Renter Handbook

Welcome to Kay & Burton

We trust you will enjoy your new home and the amenities of your local area.

This handbook provides you with some additional information to ensure your tenancy and move are as smooth and fuss-free as possible.

The enjoyment of your home and your continued tenure are important to us as your managing agent. Your feedback throughout the tenancy is invaluable to ensure your property is well maintained and that your experience with Kay & Burton is an enjoyable one.

We believe every property is a home worthy of respect and we ensure both renter and owner are equally serviced with that in mind.

Kay & Burton has a wide network of dedicated professionals and an impeccable portfolio of expert management services committed to exceptional customer service across the real estate spectrum. Kay & Burton Concierge offers a range of services you can access any time. Please see our website and reach out if they can be of service.

If you have questions or something you would like to discuss, your property manager will always be willing to help.

We look forward to working with you.

The Kay & Burton Property Management Team

Table of Contents

Commencing your tenancy

Contents insurance

Kay & Burton strongly advise you take out a relevant renter’s contents insurance policy for the duration of your tenancy. It is important to note, the Owner Building Insurance policy will not cover any damage to or theft of your contents.

Furthermore, renter’s insurance will often provide additional protection against damage to the property by your appliances. For example, a leak from your washing machine.

Please ask your property manager if you’d like to be referred to one of our preferred providers.

Concierge services

Kay & Burton Concierge exists in support of our clients’ property-related and lifestyle needs through a global network of partners, advisors and skilled professionals. Our network of qualified professionals are subject to the highest service standards and professional codes of conduct and span a diverse range of services including, but not limited to; moving services, trades, cleaners, storage, pet walkers and gardening.

If you would like to discuss your needs, please contact our Concierge consultants on 03 9825 2000 or visit kayburton.com.au/concierge

Renting a home—a guide for renters

A copy of the Renting A Home: A Guide For Renters booklet has been provided with your tenancy agreement. This booklet contains further information relating to the Residential Tenancies Act and your tenancy. Please ensure you read the guide, which may provide answers to any further queries you may have.

Condition report

On the day your tenancy starts, you will receive an email containing your Condition Report, including supporting photographs that we retain on file.

The Condition Report records the general condition of the property before the tenant takes occupation of the rented premises. It is imperative that you check the Condition Report against the property and note any required changes.

The Condition Report is important and will be used to determine the release of your bond at the end of your tenancy. The report can be used as evidence in the event of a dispute over who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacement of missing items.

During your tenancy

Your property manager

Once you have obtained the keys to the property, your main point of contact will be your nominated property manager.

It is the renter’s responsibility to keep the property clean and to meet their financial obligations.

It is the rental provider’s responsibility to see that the property is maintained and to ensure you have quiet enjoyment of the property.

Kay & Burton is appointed by the rental provider to act on their behalf, and as such are always subject to their legal instructions. We encourage all parties to maintain prompt and honest communication at all times for a smooth tenancy.

Your property manager is here to assist you during your tenancy. Should you have any issues, queries or concerns, always liaise directly with your property manager for assistance. It is always best to communicate in writing or via email.

Your privacy

Kay & Burton is bound by privacy laws and can only utilise your information for the purposes of effectively managing the tenancy. Your information may be passed onto third-party suppliers in the event maintenance is required at the property and a trades person needs to contact the renter for access. More information on our privacy policy can be found at kayburton.com.au or on your tenancy application which you lodged with Kay & Burton.

Paying rent

It is the renter’s legal responsibility to pay rent on or before the due date in advance, in accordance with the rental agreement. You must continue paying the rent until the tenancy ends. It is important that the full and correct amount is paid and sharing renters should ensure that part payments are organised between the renters and paid in one lump sum by the due date.

Kay & Burton’s preferred method of payment is BPAY. You will be provided with our BPAY details at the commencement of your tenancy. Please be mindful that BPAY payments can take two days to clear, we suggest you make payment prior to the due date to allow for the clearance period.

Please note, many property owners have financial commitments to meet and they rely on rent being paid on time.

Keys, locks & remotes

While Kay & Burton makes every effort to ensure all keys from previous occupants of the property are returned to our office, we cannot guarantee that we hold the only copies. We strongly advise the new renter have all locks re-keyed at the commencement of their tenancy (however, this may not be possible with security keys) and supply a copy to the property manager.

