Here’s what ACT residential lessors (landlords) understand very well:
Traditionally Canberra’s rental market sees considerable seasonal fluctuation. The transient nature of the population regularly sees high prices and strong competition for vacant properties in the Summer months, particularly around January when everyone is moving in and out of town.
Here’s what ACT residential lessors (landlords) rarely know:
Beyond the initial fixed term (usually 12 months) there is little you can do to control when the tenants vacate. You cannot force existing tenants to sign a lease renewal, and if they choose to remain on a periodic tenancy they can leave at any time by giving 3 weeks notice.
Scared that their tenants might move out when the market is slower, owners often surmise that they should get rid of those tenants to find someone willing to commit to a new 12 month term; and many are shocked when they are told that they have to give the tenants 26 weeks notice if they don’t have a valid reason (eg moving in or selling the property).
“Why?” or “That’s not fair” are the usual owner responses to this. Let me explain why…
The legislation is generally weighted to ensure that the tenants have some protection against owners who make decisions based on the business of owning an investment property, without due consideration for the human factor.
Ironically these are often the same people who believe that the banks are faceless corporations hell-bent on gouging every dollar from mortgagees, yet when they have to make decisions relating to their investment property they treat their tenants worse than the banks could ever get away with.
So this is a gentle reminder to Canberran lessors – your investment property is not just a business, it is someone’s home. If they treat it well, pay their rent and cause you no issues then they certainly deserve to be considered when you are making decisions that will affect their lives.
If you can’t afford to wear a short period of vacancy because the tenants move out during the quiet time of year, or if you can’t afford to lose a few dollars a week in rent to secure tenants outside of the summer-time-wallet-gouge, then you probably can’t afford to own an investment property.
And let’s not forget – any property marketed at the right price will be tenanted fairly promptly in Canberra, regardless of the season. If you’re sitting on a vacant property it’s probably because you are trying to screw tenants out of more money than the place is actually worth.
[Photo used by permission of Stuart Miles]