The number of Australian’s renting is officially on the rise. While this is great news for residential property investors, it’s not the only thing heading north.
In recent years, tenants who are illegally subletting to strangers, especially tourists and holiday-makers has increased at an alarming rate, leaving the property owners exposed to a range of risks and costly consequences.
Many landlords and property agents point to the spread of short-term rental accommodation sites, like Airbnb, for making the problem worse.
For tenants, these platforms make it all too easy and the temptation all too great to earn some extra money by illegally subletting a room or an entire property.
While tenants who illegally sublet continue to line their pockets, the landlord faces additional wear and tear on their property, the risk of uninsured property damage or being liable in the case of an accident on their premises.
As a landlord, it can be hard to stay on top of illegal subletting, but there are five steps you can take to prevent your tenant from subletting your property:
Thorough screening and background checks
Most landlords know that thorough tenant screening and background checks are critical to securing a good tenant. This involves asking the right questions during the interview process, verifying financials, getting reference checks from their previous landlords and looking at the types of properties they have previously rented.This information can help you work out their intentions and their suitability for your property.
Regular property inspections
Regularly inspections will not only allow you check the treatment and condition of your property it will also give you an opportunity to notice any changes, such as the way a room is set up if there are additional belongings etc. that may suggest an unknown person is living in the property. If this is the case, often the head tenant may try to make it hard for you to carry out routine inspections, which is a red flag.
Speak to your neighbours
Where possible as a property investor it’s worthwhile to get to know the people living next to and near your property. They can become helpful allies in letting you know of any suspicious behaviour or activity such as strangers coming and going, loud parties etc.
Beware when your tenants request an extra set of keys. This typically means they are allowing access to someone not listed on the tenancy agreement. Property managers only need to provide keys for the applicants specified on the lease, no extras.
Employ an experienced property manager
Experienced property managers have the skill and knowledge to spot the tell-tale signs of a tenant illegally subletting a room or an entire house or apartment. They can save you the hassle and give you the peace of mind you need to monitor your property and the short-term rental platforms to ensure your tenants aren’t illegally subletting.
By taking these steps, you’ll stay ahead of the game in making sure your investment property doesn’t end up as a short-term rental listing.