If you do change the locks at any time, a spare key must be provided to Kay & Burton as per the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act.

  • In the event that additional keys are required for the property, it is your responsibility to arrange for these to be cut by a locksmith.
  • If the keys are ‘restricted keys’ or ‘security keys’ obtainable only through the Owners Corporation or the building manager the renter(s) will be responsible for covering the cost of the additional keys in full.
  • All additional keys must be returned to Kay & Burton at the end of the tenancy for security reasons. There will be no refund for any additional keys purchased.
  • In the event that additional remotes are required, these will need to be paid for in full by the renter. All additional remotes will need to be returned to Kay & Burton at the end of the tenancy for security reasons. There will be no refund for any additional remotes purchased.

Pets

If you have a pet, you are required to disclose this on your tenancy application at the time you apply for the property.

If you would like to get a pet during your tenancy you must make a written request to your property manager to obtain permission. If you keep a pet that causes damage or nuisance, or is interfering with the reasonable peace and comfort of neighbours, you can be issued with a breach of duty notice.

Please be aware some Owners Corporations have strict policies prohibiting the keeping of pets in some buildings.

If the owner allows you to have a pet you must sign a special condition which will be added to your tenancy agreement confirming your responsibilities.

Transfer of tenancy

Only the people listed on the rental application form and approved by the owner are allowed to reside at the property. Any changes or additions of new residents to the tenancy must follow due process. You should notify your property manager in writing at the earliest opportunity to ensure Kay & Burton can provide you with the correct guidance and advice. If a transfer application is approved by the owner, Kay & Burton is required to ensure the appropriate documentation is completed to reflect any changes to the tenancy.

Owners corporation

If you have leased an apartment or townhouse it is likely the common areas of the property are governed by an Owners Corporation (OC). It is important you abide by the rules and guidelines set out by the OC and provided in your rental agreement during your tenancy. If you would like further information, please contact your property manager.

Rent increases

The Residential Tenancies Act allows rental providers to issue a notice of rent increase every 12 months, provided the renter is given 60 days’ notice of the rental increase.

It can be beneficial to renew your tenancy for a further fixed term once the initial agreement has expired as the rental will be set at a fixed amount for the continued period.

Please refer to the Consumer Affairs booklet provided to find out what you can do if you think a rent increase is excessive.

Entry to the premises

During the course of your tenancy, the rental provider and/or Kay & Burton may require access to the premises. Kay & Burton will ensure appropriate notice is given prior to access.

Routine inspections

During the term of your rental agreement, routine inspections will be conducted periodically to make note of any maintenance issues and to ensure the property is well maintained.

It is recommended the property is well presented for the inspection as photos will be taken to form part of the report Kay & Burton provides to the owner. On occasion, the owner may also wish to be present for the inspection.

Kay & Burton will provide you with the required notice when access is required for a routine inspection. These are generally undertaken three months after the tenancy commencement and then every six months thereafter.

Dispute resolution

Clear and accurate communication is often the key to ensuring a dispute does not arise.

In the unlikely event of a dispute, we always encourage renters to work with their property manager to come to an amicable solution.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter may be referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

At any time if you find the service provided to you by Kay & Burton has not been as you would expect, your feedback is greatly encouraged. Your feedback is invaluable to help us to continually improve our service and communication to our clients.

Maintaining the property

Smoke detectors

We ask you make every reasonable effort to ensure the smoke detectors fitted inside the premises are operational during the course of your tenancy. Please ensure the batteries are always replaced when required. Should it be found that a smoke detector is faulty or not operational after the batteries have been replaced, please contact Kay & Burton immediately so action can be promptly taken.

Some rental providers employ the services of contractors to attend to an annual check of the smoke alarms within their property to ensure they are still working effectively and do not require replacement. If the service has been engaged, you will be contacted to make arrangements to the access the property to check the installed smoke alarms are compliant and operational.

