thorough background checks to ensure the information your potential tenants have provided is factually correct.

  • Set expectations– Clearly explain the screening process so your prospective tenants know what is required of them regarding documentation, timeframes, etc.

  • Follow up with all applicants– Whether or not you plan to pursue a potential applicant; it’s always best practice to follow up promptly and explain your decision clearly and professionally.


8.    How Can Landlords Ensure They are Not Discriminating Against Potential Tenants?


Ensuring you carry out a fair and non-discriminatory tenant screening process is vitally important. Each state of Australia has its position on discrimination regarding rental properties. For instance, in the Australian Capital Territory, it is “against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of a characteristic that you have, or that someone thinks you have, in an area of public life such as employment, education, provision of goods and services and accommodation”, (ACT Human Rights Commission).


When going through your screening process, taking the following steps can help to ensure you are not discriminating against any prospective tenants:

  • Operate in accordance with fair housing laws: Research local, state, and federal fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination against protected classes in housing and make sure your screening process does not violate these laws. For instance, The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 is the law that governs renting in the Australian Capital Territory and provides a “balanced framework” to protect both landlords and tenants (ACT Government).

  • Avoid discriminatory language: When writing up rental ads and communications, use inclusive language and do not imply a preference for or against particular groups of people.

  • Use objective criteria: Develop objective criteria based on factors such as rental history, credit history, and income to evaluate if a tenant is suited to the property. Avoid subjective factors like ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

  • Apply the same criteria to all applicants consistently and ensure inclusivity in your evaluations.


9.    What are Some Common Mistakes Landlords Make During Tenant Screening?


Tenant screening is vital to ensure you have someone staying on your property who is reliable and you can trust. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for tenants to make mistakes during the screening process, leading to issues down the line. Common mistakes include:

  • Not carrying out background checks – These are vital for providing tenant histories such as criminal charges, rental history and credit scores. Avoid this mistake by conducting thorough tenant screenings yourself or through your property manager.

  • Failing to check references: While it might be tempting to overlook checking tenant references, such as from previous landlords and employers, this can be detrimental as it is a missed opportunity to learn vital information about a tenant’s reliability, payment history or overall behaviour. Always ask for references and follow referees up with questions about the tenant’s ability to pay rent on time and how they took care of the previous property.

  • Not carrying out interviews – Meeting a prospective tenant in person, over the phone or via Zoom is important to determine if you are both on the same wavelength. Are they looking for short-term accommodation while you’re seeking a long-term tenant? Talking to the candidate can help you get to know them a little and allow you to ask valuable questions.

  • Rushing the process: While you may be eager to fill a vacancy quickly, carrying out a thorough screening will allow you to gain all the information you need to avoid problem tenants.


10.     How Can Landlords use Tenant Screening to Improve the Rental Experience?


As explained, tenant screening is the process of interviewing and evaluating prospective tenants before renting out your property. Tenant screening involves carrying out various vital steps, such as requesting information on or carrying out the following:

  • Rental history

  • Background checks

  • Contacting references

  • Credit history

  • Employment status

  • Criminal records

  • And more


A thorough tenant screening should be in no way discriminatory but should help to identify any red flags that could indicate a candidate may be unreliable or unwilling to take care of your property.

Tenant screening helps to ensure that you find a reliable tenant, promotes a safe environment for neighbours and fellow tenants and ensures that you and your tenant want the same things.

Carrying out tenant screening can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. So, it’s highly advisable to hire a property manager to assist with screening, continued property maintenance, and communication with tenants.

If you have any questions about tenant screening or property management, please contact Jonny Warren by filling out this form, calling 0431 797 891 or emailing jonny@jonnywarren.com.au. Alternatively, you can contact us for a rental appraisal, and we’ll be more than happy to get back to you.

How You Can Benefit From Accepting Pets in Your Rental Property

How You Can Benefit From Accepting Pets in Your Rental Property

How You Can Benefit From Accepting Pets in Your Rental Property

As a landlord, it would be unsurprising if you’ve found yourself feeling hesitant when it comes to accepting pets into your rental property. It’s not uncommon for property owners to have the same concerns. Potential for damage, issues around liability, and worries about hygiene, odour and noise, are common. While these are all valid anxieties, it’s important to know that not allowing pets in your rental property may cost you in the long run.

