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There are a few common questions that we receive from clients and customers so we thought we would share a few. 

Always feel welcome to get in touch if you require more information. 

Commonly asked questions from renters...

How does a shared tenancy work?

We recommend that you nominate one person to be responsible for paying the rent and water usage. It is our experience that when sharing tenants pay their portion of the rent direct to us separately, problems invariably occur. You should be aware that all tenants are jointly and separately responsible for any debt of the tenancy, in other words, we do not distinguish between your individual payments.

Should any of the tenants living at the property change during the tenancy, you will need to fill out a Change of Shared Tenancy form and Change of Bond form in our office. Any additional occupants must make an application and be approved to live in the property.

What happens if I need to end my tenancy early?

We can help you should your circumstances change and you need to end your tenancy agreement early. However, you need to be aware of your obligations.

When you break your lease, you are breaking a legally binding agreement between you and the owner of the property you are renting. In doing so, there are certain procedures and costs associated. Always discuss this with your property manager before you consider an early termination of lease.

Can I apply for a property without a viewing?

All applicants are required to inspect the property in person before submitting a tenancy application.

We understand that there are occasionally circumstances which prevent this, and an inspection by a third party is not preferred but permissible. Applications cannot be processed 'pending an inspection'. Generally, applicants that have viewed in person take precedence.

What information do I need to supply in my application for tenancy?

All potential leaseholders will need to provide credit searches. It is worthwhile obtaining credit searches in advance in order to avoid delays and potential disappointment when applying. If you have been living in Tasmania you can obtain one through www.tascol.com.au, and if you have been living interstate you can obtain one via www.mycreditfile.com.au

You will also need to provide:

Details of your current and past addresses
Next of kin contact details
Details of prior rental history including references
Personal and professional references
100 points of identification:
· Drivers licence, passport, 18+ card, birth certificate (50pt each)
· Bank/credit card, phone/electricity account statement (25pt each)
Employment details
Proof of income
If you receive Centrelink benefits, a current statement of income
If unemployed, a current bank statement showing savings

Please ensure you complete your application in full and include all required attachments. If you do not, your application may not be successful.

How long does it take to process an application?

We endeavour to have an answer to you within 48 hours. This may take longer if referees are delayed in their response.

It is beneficial to prompt your referees, including your current property manager, once you have applied to avoid long delays.

Who is responsible for cleaning & servicing wood heaters?

It is common practice for a residential tenancy agreement to require a tenant to clean chimneys and heater flues. However, it is the Residential Tenancy Commissioner's view that this is a maintenance task associated with the ongoing use of a fireplace or heater and is not a general cleaning obligation as required under section 53 of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

This means that the owner has an obligation to ensure the chimney or flue is cleaned as required, to permit the safe functioning of the fireplace or heater. Tenants should notify the owner or agent if they believe that the chimney or flue requires cleaning.

Who is responsible for mould/condensation in a property?

Dealing with mould at a property can be a difficult issue to resolve. It is the responsibility of both the property owner and tenant to address mould problems at a property.

Extractor fans can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries. Where possible, appropriate paint and sealants should be used for the kitchen, bathroom walls, ceilings and timber lining.

The tenant should notify the property owner of any mould problems at a property.

Strategies for dealing with mould include:

Hanging wet washing outside
If using a clothes dryer, make sure the right ventilation is used where possible eg open a window, vent the dryer outside
Open curtains and blinds during the day
Open windows when possible
Use the right mould cleaning products
Dispose of damp or mould-damaged items immediately

Bond claims relating to mould damage can be difficult to assess, as the factors that contribute to mould can be 'property related' eg lack of adequate ventilation, or 'tenant related' where insufficient effort has been made by the tenant to ensure any mould is dealt with as best as possible. If a claim is made on a bond due to mould damage at the end of a tenancy, it is recommended that photographs be supplied to allow the Commissioner to assess the extent of the issue.

Who is responsible for sewer and drain blockages?

In accordance with the Water & Sewerage Industry Act 2008, TasWater is responsible for the maintenance of sewer mains and branch lines to the customer’s connection point. The property owner is responsible for all drains, fixtures and apparatus upstream of and including the first inspection opening (IO) or boundary trap (BT) or, if no such device is fitted, then to the property owner’s boundary (the private system).
The following information provides guidelines for plumbing contractors and property owners involved in removing a blockage in a TasWater or private system.

1. Customer’s responsibility

If a customer identifies a sewage problem relating to their private system, then it is their responsibility to:

If IO is known and accessible

If the IO is clear, then this indicates there is a blockage in the service connection on the private property and the IO may be used to provide access for a plumber to clear the blockage.

If sewage flows out of the IO, this indicates a blockage from outside the property boundary and TasWater should be called to attend.

If IO is unknown/inaccessible

The property owner is responsible for locating the IO or engaging a registered plumber/drainer to install one. This may require contacting local councils to consult drainage plans. Property drainage plans are not kept or maintained by TasWater.

The first IO inside the property boundary shall be raised to ground surface level as an inspection shaft forming part of the private system achieving compliance with current standards. The owner is responsible for the cost of work performed on the private system and in all cases responsible for the cost of raising the first IO to the surface.

After installing an IO, the process of determining the source of a problem is as detailed above.

TasWater may reimburse a plumber for costs incurred (to a maximum of 2 hours work) to ascertain that TasWater is responsible for the blockage. (NOTE: The costs incurred to locate the IO and/or install an IO shall be directed to the customer regardless of where the blockage lies).

2. Plumber’s responsibility

Private plumbers who have been contracted by private property owners to perform work on private systems:

  • may inspect TasWater infrastructure using the IO for the purpose of ascertaining whether a blockage has occurred downstream of the IO (i.e. within the private property owner's area of responsibility – private system)
  • are not permitted to open or otherwise access TasWater infrastructure, such as manholes, without TasWater authorisation

Responsibility regarding sewer blockages and failures

Private plumbers are prohibited from performing any construction or maintenance work, including clearing blockages on TasWater infrastructure, without TasWater's authorisation; and must contact TasWater on 13 6992 on diagnosing a blockage in TasWater’s infrastructure.

Clearing blockage (private system)

In all cases involving hand or machine rodding, the plumber must work from the downstream end of the line in an upstream direction and prevent the material causing the blockage entering the TasWater system.

If determined the blockage is in the TasWater system

If it is agreed the blockage is in the TasWater system and TasWater authorises the work, the plumber's invoice must be sent to TasWater and be fully itemised to include:

  • The TasWater contact person
  • Labour
  • Plant and material
  • Any fees payable.

If the property owner is responsible for some costs (such as locating the access point), separate invoices should be sent to the property owner and to TasWater.

3. TasWater's responsibility

Upon contact from either a customer or a customer’s plumber, TasWater staff will advise a course of action. Such action may include:

  • Sending staff to the blockage to clear it, or
  • Authorising the plumber to clear the blockage.

Note: If TasWater is required to clear blockages upstream of a customer’s connection point, then TasWater may attempt to recover costs for this work from the property owner. If it is evident that a property owner has built over TasWater assets, including access points, then TasWater may attempt to recover costs for this work from the property owner. If it is evident that a property owner has built over TasWater assets, including access points, then TasWater may attempt to recover costs for the reinstatement works from the property owner.

Have another question?

We'd love to help. Get in touch with our team, and we will be in touch.

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