Filters for heating/air conditioning units

It is your responsibility to ensure, where accessible, any heating/air-conditioning unit filters are cleaned and washed on a monthly to three-monthly basis depending on the volume of use. If a repair is required to the unit due to blockage of the filters, the cost of the repair may be borne by the renter. If you are unsure how to clean the filters please refer to the instruction manuals for your heating/air-conditioning unit or contact your property manager.

Gas or electrical appliances

The renter has a responsibility to report any concerns with gas or electrical appliances immediately. Governing legislation requires gas and electrical safety is inspected for compliance every two years. Please ensure you are satisfied that all gas appliances are operating safely and discuss any concerns with your property manager.

Garden maintenance

Unless otherwise specified in your rental agreement, it is your responsibility to water and mow lawns, prune trees and shrubs, and maintain garden beds on a regular basis throughout the tenancy. Kay & Burton Concierge has a list of gardeners whose services can be employed by the renter.

Pools & spas

If you are renting a property that has a pool or spa, it is imperative that the fence or safety barriers are secure for you and others who may visit the property, especially children. All doors and gates that provide access to the pool or spa must be installed with self-closing and selflatching devices.

The Victorian Building Authority recommends the following;

  • Self-closing and self-latching devices on pools and spas are working properly.
  • Gates are not propped open.
  • No items that could be used to climb the barrier (e.g. tree branches, pool pumps, pot plants) are within 900mm of the gate or fence.

Renters should ensure all gates to the swimming pool area remain closed at all times except when entering or leaving the area. Kay & Burton asks that you notify your property manager immediately of any faults or concerns with pool or spa fences, doors or gates. Please note, renters must fence any pool that exceeds a depth of 30cm and all safety legislation applies. Please consult your property manager before erecting any type of pool.

If a pool safety inspection is required, you will be contacted to provide access. We take the matter of renter safety very seriously and urge you to assist promptly.

Please refer to your rental agreement which will specify who is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of your pool or spa.

General repairs

It is a provision in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 that you notify your property manager of any need for repairs or any damage caused to the property.

Kay & Burton has an expert team of qualified tradespeople to carry out repairs and maintenance. Please advise your property manager immediately of any problem so it can be addressed as soon as possible. All repair requests are required in writing; we suggest an email to your property manager as the most effective way to report any maintenance items.

Urgent repairs

In the event of an after-hours urgent repair, it is important you first contact Kay & Burton for instructions and assistance. An urgent repair is classified as one of the following;

  • Burst water service
  • Blocked or broken toilet system
  • Serious roof leak
  • Gas leak
  • Dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Serious storm or fire damage
  • An essential service or appliance for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering is not working
  • The gas, electricity or water supply is not working
  • A cooling appliance or service provided by the rental provider is not working
  • The property does not meet minimum standards
  • A safety-related device, such as a smoke alarm or pool fence, is not working
  • An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working and causes a lot of water to be wasted
  • Any fault or damage in the property that makes it unsafe or insecure, including pests, mould or damp caused by or related to the building structure
  • A serious problem with a lift or staircase

Only in the event that an urgent repair is required outside business hours where your property manager cannot be reasonably contacted are you authorised to contact our after-hours emergency tradespeople as per your tenancy agreement.

Please find preferred emergency contractors on our website at kayburton.com.au. We ask in the event of an emergency you attempt to contact the contractors used by the office you are leasing through.

For further information regarding urgent repairs please refer to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 or the Consumer Affairs booklet you have been provided.

Maintenance FAQ/troubleshooting

Electrical

Some/all of my power outlets/lights are not working?

Look for the switchboard. This is usually located in the apartment or house. On occasion it can be located on the outside wall of a house or within the garage. Once located, check if any of the switches are off. If so, turn it back on the see if the power returns. If the problem remains/reoccurs, or the switch turns straight back off, please see below.

If YES

If the problem is with a safety switch, often labelled as “residual current device”, which will not stay on, disconnect all appliances, then try and turn the safety switch on again. If this works and the switch remains on, it generally means one of the appliances is faulty and it will need to be disposed of or repaired. It is a process of elimination to find which appliance is faulty by plugging one in at a time until the switch trips again. If the safety switch keeps tripping with all appliances disconnected, please call your property manager.

If there is a circuit that will not stay on please call your property manager.

