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Tips for First Time Renters

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    The first-time departure from home? What you should understand is this.

    You've now succeeded in leaving the family nest. Moving out on your own is always a major issue, whether you were forced to do so or had to do so because you had to throw off some restrictions.

    It heralds the start of a brand-new chapter in your life, one in which you'll discover yourself learning a great deal more and going through some profound personal transformations.

    But if you're moving into a rental, there are a few things you should understand about property management to prevent a disastrous crash on your first flight.

    10 things you should know about being a tenant

    1. How leases work

    The most crucial document to comprehend while renting a property is your lease. How long you will be renting the house, how much you will pay each week, and what your responsibilities are are all specified in the legally-binding agreement between you and the landlord.

    Read your lease carefully before signing it since doing so signifies your agreement to everything it contains. If you violate any of its terms, the landlord has the authority to evict you.

    2. What your rights are

    If your name appears on the lease, you have certain rights. For instance, the landlord cannot compel you to pay for things like routine upkeep and repairs.

    Additionally, the landlord is prohibited from bugging you by unexpectedly visiting the property because you have a right to privacy.

    Find out what your tenancy rights are in your state. Different states around the nation may have different laws addressing tenants' rights.

    3. Leaving the property

    You can be given the option to move out or have your lease renewed once it expires. You must give written notice of your intention to vacate the property prior to the end of the lease, often two to three weeks.

    As we all know, life is full of unforeseen events that force you to vacate the premises before the lease expires. Unfortunately, doing so can mean you have to reimburse the landlord for any income lost due to your early eviction. These expenses could include rent while looking for a new tenant, re-letting fees, and advertising expenses.

    It should be obvious that you should leave the house in a tidy, well-kept condition. You must take this action in order to receive your bond returned (see below). Ensure that the "end state" of the property corresponds to how it was when you initially moved in by carefully going through your Entry Condition Report checklist.

    4. Bond

    A rental bond is the sum of money you pay at the beginning of a lease to protect the landlord financially in the event that you break the conditions of the agreement. Basically, it's made so the landlord can keep the bond and use it for repairs and cleaning after you leave if you cause any damage to the property while renting it out.

    A regulating organisation (NSW Fair Trading in NSW) holds the bond money until you get it back at the conclusion of your lease. The maximum bond amount for the majority of homes is equal to four weeks' worth of rent.

    You might not be able to get your bond back if you leave the property dirty at the conclusion of the lease, damaged (other than "reasonable wear and tear"), or owing rent. This is due to the landlord's legal ability to deduct reasonable cleaning and maintenance charges from your bond, highlighting the need to leave the property in good condition.

    5. Paying rent

    The lease should specify how rent payments are to be made. Electronic bank transfers, EFTPOS, credit cards, cash, checks, and deductions from your paycheck are all acceptable methods. You should receive a receipt if you pay with cash.

    After the tenancy has ended, the landlord or property management should keep a record (ledger) of your rent payments for up to a year. You may ask for a copy of this documentation.

    Your landlord typically has the authority to evict you if your rent is more than a certain period of time late (typically 14 days). Rent repayment arrangements can be arranged with your landlord or real estate agent if you are unable to pay past-due rent.

    6. Repairs and maintenance

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    While it is your job as the tenant to keep the property tidy and free from damage, it is the landlord's or the landlord's property manager's duty to keep the property in liveable condition for the renter.

    Your landlord must coordinate and fund repairs when necessary, especially in an emergency. You may be entitled to terminate your tenancy or seek compensation from the landlord if problems that have been reported aren't resolved in a reasonable amount of time.

    You can also see if your contents insurance, commonly known as renter's insurance, would cover the damage or loss of one of your possessions rather than a component of the actual property. If your possessions are lost or damaged due to a fire, flood, storm, malicious damage from others, theft or attempted theft, stray animals, or some accidental glass breakage, a high-quality contents insurance coverage will pay to repair or replace them. On our website, you can contrast your options:

    7. What not to do without permission

    In general, the lease should specify what you can and cannot do without the owners' express consent. Typically, you want your landlord's approval before doing things like maintaining pets or making alterations to the property (e.g. painting walls and doing minor renovations).