Consider this – most pet owners consider their pets part of the family and wouldn’t contemplate renting without them. Furthermore, a 2022 report by Animal Medicines Australia found that 69% of homes across Australia are now home to one or more pets.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why accepting pets in your rental may attract more renters, especially those willing to rent more long-term. In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages of renting to pet owners and offer tips for landlords to ensure the safety of their rental properties.


Benefits Of Allowing Pets In Your Rental


You May Attract More Tenants 


Accepting pets in your rental property can attract a wider pool of potential tenants, as many pet owners struggle to find pet-friendly housing. The above-mentioned report by Animal Medicines Australia found that one of the primary barriers to renters and apartment dwellers acquiring one pet or expanding on their current animal family was constraints put in place by landlords, body corporates and strata laws.

Another report by Animal Medicines Australia entitled Pets and the Pandemic, found that there had been an increase in pet ownership from 61% – 68% from 2019 – 2021, with 70% of all pet owners surveyed saying that owning a pet had improved their lives during Covid-19. With the rise in pet ownership and the strengthening of animal-human bonds, it’s clear that more and more Australians are investing their time and money in pets. By opening your rental property to pets, you can enter a previously untapped market and quickly increase your chances of finding a suitable tenant. In fact, many qualified tenants won’t even consider renting property unless they can do so with a pet. Additionally, many pet owners are willing to pay higher rent to secure rental properties that accommodate their furry friends.


Improving Quality of Life


The Pets and the Pandemic report also found significant connections between pet ownership and mental health. In fact, in conducted focus groups, it was almost unanimously agreed that participants experienced great emotional and social benefits from owning pets and even advocated for non-pet owners to experience it for themselves.

Pets can provide companionship and security for tenants, especially those who live alone. By accepting pets in your rental property, you can promote a better quality of life for your tenants and increase overall satisfaction with their living arrangements. On top of that, a happy tenant is much more likely to renew their lease and recommend your rental property to others. And so, by allowing the flexibility of pet-owning to renters, you help to ensure a healthy relationship with your tenant and may even convince them to stay longer.


Addressing Potential Downsides


Of course, there are a number of potential downsides to allowing pets in your rental property. Obvious downsides to consider include:

  • Noise complaints – such as barking

  • Damage to the property – such as urination on carpets

  • Odours – such as from litter boxes and lack of appropriate grooming

  • Injuries to other tenants or neighbours

While these issues can be a cause for concern, the majority of them can be combated by a proper tenant screening  process and by making pet-specific stipulations to your rental agreement. For example, you may restrict the ownership of certain aggressive breeds of dogs as well as the number of pets allowed in your rental. You may even choose to only allow cats on the property, rather than dogs, or vice versa, as well as advising that any damage to property will be deducted from your tenant’s deposit. Other guidelines you may consider in your tenancy agreement include those regarding waste cleanup and pet behaviour.

Placing stipulations such as these in the rental agreement allows you to give your tenant a degree of freedom when it comes to pet ownership, keeping your property desirable and ensuring tenants are happy, while giving you peace of mind.

As mentioned, a thorough tenant screening process is vital to ensuring you don’t encounter pet-related issues with future tenants, and it’s advisable to hire a Property Manager to carry this out, as well as the overall general management of the property.


Legal Considerations For Landlords Regarding Pets


There are legal considerations that landlords should be aware of when accepting pets in your rental property. Some states have specific pet-related laws and regulations that must be followed. For example, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), “a lessor can apply to refuse a tenant’s request to keep a pet at a rental property under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997” (ACT Government). However, if you do give consent to keep a pet on the property, you are legally allowed to place certain conditions on your consent. Furthermore, if a tenant disagrees with a decision you make regarding pet ownership, they may apply to ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to resolve the dispute.

As mentioned, these stipulations apply to ACT, so it is advisable to consult your state or territory’s government website for the correct legal information. By taking legal considerations into account and implementing proper precautions, landlords can successfully rent to pet owners while protecting their rental properties.


How To Market Your Rental Property As Pet-Friendly


To attract more tenants, consider marketing your rental as pet-friendly. You can do this by advertising on pet-related websites and social media platforms, as well as including information on your listing. Be sure to mention that your property is pet-friendly, and if you’re working with a property manager, inform them. You can even add information to your listing about what makes the local area ideal for pets, such as the locations of nearby veterinarians, dog-friendly cafes and restaurants, or top dog parks.

