The answers to the questions below may vary from state to state and property to property, however we have aimed to answer these questions as thoroughly as possible. Please contact your Property Manager if your question is not answered below.
UniLodge is a privately owned management company that specialises in the professional operation and management of student accommodation. It is that largest provider of purpose built student accommodation within Australia and New Zealand. UniLodge is engaged to manage and operate your apartment on your behalf. UniLodge now has over 11,450 beds under contracted management within 50 properties throughout Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland and Wellington.
The Management Fee is the amount paid to UniLodge for carrying out the following:
• On site management office (at most properties)
• Provision of a secure and caring environment for tenants
• Regular apartment inspections
• Electronic payment to owner accounts
• Ongoing sales to ensure base occupancy rates
• Servicing of tenants through a Residential Office including provision of pastoral care and coordination of social events
• Monthly or quarterly statements and activity reports
Unlike a traditional real estate agency, UniLodge offers a range of services to the tenants including running a full reception at majority of our properties. We pride ourselves on providing the best experience for our landlords and offer a range of services to both the landlord and residents.
Generally, the Letting (or leasing fee) is the initial set-up cost for attracting, vetting and securing a tenant in your investment property.
There are a number of components to this task that when put together, assist in ensuring that any risk to you is adequately protected, and that the Tenancy will be a successful one for the tenant and you.
Most states have minimum requirements for the standard of accommodation that must be met. UniLodge also sets standards that it expects all apartments to meet prior to occupancy. For new owners, this usually means that we will meet to go through the property with you and recommend improvements that will meet and exceed standards. Prior to occupancy – we check (as far as reasonably possible) that all is ready for the new tenant.
Prospective tenants are required to complete a comprehensive application form so their suitability can be ascertained. This includes identification, visa details (if applicable), parent/guardian details & confirmation of enrolment in a tertiary institution (based on building requirements).
Our Staff will then go through a process of negotiation with the prospective tenant in order to ensure that the lease agreement is formed with terms and conditions that both protect and provide the best outcome possible for you, the Landlord. Typically, such negotiations are about the rent level, commencement dates & length of tenancy.
Property Condition Report
We compile a detailed written document on the present condition of your apartment. This document is critical, as it protects you if anything occurs during the tenancy.
Typically called a Residential Tenancy Agreement – the Lease is the written legal agreement that the Tenant enters into with the Landlord. It sets out the terms and conditions that allow the Tenant to stay at your property. Various States have regulated words and format that these agreements must adhere to. We regularly review these Agreements to ensure they continue to reflect best practice.
The Sign up meeting
This is a meeting with the Tenant where the Lease is explained in detail to the tenant, this is our chance to explain all the rights and responsibilities that the tenant is accepting. At this meeting we give the tenant a package of information including: copies of the Property Condition Report, Bond and Rent receipts, the keys, information on how to report maintenance, how to use the Apartments appliances etc. and a whole host of information on the local area, the facilities of the Apartment building and structured social activities .
A copy of the fully executed Residential Tenancy Agreement is forwarded for your records soon after the tenancy has commenced.
Post Leasing Follow-up
Within the first month of tenancy – we communicate with the Tenant to check that all is well and that they have settled in.
Your Management Authority with UniLodge specifies by what date you will receive your rental income by.
It is a priority for UniLodge to ensure your rental income is received in a prompt and regular manner. Taking legal action against a tenant for non-payment of rent is a very rare occurrence; however occasionally circumstances arise that require legal intervention. As we have staff on site at majority of our properties we are able deal with rent arrears using a number of methods. Reminders are issued in person, via e-mail, text message or phone.
If rental still remains unpaid after 14 days, UniLodge will issue the tenant with a 14 day notice to vacate for non-payment of rent. An application to the Tribunal will also be made requesting possession of the property. If the matter cannot be resolved and is bought before Tribunal, UniLodge will obtain an order entitling the landlord to possession of the property. If the tenant does not vacate, a warrant may then be purchased. Tenant eviction will then be executed by a member of the Police force. Once the landlord has possession of the property a subsequent applicant is made to Tribunal. This application allows UniLodge to retrieve the bond and cover any outstanding rental.
Rent suggestions are based on current conditions and these may differ from what the sales agents project. UniLodge completes a comprehensive Competitor Analysis prior the commencement of each semester comparing your apartment against our competitors in the student accommodation and general market, where possible we always look at ways to increase rental.
The effective marketing and promotion of UniLodge is vital to the ongoing success of the properties and is a core activity undertaken by UniLodge on behalf of investors.
Key initiatives undertaken include:
• Sourcing and placement of long and short stay tenants;
• Bi-annual International Sales trips;
• Promotion of UniLodge via information booths at University Open Days;
• Regular meetings with Study Abroad Agencies;
• Regular promotions to Universities, Colleges and Language Schools;
• Group advertising (print advertising; mobile phone apps; realestate.com.au; online advertising);
• Implementing strategies to maximise effectiveness of the UniLodge website.
