There’s regular coverage in the press on the problems of short-term rentals, usually booked through the internet. There are often numerous complaints from neighbours and Residential Rental Providers alike after the latter has inspected their properties. It is not surprising that Corporate Leasing is a favoured option both for the Renter & Rental Provider. Debbie Davut, Senior Property Manager and Manager of Fully Furnished & Corporate Leasing, who started with Kay & Burton 20 years ago, has her hands across this market. “It might be an executive staying in Melbourne for 3-6 months. He or she may also have the opportunity of extending their lease for up to two-to-three years,” says Davut, who screens each applicant before any Rental Agreement is signed.

With the initial introduction often coming via a relocation agency (which also has its own screening process), a better calibre of renter is found for the property in question, whether it’s a one, two or three-bedroom apartment or house. Although there was previously a pattern of corporations booking in their executive staff into hotels, Kay & Burton’s Fully Furnished & Corporate Leasing Department has found a return to corporate accommodation. “It is more of a ‘home away from home’, where renters feel part of a community which is something that short term stays can’t offer,” says Davut. For the Rental Provider, having a corporate renter not only provides a source of confidence in having the right renter mix, but as importantly, a better return on their investment property. “A one-bedroom can attract approximately $150 more each week, and $200 more for two and three-bedroom apartments,” says Davut, who sees corporates as being excellent renters since they often work long hours, travel extensively and who rarely cause disturbance to their neighbours.

Unlike short-term stays, corporate leasing through Kay & Burton allows renters to walk straight into a fully furnished abode, complete with everything from the fridge and washing machine and dryer to the vacuum cleaner. Even the crockery and cutlery is included. And rather than just a random throw over the lounge, Kay & Burton’s own interior decorator brings their talent to the home. In one instance, the owners of an apartment purchased designer furniture to take advantage of the generous furniture depreciation claim that extends over a five-year period. “We certainly have a strong relationship with key suppliers so getting the right furniture becomes just that much easier and more streamlined. So many of our clients have opted to allow us to arrange the furnishings for them,” says Davut.

Owners should also be aware of the ‘vacant property tax’ introduced by the Australian Government (in addition to land tax). Devised to ensure that housing is not left vacant at a time when there is a shortage of housing in Melbourne, as in other parts of Australia, investment properties left vacant for six months or more can attract a tax.  Therefore properties need to be occupied for regular periods. “Having someone lease your property also gives you the security that someone is taking care of it,” says Davut. Unlike the general rental procedure where prospective renters queue patiently outside a front door after searching for properties online in most cases, corporate renters are personally introduced to suitable properties on a one-on-one basis. “It speeds up the process of looking and when you’re relocating to a new city, one generally avoids the pitfalls of and rushing out to attend open for inspections with everyone else.” The other benefit of having a corporate renter is that they pay for all of the utilities being gas, electricity and water usage (where separately metered), in addition to the monthly rent. In addition, unlike some apartments, where sub-letting occurs, there is a specific clause in the Residential Rental Agreement that prevents renters advertising and sub-leasing the property. “The outcome is better for everyone: the Rental Provider, the Renter and as importantly, the community who don’t feel impinged upon with short-term erratic stays that often result in noise disturbance to neighbours. If there are noise or other complaint issues, we are certainly onto it,” adds Davut.

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