Regarding what you need to do as a landlord in NSW and how to protect yourself:
Before Approving a Tenant
1. Ensure you have had a check done on the tenant (which you can arrange through us, at a cost of $20 for up to 5 checks).
2. Ensure you have phoned/ checked all the tenants references (they will be asked to supply current employer, current landlord, and personal references on our tenancy application)
3. Ensure you have physically sighted proof of identification, proof of income, proof of address, and proof rental history (e.g. lease agreement, written reference, or tenant ledger)
Once you wish to approve a Tenant
1. Meet with them and sign a Residential tenancy agreement form, which is available here: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/pdfs/tenants_and_home_owners/residential_tenancy_agreement.pdf (At this time, also supply them with a New Tenant Checklist available from here: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Factsheet_print/Tenants_and_home_owners/Renting_a_home/FTR72_New_tenant_checklist.pdf
2. Complete a property condition report within 7 days of the start of the tenancy, keep one copy for yourself and supply two copies to the tenant. Where possibly, it can be helpful to complete this together with the tenant to minimize disagreements about what is noted. You can get this form here http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/mobile0c9a66/biz_res/ftweb/pdfs/Tenants_and_home_owners/Condition_report.pdf
3. Request a bond of 4 weeks rent from the tenant. When you receive it, make sure to provide the tenant with a receipt, and also have them sign a Bond Lodgement Form which is available from any Service NSW service centre (what used to be RTA’s), or Fair Trading office, or by calling 13 32 20.
4. Lodge the bond within 10 days with Service NSW by posting it or taking it to a Service NSW service centre . You can apply for release of monies to you to cover damage or if the tenant breaks the lease/stops paying rent. More information about bond and bond lodgement is here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/lodge-rental-bond . Bonds can also be lodged online if you register - http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/About_us/Online_services/Rental_bonds_online/For_private_landlords.page?
During the Tenancy
1. Conduct routine inspections of the property up to 4 times a year, and with 7 days written notice each time.
2. Make sure to keep documentation of any occurrences, e.g. copies of any letters/receipts you send to tenant, photos of any damage etc. just in case there ever a dispute in future,
Consider taking out Landlords Insurance – this covers you for theft, malicious damage, or loss of rent if the tenant stopping paying - http://www.canstar.com.au/home-insurance/what-is-landlord-insurance/
There are many different providers so make sure to shop around.
We also strongly recommend reading the Renting a Home guide that Fair Trading NSW has on their website - http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owners/Renting_a_home.page