I like to have about five weeks to advertise a rental property and find a good tenant. That does not mean it takes us five weeks to find a tenant. It usually takes us about two weeks to find a good tenant. You can read a bit about where to advise for a tenant here.
No need to read further. That is the answer. Five weeks. But OK, why five weeks. It sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? What you need to realise is that we usually need to show the rental property to a bunch of tenants. Then, among those prospective tenants, only a few will apply. And, any of those or none of them may be suitable for various reasons. It’s not just a case of “great someone applied. They can have it”. We need time to find a good tenant.
Then once we do, they often need to give notice where they are residing right now. But also we don’t want a large space where the property is sitting empty for a long time when the old tenant moves out. That is expensive for the landlord. So, doing these five weeks prior creates time to plan and place the new tenant as soon as the old one vacates.
CAN YOU ADVERTISE THE RENTAL PROPERTY EARLIER THAN 5 WEEKS BEFORE THE END OF THE TENANCY PERIOD?
Of course, you can advertise the rental property five weeks prior. In fact, I have advertised some properties property earlier than that.
However, I have found that it is just too early. Usually, tenants don’t plan that far ahead. They start looking for a new rental property only when their lease will expire soon. For this, they need a new rental property sooner than 6 or 8 weeks’ time away.
So, advertising your rental property before five weeks is really negative as most tenants don’t enquire that early. And, when the property is in the sweet spot of 4 weeks, tenants have seen it and only think negative about the property. They would probably think that something must be wrong with it because that property has been around now for a few weeks.
CAN YOU ADVERTISE THE RENTAL PROPERTY WHEN THE TENANCY PERIOD IS LESS THAN FIVE WEEKS AWAY?
The answer to this question would be a big yes! We have experience in placing quality tenants in a rental property in just a few days. The main role is played by your advertising strategy and if your tenant database is up to date. We’ve placed tenants within three days at a push.
If a tenant unexpectedly gives you 2 weeks’ notice you now have 14 days prior to the tenants’ vacate date. However, you need to be prepared for the fact that your property can sit vacant for some time. Yes, if you advertise the property this late, there are chances that you will be with no tenant since you need to check the condition of the property and find the appropriate tenant. It could take time.
So, it’s my preference to avoid this situation because 2 weeks at $500 a week and you, the landlord, has just lost $1,000 income. Yikes!
SHOULD YOU WAIT FOR THE TENANT TO VACATE?
Ideally no. But sometimes you have no choice. If the current tenant is hostile or presents the property very poorly, then you should wait before showing the property to new prospects. This is because, considering the current condition of the property, you may struggle to find a new good tenant. I’m saying this because, if your tenants don’t keep your property clean and in good condition, you will find it pretty difficult to convince tenants to make it their new home.
There are chances that the property may need a new carpet or perhaps paint. Since this would take a lot of your time and could cost you money, considering this reason, this should really be the last resort as then you may be looking at the property sitting empty for 4 to 6 weeks. It could cost you up to $3,000 at $500 per week of income.
WHAT ACCESS DO YOU HAVE TO SHOW NEW TENANTS?
Here on the Sunshine Coast Qld Australia and, in fact, all of Qld, we can’t legally have open homes unless the tenant agrees. You can read a bit more about that here.
However, we can show the property to a tenant via private inspection with 24 hours notice. So, what do I do? I have open homes three times a week and explain to the tenant it would be easier to push all tenants to these three times for 15 minutes each instead of multiple private inspections at any time through the week Mon to Sat. It is convenient for both Asset Agents and tenants.
I should mention too you can’t have excessive private inspections. Yes, refrain yourself from organising too many private inspections, let us say, 5 days a week, as you don’t want to affect the privacy of current tenants. The legislation doesn’t outline what excessive is. But in my opinion, organising private inspections one day a week is fine, whereas bringing new tenants four days a week is overly excessive.
To keep the situation light, I seek advice from tenants as well. I try not to tell them what will be happening, instead ask, advise, and recommend, so it’s a bit of a joint effort, and we all get along.
WHEN DO I STOP SHOWING THE PROPERTY?
You should keep showing the property until a tenant has signed a lease since there are times when tenants are just on a hunt for a property, and they usually approve the property verbally. But since they have not signed the lease, when they come across a better property, they go for the latter option.
I have been in such a situation many times. I have had very excited tenants. But when we send them the lease, they instantly changed their mind. Because of this experience, I make sure not to stop showing the rental property. So I keep showing the property until the tenant has signed the lease and paid two weeks of rent in advance. They usually do this fairly fast. So showing tenants stops fairly quickly. I don’t want to stuff new tenants around, or the old ones or myself either. Ha
And since the tenant has legal protection without the legal agreement, you cannot do anything in such cases. So, it is necessary that you give your new tenants a tenancy agreement before being committed to the tenancy or paying any money.
HOW DO NOTICE TO LEAVE WORKS?
If the lease is coming to an end, tenants should give a two-week notice to leave. For this, you need to fill this RTA form. Be it the periodic agreement or fixed-term agreement; you can use this form to end the agreement. Even if the lease is periodic, they should give the same notice period. But for landlords, this is a bad thing. Two weeks is a very short time to find a quality tenant.
However, if the tenants are in the middle of a lease, then they cannot do this, and instead, they would need to break the lease, which is a totally different thing. You can read more about periodic leases here.
On the contrary, if you, the landlord, need your tenants to vacate your property, you need to give them notice of at least 2 months. Even if the lease is expiring, you need to follow the same procedure. This is the primary reason why we give this notice 2 months before the lease expires. We should also make them sign a new lease at least 2 months before.
If you have any questions about advertising your investment property, or you are still unclear about the best actions and time frames to take, feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to give you free help and guidance.
The main message is you need to follow legislation but not leave it too late where your investment property is then sitting empty. As an investor, it is about maximising your return and empty investment property is the fastest way to wipe your yearly profits.
Ensure you’ve supplied the tenant the correct forms or they you. Ensure the dates are correct too. You may wish to share this article about what they need to do when they vacate to give them the best chance to get their bond back too when they do leave.
Lastly, if you want your tenants to vacate the property, you need to give them notice of at least 2 months. You can access the official RTA form here. And, if tenants want to leave and their lease is ending, they are required to serve a notice period of at least two weeks.
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