The size of our portfolio and strong reputation that we hold with leading education providers ensures that your property is being managed by the leading student accommodation provider – a name that students trust.
With our competitive advantage of a comprehensive and contemporary understanding of tertiary education and student accommodation markets, we are well placed to ensure that your property is well managed.
These are levies charged by the Body Corporate (Owners Corporation) to cover costs for the upkeep and running of the 'common areas' of the building i.e.: overall building maintenance-cleaning, electricity, water, rates, security and insurance.
Common areas include areas such as the foyer, hallways, commercial kitchens, games room and toilets.
NB: Strata levies are not paid to UniLodge.
Land Tax is a state tax. Land Tax is a tax based on the total value of land you own in a particular State. The tax rate may vary from State to State. Detailed information can be found for each state (please click on the relevant state):
Property in ACT
Property in NSW
Property in QLD
Property in SA
Property in VIC
We suggest that you contact your accountant for further information. Please note that penalties and/or interest may apply on amounts owing
Our advanced and comprehensive rental statements are produced and emailed/mailed on a monthly basis for your records.
UniLodge believes that all rental properties must be properly maintained for the following fundamental reasons:
• To retain the value of the property
• To reduce the costs over time
• Ensure a positive relationship is maintained with the tenant
• To maximise rental income by keeping presentation to a high standard
UniLodge will not authorise repairs without contacting you for approval. However you may elect to set a limit for unauthorised repairs if you wish. This is typically set at $250. Should an “urgent” item such as a heater or cooking device fail in your property, UniLodge will arrange prompt repair on your behalf in accordance with the statutory limit of $3,000 if we are unable to contact you.
All contractors appointed by UniLodge must meet our strict selection criteria and hold the necessary qualifications, licenses and insurances in addition to being experts in their field.
Student accommodation experiences two peak leasing periods per year. The first is at the beginning of semester one and usually runs between mid-January through to mid-March. This is the busiest time of the year with many students arriving in the country from overseas. The second is late June to mid-August during the end of semester one and start of semester two. This period is not as active as the beginning of the year; however movement is still strong at this time with many students changing their accommodation for the second half of the year.
Our leases are structured to coincide with the student university calendar to ensure income is maximised and vacancy reduced.
Leases available to tenants are either 26 weeks (6 months) or 52 weeks (12 months).
Shorter term leases may be available at some UniLodge properties.
Rents are fixed for the term of the lease. UniLodge completes a comprehensive competitor analysis before the start of each semester comparing your apartment against our competitors in the student accommodation market, where possible we always look at ways to increase rental.
The Owners Corporation, or Body Corporate, is made up collectively of all investors in the strata scheme.
The Executive Committee is made up of the elected representatives of the owners. Election takes place at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). All owners are entitled to vote and stand for election.
The Executive Committee's role is limited to the management and maintenance of all common areas. It has no jurisdiction over the management and tenancy of individual apartments.
Proxy is the term given to a person appointed in writing by an owner to attend an Owners Corporation meetings or AGM, and vote on that person's behalf.
As an investor you have a right to vote at Owners Corporation meetings and AGMs and have a say in how your building is run. By allocating your proxy you are relinquishing this right, giving someone else the ability to vote on your behalf. If you do appoint a proxy, it is important you are fully aware of their intentions and ensure these are in line with your own. We would strongly recommend you seek appropriate advice before appointing a proxy. Alternatively you can contact UniLodge for further information.
No. Investors are required to provide six months written notice prior to becoming an owner- occupier. Because of the complex nature of managing and booking hundreds of apartments weeks and months ahead temporary stay without the appropriate notice is not permitted. At some of our properties, to be an owner - occupier an investor would still need to comply with the council's development consent, which requires an owner - occupier to be a student.
As you are engaging UniLodge to manage your apartment and to ensure security of your apartment, UniLodge requires all keys to the apartment. Usually there are only 2 sets of keys: one for the tenant and one spare held by UniLodge Management. As a landlord we can arrange access for you to attend general inspections if required.
You are permitted to inspect your apartment at any time by providing UniLodge a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. It is preferred and recommended that 5 to 7 days’ notice is provided where possible rather than 24 hours’ notice. This is to ensure that UniLodge Management have sufficient time to provide the tenant with 24 hours’ notice (at a minimum) of the inspection.
You are entitled to inspect your apartment to:
- Carry out duties specified in your Management Authority;
- Value the property;
- Show prospective buyers or financial lenders through;
- Make one general inspection in any six-month period, but not within the first three months of the tenancy.
No, any fees you pay to UniLodge do not cover your property for Landlords Insurance. The Buildings Insurance does not cover individual apartment contents either (such as carpets, window coverings, electric light fittings, public liability and any other items owned by the Owner and for the tenants use such as a microwave, TV etc).
