If you’re new to renting or you’ve rented a home before but it was a while ago, here are a few tips to help things go smoothly.
Understanding types of tenancy
A fixed term tenancy can’t be ended during the stated term. This gives you the security of knowing you have the home or flat for that time, remember you can’t end the tenancy early unless both parties agree.
A period lease is more flexible, but it can be terminated by the owner/manager or you at any time by giving the required notice.
Getting the place you want
It’s a good idea to turn up well prepared, in case the property is exactly what you’re after. First impressions count. We suggest you talk with the agent or owner if possible and leave a small folder containing your employment history, references and personal details with the person showing the property. Remember to be upfront about your situation, such as how many tenants will be joining you and whether anyone has pets.
Understanding initial costs
When you sign up you’ll usually need to pay:
- The letting fee, which is the same as one week’s rent
- Two week’s rent in advance or sometimes just the amount due until the next rent day
- A bond, which is usually the same as 2-4 weeks’ rent.
Your property manager/owner must lodge the bond with the Department of Building and Housing within 21 days.
Check you’re happy with the condition of the property and it’s accurately recorded in writing or photographic evidence. Make sure you understand any documents before you sign them.
Before moving in
Arrange for power, gas, phone, internet and Sky to be connected as required. The accounts will be in your name and you are responsible for paying them. The water account stays in the owner’s name, but you pay for water use; except for the fixed water charge which is about $15-$17 a month.
Tenant contents insurance is available from major insurers at approximately $10 per week for $10,000 cover and personal liability. We strongly recommend you arrange this.
While you’re living there
Your property manager will ensure a prompt response to requests for help with things like property maintenance. They act as a liaison between owners and tenants. Regular property inspections will be carried out, but you must contact your property manager or owner to report urgent maintenance. This is to stop any damage becoming worse.
The Department of Building and Housing Tenancy Services can help you with any questions about whether things are happening as they should.
When you move out
When your tenancy ends, please remember to ensure the carpets, house and garden are clean and tidy. This will help you avoid any dispute or delays in the return of your bond. Remember to re-direct your mail and cancel or transfer things like your power, gas, phone and internet. Your property manager or owner should arrange a final water reading and bill.