Think about installing amenities in your property that show you are open to renters with pets. Consider adding a cat flap, low-maintenance flooring, and fencing off the garden to create a dog-friendly play area. You should also consider including photos of the property’s outdoor space or trails in the area to immediately communicate that your property is open to all. By taking just a few small steps, you can open your property to a host of trusted candidates.


Final Thoughts


If you’re a property owner feeling anxious about renting to pet owners, it might be time to reconsider your thoughts on the matter. Landlords who are willing to take the necessary precautions can actually expand on their pool of potential candidates. By carrying out a thorough tenant screening process and adding pet-specific prerequisites to your rental agreement, you can ensure tenants are happy while minimising potential issues. Additionally, marketing your rental property as pet-friendly can attract more tenants and even ensure that they  choose to stay longer.

Managing a rental property can be a lot of work, especially when you are working around a busy life schedule. At Jonny Warren Properties, we take the hassle out of property management, leaving you free to enjoy what matters. Contact us or call us on 0431 797 891. Alternatively, you can email us at jonny@jonnywarren.com.au.

How to Choose a Property Manager

How to Choose a Property Manager

How to Choose a Property Manager

Owning an investment property can be a great way to build wealth and in order to maximise your return on your investment it’s important to choose the right property manager.

 A bad property manager will cause you unnecessary stress and hassle, while a good property manager is worth their weight in gold. A good property manager will make your life easier by taking care of finding quality tenants, handling the paperwork and dealing with day-to-day issues like repairs and maintenance.

 Choosing a property manager that’s experienced, trustworthy and responsive means you can relax, safe in the knowledge that your investment is in great hands.

So, given their importance, you might be wondering how to find a property manager.

Here are five tips to point you in the right direction.

1. Check Your Property Manager’s Reviews and Testimonials 

The best way to find a property manager is by checking out what other people have to say about the quality of their service. Ask for references from past clients and check online reviews to gauge the property manager’s reputation.

2. Look for Local Experience

Your property manager should know the local rental market inside out, so they can advise you on everything from the rent you should charge to the trades you should use for repairs and maintenance. 

3. Review their Marketing Efforts

Your property manager will be responsible for marketing your rental, so you want to make sure they know how to find quality tenants. The best way of checking this is to see how they advertise the other rental properties on their book. Pay attention to the listing description and the quality of the images. 

4. Listen to your Instincts

A property management company may seem fantastic when you’re doing your research, but nothing beats meeting the team in person. First impressions count, after all. What’s more, how they interact with you will likely be how they interact with your tenants, so you want to make sure they are friendly, professional, responsive and great communicators.

5. Read the T&Cs

A good property management company should have nothing to hide, so they should be upfront about their fees and any other crucial details. That said, you should always read the terms and conditions carefully before you sign a property management contract.




Questions to Ask a Property Manager

Want to know how to find a good property manager? 

Well, once you’ve identified a few candidates, you should ask them several questions to help narrow down your choice. Here are some suggestions:

  • Can you tell us about your experience managing properties similar to ours?
  • How do you screen prospective tenants?
  • How do you handle rent collections and late payments?
  • How do you handle maintenance and repair requests from tenants?
  • Can you provide references from past clients?
  • How many properties do you manage as a company?
  • How do you communicate with landlords and keep them informed of any issues?
  • What are your fees for property management services and what do they cover?
  • Why should I choose you over a competitor?
  • Can you provide a sample of your standard lease agreement and explain any changes you would make for our property?

 Remember to ask follow-up questions and clarify any points that are not clear. The goal of the interview is to get a good understanding of the property manager’s skills and methods, so you can make an informed decision about who to hire.

At Jonny Warren Properties, we offer top-quality property management services for investors in and outside of Canberra. Get in touch by filling in this form, calling 0431 797 891 or emailing jonny@jonnywarren.com.au.

Top 5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Tenants

Top 5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Tenants

Top 5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Tenants

When it comes to renting out your property and getting your home ready for tenants, the task isn’t as simple as doing some cleaning and taking the right pictures.

It takes a significant amount of thought and care to prepare and perfect your property if you want to reap all the benefits of having a high-quality listing and a well-maintained home.