    8. The importance of neighbours

    When renting, building a rapport with your neighbours can be very beneficial, especially if you're in a complex or apartment building where the owner oversees several rental units.

    When you get to know your neighbours, they are more inclined to bring up problems (such as excessive noise) with you directly rather than reporting you to the landlord or the police.

    Other ways that neighbours might be useful include offering to pick up your mail or empty your trash cans while you're away. They're also good to have around for the occasional friendly talk. Everyone needs good neighbours, as they say on Ramsay Street.

    9. Housemate etiquette

    In order for everyone to live in harmony, you'll also need to build strong ties with people who dwell in your home. Housemates must create clear guidelines jointly because most of us have heard horror stories about bad roommates.

    Informal agreements regarding how to handle matters like gatherings, having guests over, sharing food, buying, preparing meals, paying bills, maintaining cleanliness, and maintaining privacy should be included in these house rules.

    10. How to manage housemate disputes

    There is still a good probability that, despite regulations and agreements, you will argue with a flatmate at some point. Arguments about expenses, rent, room assignments, tasks, and property damage frequently break out.

    The ability to handle and settle these disputes amicably depends heavily on having frank, calm, and open discussions. You could look for free conflict resolution options, which are provided by most states if disagreements continue.

    You can check to see if your contents insurance covers damage caused by housemates or visitors to your belongings. Every tenant should have good contents insurance to cover the cost of repairing or replacing their possessions in the event of theft, attempted theft, theft, malicious damage, or vandalism by others:

    Moving out of the home checklist

    Perhaps you're still debating moving out. Before applying for a rental and entering the world of renting, you should consider the following:

    Moving Out of Home Checklist
    Location It matters where you reside for a variety of reasons, including cost and accessibility. It might be a smart idea to look at places in slightly less expensive suburbs if you're a recent graduate from high school or college because you probably don't have enough money to live in the best suburb in your city. Despite becoming more affordable, farther-flung suburbs may present transportation challenges. In whatever place you're thinking about as a potential residence, be careful to plan out the transportation choices.
    Type of property What kind of home are you looking for? Depending on what you want and what you can afford, you might live in a tiny one-person apartment or a shared house. Different property types have different benefits and drawbacks. For instance, a house would give you greater living space but cost more in rent and utilities, but an apartment will likely offer you less space but be less expensive (and take up more of your time to keep clean).
    Housemates Choosing to live with housemates or flatmates has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, just like deciding what kind of home you want to live in. Although sharing housing can undoubtedly save your monthly expenses (rent, electricity, etc.), living with strangers can initially be awkward or even unpleasant. Conflicts in personality and values can be severe problems and add unnecessary stress to living away from home. However, housemates can also develop into close friends, making them a viable option.
    Lease length Keep in mind that if you want to relocate and your lease isn't up, you'll pay a substantial charge to break your lease. You could be tempted to sign a longer lease because the rent is cheaper or for another reason. Even if you aren't living there, you can still be required to pay rent for the remainder of the lease, and the landlord might additionally charge you re-letting costs. Consider carefully whose names should be on the lease if you live with roommates. Legal responsibility for the lease rests with the person whose name is on it. It's a good idea to include your housemates' names on the lease if you want to ensure that they will pay their fair part of the rent. But it can be worth it to only have your name on the lease if you believe that one of your housemates might come off as less than ideal on a rental application.
    Money Although it has already been said a few times, moving out is really mostly a financial decision. Do you have a reliable source of income that is sufficient to cover your weekly or biweekly rent, utilities, food, and transportation costs? When you move in, will you have enough cash to buy the things you'll need? It's a good idea to plan your costs, create a budget, and ensure your financial stability before you move out. Put some thought into your first try if you don't want to belong to the "Boomerang Generation"—children who leave home and then return.
    Moving costs Will you enlist the aid of friends and family members or will you hire professional movers? After moving, will you bring furniture with you or will you purchase new furniture? Think about moving in gradually and only bringing the necessary necessities at first; this will make your initial move lot more comfortable and less stressful.
    Insurance You'll need insurance, but it's not required, so getting contents insurance is a good idea. This can protect your possessions from theft, attempted theft, fire, flood, and other losses or damages. Additionally, find out if your parents' health insurance will continue cover you once you move out of their home. Don't forget to consider car insurance for your vehicle while you're at it. Finally, take into account if you could require life insurance.
    Mail Until you've registered your change of address everywhere, would you set up a mail redirect and have your mail sent to your new location, or will you allow it continue to go to your parent's house and pick it up from them?
    Luxuries Do you intend to pay for wifi if it isn't available in your new home? What about Foxtel, Netflix, or any other kind of subscription TV service? There's always YouTube, so you might not miss having a paid TV service, but it's quite likely that you'll find it difficult to live without an internet connection at home.The simple guide for first-time renters