UniLodge strongly recommends your investment property be fully insured. We also suggest you select a policy that includes cover for “loss of rent.” Body corporate insurance does NOT provide landlords with full coverage. Any policy/cover should be reviewed annually. Please contact your insurance broker for further information. The cost of insurance is usually a tax deductible item.
As professional Property Managers of Student Accommodation we strive to do our best to protect your investment. However, sometimes things can go wrong which are outside our control. For example, a tenant fails to pay their rent due to:
• A failed relationship
• Change in study plans
• Change in circumstances
On rare occasions, damage to your furnishings or a public liability claim may occur after an incident in your apartment.
Unfortunately, from our prior experience, if any of these events occur. they can sometimes cause great angst for our clients. And that’s why we recommend that Landlords take out insurance protection.
Landlord insurance is a financial product that a number of insurance companies provide. Depending on the policy content, the product typically provides investment property owners with financial compensation in the instance that a claimable event occurs. Whilst, these events are rare, they do occur and this product gives you peace of mind that your investment and related income is covered.
Please note that the Buildings Insurance organised by your Body Corporate Manager, and which you pay as part of your Body Corporate Levies, usually does not cover items such as : apartment furnishings, appliances, window and floor coverings, public liability, loss of rent cover etc. In recent times even kitchens were often not covered by building insurance. Cover for these items is typically found in most Landlord insurance products.
We recommend that any policy/cover should be reviewed annually to ensure it continues to provide adequate cover for your needs. Depending on the financial structure of your investment property; the cost of this type of insurance is usually a tax deductible item.
If you already hold landlords insurance then can you ensure that we are provided with policy details. That way, if there is an incident, we are able to immediately contact the insurer on your behalf and commence any remedial works and/or document compilation that is usually a required part of any insurance claim.
UniLodge’s highly trained Property Managers, understand the importance of this particular type of insurance and are available to discuss this generally with you. Also we cover topics such as Landlord insurance in our Investor Newsletters and also at our Investor Evenings.
Our Community Spirit Program (CSP) is a comprehensive approach in providing a close sense of community with our resident’s well-being in mind. We ensure that our residents have a positive sense of security, belonging and social engagement – all whilst having some fun!
Our CSP is based on acclaimed research and international best practice in pastoral care. Through our program we coordinate a range of safe events which allow our residents to interact with one another and to make the most of their Australian or New Zealand experience.
Our CSP is what differentiates us from other student accommodation providers and standard residential apartments and therefore as an Investor, makes your investment property a much for attractive option for students.
The strata title apartments at UniLodge on Broadway - Sydney are owned by individual investors and are managed by UniLodge under a standard lease between the investor and Sydney Campus Apartments Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UniLodge Australia Pty Ltd. In terms of the lease:
• UniLodge uses the apartment to sub-let or license it for use as student accommodation, or non-semester short term accommodation. UniLodge cannot use it for any other purpose without the written consent of the investor.
• While occupied, the investor is paid a rent equivalent to the gross revenue of the apartment less outgoings.
In addition to the traditional investment model, we also offer the opportunity to participate in a rental pool system. The main advantage of participating in the pool system is that the risk and consequent loss of income associated with a vacant apartment is spread across a wider group and by doing so a more consistent monthly income is achieved. Volatility of monthly income flow is smoothed out.
Other advantages include:
• No administration fees are charged to rental pool members
• Individual maintenance charges are shared amongst the pool of investors
The rental pool was created in the fourth year of the buildings history. All the gross income for the pooled apartments is placed into one account and all the owner costs and expenses such as strata levies, water rates, council rates and maintenance are then paid. The net figure for that particular month is then redistributed to owners based on their apartment’s lot entitlement. An opportunity exists to move out of the pool only on 1 January or 1 July of each year with adequate notice. However an owner can join the rental pool at any stage as long as their apartment is tenanted at the time of joining and all rates and levies are paid up to date.
Your apartment is mainly occupied by international students studying in Sydney and is rented on a 6-12 month semester basis. You will receive gross rent less outgoings each month. The net rent you receive will vary from month to month depending on the occupancy level during the month, the level of rent charged and the level and timing of cash flows in respect of outgoings.
These are expenses pertaining to your individual apartment and include water rates and council rates, charged by the local Council and water supplier, and maintenance and repair costs for any works undertaken on your apartment.
Your apartment is leased to Sydney Campus Apartments Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UniLodge Australia Pty Ltd under a standard lease agreement. Under the terms of this lease UniLodge rents your apartment mainly to international students studying in Australia on a semester basis typically comprising a 6-12 month period.
It is anticipated that UniLodge will provide investors with the opportunity to execute a new lease. This will provide owners with similar tenure and security of the present UniLodge concept.