If there is no power anywhere in the house call the power provider of the area to check if there is any outage in the street. The details of the provider are often located on the power meter and is usually either Citipower or SPAusnet. If there is no fault on their system, please call your property manager.

Should we call an electrician to attend the premises and a renter’s appliance is the cause of the fault, the renter may be held responsible for the cost.

Oven/appliances

Is there power to the appliance?

If NO

Check the switchboard to ensure all switches are in the “on” position.

Check for switches near the appliance, above the bench, in a cupboard or for a power point with an extra switch in the middle or check there is no lead unplugged from a power point.

If you have checked the above and found no issues please call your property manager.

Oven – if the dial is set on auto, it will only work with a timer. Set the dial or electronic display to manual. The symbol is usually a hand. If the oven is still not working, i.e. there is no power or no heating, please call your property manager.

Oven – if it does not heat up, please call your property manager once you have eliminated any troubleshooting tips in the manuals provided or found online.

Air conditioning

If your air-conditioning unit appears to be losing effectiveness it is usually due to a build-up of dust on the filters.

Split system: pull the filter out gently, carefully ensuring the vent behind it is not damaged. Rinse the filter in a sink or tub using a little dishwashing liquid and a soft brush to get any additional dirt out. Allow the filters to dry naturally. Once the filter is dry go over it with a dust buster or the hose of a vacuum cleaner to remove any residual dirt. Once the filter is clean and dry, snap it back into the unit.

Ducted system: unscrew the retaining nut. The frame will hinge downward exposing the filter. Slide the filter free from the frame. Hose the filter from the clean site until all the dust is removed. Then hose from the other direction. Shake off any excess water and leave to dry naturally. Once it is completely dry, re-install the filter to the frame, close the frame and screw back together.

Hot water service

Is there a circuit at the switchboard labelled HWS or Hot Water?

If NO

Assuming the switchboard is compliant and labelled correctly the hot water unit must be gas. However power may be required for some gas units to operate. Check all switches are in the “on” position on the switchboard.

If YES

If the circuit is off please contact your property manager.

If you have just moved in but the circuit is on the unit may be an off-peak unit and only turns on to heat up at night. To check this go to the meter and see if there is a HWS boost button there. If so, activate the boost as per the instructions on the meter and wait for half an hour to see if the water has warmed. If it hasn’t please call your property manager.

If the hot water service is gas it will generally have a pilot light that may require lighting. There is usually a panel to the side of the hot water service that you can remove. Instructions on how to light a pilot light are usually located inside this panel if required. If a plumber is called and the problem is found to be an extinguished pilot light, the renter may be held responsible for the cost.

Ending your rental agreement

End of your lease

If you wish to sign a further fixed-term rental agreement at the expiry of your current tenancy, please advise your property manager so arrangements can be made by negotiation with the owner.

Once your current fixed-term rental agreement expires it will automatically convert to a periodic tenancy until terminated by either the renter or the rental provider, serving the required notice as per the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Vacating the property

Should you wish to vacate the property at the expiry of your fixed-term lease agreement, you must provide at least 28 days’ written notice to Kay & Burton prior to your vacating date. We ask that you ensure our office has received this in writing.

It is important to note, rent will always be charged up until the day all keys and remotes are returned to our office or until the expiration of your agreement or notice (whichever occurs last).

If you are vacating the property before the end of your fixed term, you will be breaking your lease. Please see Breaking The Lease, opposite.

Breaking the lease

Kay & Burton will always assist should you find it necessary to break your agreement and leave prior to expiry. If you find this action is required, please notify your property manager immediately. There will be some fees involved when breaking your lease that are stipulated within your rental agreement.

The fees are as follows:

  1. The rent must be paid up until a new renter is found or the expiry of your fixed-term agreement (whichever occurs first). You may also be responsible for any difference or shortfall of rent if the property is re-let at a lower rate.
  2. Marketing costs incurred.
  3. Pro-rata letting fee.

Please note, breaking a renewal agreement will usually incur less fees.

Notice by owner – end of tenancy

A owner may end a tenancy by providing you with the required notice period as per the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

End of lease obligations

Once you have notified Kay & Burton of your intention to vacate we will send you relevant information explaining your obligations. This will explain in detail our expectations on how the property should be left to help ensure a full and prompt release of your bond.