    You're moving out for the first time, but you don't have enough money for a place of your own? Many Australians find it difficult to afford home ownership, which is why more and more would-be homeowners are opting to rental housing.

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that in 2017–18, practically all Australian households rented their residence.

    If you're a first-time renter, you should be aware of a few things to make your life simpler, such as how to:

    • prepare your rental application
    • choose the right property
    • end leases
    • get your all-important bond back when you vacate a property
    • take out renters insurance to protect your possessions against damage or theft (your landlord only insures the house itself, not your belongings).

    Here is our beginner's guide to renting, so you can confidently begin this fascinating new chapter.

    First-time renters’ checklist

    Here are some important things to consider before you move into your new house. Our first-time renters' checklist offers advice on how to fill out a rental application, pick the best rental, negotiate (or renegotiate) a lease, comprehend property condition reports, and move into or out of a rental property.

    Preparing your application

    The rental market can be extremely competitive depending on where you want to reside and the kind of house you want. A compelling application could mean the difference between receiving your desired rental home or not if you're hoping to secure one.

    Consider checking off as many of the following suggestions as you can to boost your rental application.

    • Ask a few queries by calling the agent. Be approachable and personable; strive to leave a positive impression on the agent to set yourself apart from the competition.
    • Before you view the property, get your application ready. Popular properties will be snatched up quickly, so it is advantageous to have your application completed and ready to submit if the property is "ideal" for you.
    • Write the landlord a note. Although it might seem like a lot of work, doing this shows that you are a responsible potential tenant. Describe their property and why you/your family would be a great fit for it. If you have a consistent income, don't smoke, don't have any pets, or anything else that would make you more desirable to landlords, you might want to mention it.
    • Present your application together with copies of your various forms of ID to save the agent's time. The front and back of your driver's licence, Medicare card, and passport may all fall under this category. Even though they might want to see the originals, you've spared them the trouble of having to make duplicates. Have copies of your prior utility bills on hand in case they ask for them.
    • You'll probably need to give proof of income, so be ready with it. A paystub, year-end tax certificate, or bank statement could serve as this documentation. Maintain copies of these close at hand to attach to your rental applications.
    • Improve your references; doing so may help you stay one step ahead of the competition. If you've already rented an apartment, you can ask your former landlords or real estate agents for letters of recommendation. Be selective when selecting your referees because a weak reference can ruin an otherwise good application.
    • Be ready financially. If your application is approved, you'll need to be prepared with your bond and first month's rent.
    • Give your dogs biographies. If you have pets, writing pet biographies might show that you are a responsible pet owner who takes good care of your pet and your house. Include information about your pet's behaviour, training methods, and any vaccinations or frequent doctor visits to reassure landlords who might be wary about renting to pet owners.
    • Be presentable. First impressions can matter, according to com.au. You'll stand a higher chance of getting the property you want if you present yourself effectively, both physically and verbally.

    Choosing a property

    Asking yourself a number of questions about your demands in terms of finances and lifestyle will help you choose the ideal rental property.

