Get the right cover for your property with our guide to landlord insurance in Western Australia (WA).
As a landlord, you can never be sure that Western Australia's natural beauty won't one day spell natural disaster. Is your property protected against fire and floods? What will you do if your tenant simply decides to cut out on you mid-lease? Western Australia may be a state of "no worries", but as a landlord you're sure to have more than your fair share. We've done the hard work to help you find the right landlord insurance for your needs. Read on for our full guide to landlord insurance in Western Australia.
Need landlord insurance for WA?
What does landlord insurance cover me for?
Landlord insurance is available in three cover options.
- Home insurance. Home insurance, or building/building-only cover, offers cover for your home and other fixtures on your property against damage from fires, storms, theft and vandalism. Cover usually provides additional protection against loss of rent due to damage rendering the property uninhabitable or damage to shared areas such as pools and gardens.
- Contents insurance. Contents cover protects any of your household possessions and any other property you have on site against the same risks as home insurance. Additional options are usually available for communal items like pool equipment or outdoor furniture.
- Home and contents insurance. Offering total protection for your property and everything inside, this is the most comprehensive level of cover available to landlords and includes optional cover for both rental default and damage or loss caused by tenants or their guests.
Is landlord insurance compulsory in WA?
It isn't mandatory to have landlord insurance in Western Australia; however, as the landlord, the responsibility and repercussions in the event of loss, damage or injury would fall squarely on you. What's more, you are responsible for setting lease terms as well as for collecting bond (typically four weeks rent) and rent for the property. Landlord insurance protects you against such financial burdens and offers legal liability for such incidents.
How do I find a landlord insurance policy that works for me?
While there are plenty of policies on offer, it's good to decide a few things before you begin shopping. Consider if you want cover for just the building, its contents or do you want total protection for both. Your level of cover will match your premiums, with the higher your level the more expensive your premiums.
Where you live will also help determine the kind of cover you need. If you're in a city like Perth or Fremantle, you may want to make sure your policy covers theft and vandalism. If you're in a smaller town or somewhere further inland like Kalgoorlie or Newman and are more worried about Mother Nature, check to see if your policy covers events such as fire and floods. Be sure to discuss specific terms and conditions with your insurance provider to ensure it's right for you.
Who offers landlord insurance in Western Australia?
Australian home insurance providers usually aren't state-specific, which means homeowners in Western Australia can access cover from an extensive range of trusted insurance brands, including the following:
What else do I need to know as a landlord in WA?
While landlord insurance is virtually the same across the country, each state has slightly different rules. Here's what you need to know as a landlord in Western Australia:
- Bond and advance rent. You can ask for a bond of up to four week's rent unless you rent the place for more than $1,200. If that's the case, there is no upper limit. You can also ask for two weeks advance rent.
- Rent increases. You can increase the rent once every six months with a 60-day notice. In a fixed-term arrangement, this also needs to be stated in the agreement or else you'll need to wait until the agreement ends. Your first increase can't occur until at least six months after the tenancy starts.
- Ending a tenancy. You must let your tenant know 30 days before a fixed lease ends. If it is a periodic lease, you need to give them a 60-day warning unless you have a valid reason (such as selling the house or tenant not paying rent), in which case you can shorten the notice.
- Pets. As a landlord, you're in control, as tenants need your written permission if they want to keep a pet in your rental property. You're also allowed to charge a "pet bond" of up to $260.
- Access for inspections. You're only allowed four inspections per year and you'll need to give a notice period of between 7 and 14 days before each one.
Landlord responsibilities in Western Australia
As a landlord, you are responsible for providing an apartment, house or property for your tenant that is free of hazards and defects, is fit to live in and complies with all state and local building and health codes. You must take all necessary measures to ensure that your property meets these standards before you can lease it. You're also responsible for securing a bond from your tenant and submitting it to the Residential Tenancies Authority. Other responsibilities include the following:
- Maintaining structural components and a reasonably weather-protected unit
- Providing the necessary heat, electric and hot- and cold-water facilities
- Making any requested repairs promptly
- Inspecting the property each time it's leased to determine whether it meets safety and adequate living standards
- Giving notice before entering a rental unit, except in cases of emergency
- Abiding by all agreements made in the signed lease
- Providing 15 days' written notice of any changes to a month-to-month agreement
- Adhering to the legal eviction process if evicting a tenant
- Advising your tenant of their legal rights and responsibilities when taking out a lease
Landlord rights in Western Australia
As a landlord, you have the right to evict a tenant, provided you've given adequate notice or have reason to believe that a tenant has broken the conditions of the lease. You also have the right to increase the rent or the length of the lease as long as you've provided enough notice and offer the option to terminate the lease if the tenant doesn't agree with the new terms. If your tenant has left the premises, you can withhold the bond until you've completed any repairs or cleaning services that may be required, or you can recoup costs from the bond if the tenant doesn't comply.