If you’re currently planning to rent out your flat or that spare room you have in your apartment, our Canberra property management team have revealed some tips to go about making your house more attractive?

After all, you want to ensure you get the highest price possible and the best tenants you can find (and keep them there.)

It’s not enough to just catch the attention of people as they’re scrolling through listings. You want them to like what they see so much that they just have to see it in person.

This, however, is a complex equation. But today, our Canberra property managers are here to help you solve it.

Explore our FIVE tips on how to get your home ready for rental, and you will be guaranteed to dazzle new home-hunters, get a greater price, and land better tenants.

Let’s get started!



Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room – major repairs.

Right before you move out is perhaps the perfect time for you to go through your home and make sure everything is in perfect condition.

This includes all appliances, all maintenance systems, and every outlet, light, faucet, or window in your home.

Our Canberra property management team believe it’s best to let a professional handle any major works. And since you’re focused on moving, you might not have time to keep all these items and systems in check.

Repairing any major problems on appliances or installations is not a plus, it’s an absolute must. This includes clogged gutters, broken outlets, a leaky roof, switches that don’t work, doors that creek, and more. Replace any broken furniture so you make sure every fitting is in great condition. Make sure all your smoke detectors are working. Equip your kitchen with a fire extinguisher. And have your heating system service checked just in case.

It’s vital that you make sure all of these appliances and installations function properly before your first tenant moves in.

If your tenant moves into your home and they don’t feel like it was very well taken care of before they moved in, they’re less likely to pay a higher price, and they’re much less likely to take good care of your property while they’re there.



Once all of the major repairs in your home are taken care of, what you will want to do is handle all the regular maintenance tasks just so you make sure that your home is in perfect condition before anyone moves in.

Some of these will include:

  • Changing the air filters in your HVAC
  • Changing the batteries in your smoke detectors
  • Cleaning all the gutters
  • Planting extra grass seeds on blank spots on your lawn
  • Filling in salt in your water softener
  • Replacing any missing hardware in your kitchen (handles, doorstops, doorknobs, etc.)
  • & more!

Furthermore, you will want to leave all your utility deposits with your utility company.

This means that if a tenant moves out during the cold months of Winter, you can call your utility companies so they can turn on your electricity/water so your pipes don’t freeze.

And by doing all of this now, it will be easier for you to hold your tenants accountable for doing these small maintenance tasks.

That’s why you want to ensure that you’ve done everything to the best of your ability – so you know you’re letting tenants in a clean, ready, well-maintained home.



Speaking of cleaning, this is perhaps one of the most vital parts of your journey as a renter. Nobody is going to think twice about moving into a property that isn’t clean, has mould in the bathroom, a kitchen coated in grease, carpets that look dusty, or anything along those lines.

Doing a deep clean is perhaps the easiest, and some will argue, the most important thing you can do when you’re preparing your house for renters.

Consider hiring a professional to perform a deep clean. Hiring a professional will allow you to reach a higher degree of sanitation that you’d have to work hard to achieve on your own. They’ll be able to reach spots you usually can’t reach, and they’ll cover difficult spots such as behind your oven and your window tracks and sills.

This extra cleanliness makes an immediate impression, and the cleaner the house, the better it will show.

A cleaning professional is your best choice here as they will take care of everything for you – from the floors, windows, carpets, and blinds all the way to the bathrooms. And don’t forget the outsides of your home – lawns still need to be mowed, and you still have to add flowers to your patio for a nice touch.



When you first become a landlord, you will want to contact your home insurance service provider (or your mortgage lender) and let them know that you’ll no longer be living there.

Your insurance company may then change up your policy to protect you from damages caused by tenants because your regular homeowner’s insurance may not be enough to cover that.

This may also be a great time for you to shop around for better insurance rates. If one company can get you a better landlord’s insurance than the one you’re currently using, we suggest making this move if you want to save some money and ensure yourself (and your property) better security.



One of the best things you can do to guarantee yourself (and your tenants) a great renting experience is to just hire a quality property manager. If you ever move out of your city or area, and you need a manager to take care of your properties while you’re gone and make sure everything is running smoothly, this is your best choice.

Managers will inspect your property thoroughly and hold tenants accountable. You’ll have easy access to all the latest information about what’s going on in and outside your property. If you’re thinking about renting, you can trust that a property manager will ensure your property is safe and protected at all times.