    • How much rent can you actually afford to pay? Set a limit for yourself and adhere to it, even if it means passing up the opportunity to buy your ideal house. You do not want to commit to a contract that will bankrupt you.
    • What kind of home—a house, an apartment, or a unit—suits you best? Choose between the ease of apartment living, having your own home with a backyard, and being open to sharing with your neighbours (even with potential strata fees to consider).
      How many bedrooms and bathrooms are necessary? If you have a spare bedroom, you can potentially host relatives or friends or split the costs with another roommate. For some people, sharing a bathroom can be a deal-breaker.
    • Are you looking for a room in a shared house, a rental property to rent on your own, or a place to rent with a partner? You'll have a lot more freedom if you rent a place by yourself, but it will cost you. It could be ideal to share with roommates or prospective partners if you want to reduce your renting costs.
      Do you require a parking space for your car? If you are renting a car, it is crucial to ensure that it has a parking space or that you can find a safe location nearby.
    • Do you prefer a home with a yard or an area outside that requires less upkeep? It can be advisable to select a spot that requires little work if you don't have time to perform the gardening or simply detest yard chores.
    • Is the property close to transportation hubs? Living near a bus stop or a train line might be quite convenient and help you drive less.
      Does the property have accommodations for pets? Check to see if the property accepts dogs; if your dog needs a large fenced-in yard, there is no point in looking at places that don't.
    • Is the property close to neighbourhood stores, schools, and other facilities? It can be useful to be able to dash to the store when you run out of something or to take children on short walks to the park or their school.
    • Would you rather live in an urban area among dining options and nightlife, or on a peaceful suburban street? Consider whether you'd like inner-city living with everything you need at your doorstep or calm nights with fewer traffic.
    • How far are you prepared to go to work? Draw out your proposed property's route to work, then estimate how much time the route and traffic will add to your daily schedule.

    After giving these things some thought, a great initial step is to use the internet to look for properties that meet your requirements. To help you find the ideal house, it can also be a good idea to get in touch with agents who focus on specific regions.

    A few essential agents can help you identify the ideal rental property before it's advertised online or in the local newspaper because rental properties change hands quickly.

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    Handling negotiation (and renegotiation)

    The price that is advertised for a rental property could occasionally be flexible. The market and interest in the property will determine this, though.

    You should be able to determine whether a house will be well-liked by other renters by investigating the rental market in your prefered neighbourhood. It's unlikely that the rent can be lowered to a lower amount if there will be fierce competition.

    However, you could come to an agreement on more than simply the weekly rent.

    • Lease term: Variable lease terms are common. While some landlords prefer the flexibility a six-month lease offers, others prefer the stability of a 12-month lease. You might be able to negotiate lease terms longer than a year if you're looking for a long-term rental property. This might be appealing to certain landlords; if a long-term lease is what you require, talk to the agent first before proposing longer terms (like 24 months) at a somewhat lower rent.
    • Condition of the property: Landlords are seeking for good tenants who will pay their rent on time and maintain the property. If you are a strong candidate, you might be able to ask for improvements to the property's condition as a lease incentive, such as a new oven or coat of paint.
    • Terms of the rent negotiation: Even though there might not be much wiggle space on the initial rent price, you might be able to negotiate the parameters of a rent increase as part of your application. Later on, if you continue to be a model tenant and give the landlord something in return, such as a long-term lease renewal, you might be able to negotiate rent reductions.
      Property inclusions: Inquire with the real estate agent about the possibility of adding extras, such as garden or yard maintenance, to the rental contract.

    Organising your property condition report

    The general condition of the property as well as specific items inside the property, such as included white goods and any furniture or furnishings, are both listed in a property condition report. Long-term benefits come from spending the effort to be meticulous early on in your tenancy.

    • Do a thorough inspection. You should notify the agent if there are any differences between your observations and the property condition report (such as a cracked tile in the master bathroom or a stain on the carpet in the living room). Earlier than moving in, take pictures of everything.
    • Make sure you receive an amended copy of the property condition report. This will be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to repay your bond at the conclusion of your tenancy.

    Getting move-in ready

    It's time to move in once you've finalised the lease on your new rental home. But just because you've found your ideal rental home doesn't imply everything is OK. The owner is still the rightful owner of the property, and they will see to it that it is maintained.

    So, to help your move-in go more smoothly, here are some measures.

    • Organize your possessions. Making a home contents inventory and taking stock of your possessions are best done when you are moving into a new home. Making an inventory is crucial to safeguarding your goods in the event that some of your possessions are misplaced, stolen, or damaged. Be careful when bringing your furniture and other possessions into the house to prevent damage to the flooring and walls.
    • Defend your belongings. Keep in mind that your items are not covered by your rental agreement (i.e. your belongings). You must obtain contents insurance if you wish to safeguard your stuff (such as furniture, clothing, electronics, and jewellery). Without insurance, you would be responsible for paying for their replacement out of your own cash. Consider the value of your furnishings, jewellery, appliances, and clothing.
    • Become inspection-ready. Keep in mind that you can be subject to regular property inspections as a tenant. Each state has a different inspection schedule. A new tenancy's first six weeks and then every three to six months after that are often marked by inspections. Always keep your home tidy and spotless, but especially before an inspection.
    • Verify your inspection notice period. Property managers must provide renters adequate notice of an impending inspection, often seven days. Ask your real estate agent how frequently inspections are performed. It's also crucial to confirm the exact notice requirements for entry to the property for purposes other than inspections with your local tenancy advocacy and assistance agency (urgent repairs, prospective buyer tours, etc.).

    Vacating your property

    When you're prepared to move on to another property, you should do a few things to ensure that you part ways amicably with the current owner.

    • Give adequate notice. Regardless of the reason for your departure, the initiating party is required to give notice. The notice term varies depending on the cause for leaving a property, as well as depending on the state and territory. Check with your local tenancy authority to find out which notice periods apply to you. Written notice is required, along with the date of notice, the date you will leave the property, and a statement of your reasons for leaving.
    • Get your property ready for transfer. You must make arrangements for the property to be prepared by the specified date after notice is issued. The agent/landlord must receive the property back from you in the same condition that you obtained it. Keep in mind that you might not be liable for normal wear and tear, but you must leave the property adequately clean and fix any damage you caused.
    • Plan the "bond" cleaning at the conclusion of the lease. The bond's recovery will be directly impacted by the state in which you vacate the property. Spend money on a professional cleaning service to perform an end-of-lease clean if you can. Make sure the yard or garden, if present, is equally orderly and tidy. See if the real estate agent has any recommended bond cleaning businesses by asking them.
    • Attend the lease inspection at the end. Attend the end-of-lease inspection if you are able to be there. The property agent will check the property against the initial property condition report and any updates made to the report during the tenancy. If everything goes according to plan, your bond should be returned to you without issue; however, if there are any disagreements, you can petition to have them settled by the tenancy tribunal in your state or territory.

    Where to go for help

    It can be difficult to navigate the rental market, so keep meticulous documents throughout your lease in case any questions later on are raised.

    You can locate a variety of organisations and websites that provide tenant advice particular to states and territories that can assist tenants with a variety of difficulties, such as:

    • tenants’ responsibilities;
    • privacy rights; and
    • dispute resolution.
    It is important to include:
    1. Rental history.
    2. Current or previous employment.
    3. Parental guarantee letters if you are a student receiving money from your parents.
    4. Information on pets if you have them.
    5. Info on who will be renting with you and how many months you would like to lease the property.
    6. Any references that are valid.
    Bring the following information to your meeting with the landlord or property manager so you can fill out your application on the spot:
    1. References. Have a written list of at least three references. ...
    2. Past rental or residence information. ...
    3. Proof of ability to pay. ...
    4. Financial information. ...
    5. Pet data. ...
    6. Liquid funds.
    To ensure you get the rental property you want, here are our top tips for creating a great first impression with your landlord or letting agency.
    1. Be Realistic About Budgets. ...
    2. Turn Up on Time To Property Viewings. ...
    3. Present Yourself Well. ...
    4. Have Your Documentation Ready. ...
    5. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Your Landlord Questions.
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