Tenant Information / Tips
It is important when renting a property, that you understand all the procedures involved. Here are some useful tips, covering searching online and including links to useful websites.
Before making any decision, it is always important to do your research! Make sure you know everything there is to know about the area and type of home you are looking for. Have a look at the price and quality of the homes available in certain area’s to give you an idea on what you may be able to secure yourself.
Use real estate search portals (such as www.realestate.com.au) to compare multiple agents’ listings in any particular area/s. Newspaper classifieds are also great ways to research and get a feel of what is currently available.
It is important to shop around and avoid making rash decisions. The property you choose needs to suit you financially and also needs to meet any day-to-day needs. Make sure you check out the local schools and facilities before putting in an application.
There are significant upfront costs involved in renting a property – so make sure you budget and are confident when looking and applying for homes.
Different agents will conduct property viewings in different ways – depending on the circumstances surrounding the property.
If the property is currently tenanted, then you will need to make an appointment to view. However, if the property is vacant, quite often Property Managers will schedule ‘home opens’ for multiple prospective tenants to view. If you are interested in viewing a property – please make sure you contact the property manager for details.
Whilst conducting a viewing, make sure you check on things such as the safety and cleanliness of the property. Check that everything you require is in working order and if there are any problems, make sure the Landlord intends on getting these amended prior to you making an application.
Making an application:
If you’ve found the perfect home, speak to the manager of the property and find out if anyone else has made an application. You can also ask them if the requested rental price is negotiable.
The property manager will run through the application process and contract with you. When making an application, you are required to pay an application fee. This is the equivalent of one week’s rent and is refunded should your application not be successful. You are also required to supply 100 points of identification along with your personal details and any references related to employment and/or previous landlords.
Your signed application will be presented to the owners on your behalf and you should be notified as to whether you are successful or not.
Acceptance and signing of the lease:
If your offer has been accepted, the manager of the property will arrange a time with you to sign off on the lease. There will be certain clauses in the contract that you will be required to meet and these should all be explained to you thoroughly. If there is anything you don’t understand, make sure to ask questions and do not sign the lease until you are satisfied with all the clauses.
A Lease Agreement can be made by either one of the two following tenancies: periodic or fixed term. A Fixed term agreement sets in place a pre-determined time frame in which the tenant rents the property from the landlord. A periodic lease has no finish date as such – which means either landlord or tenant can terminate the agreement at any time by giving the appropriate notice (which will be stated on the contract).
Your Lease Agreement is governed by a set of laws called the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (the Act) and the Residential Tenancies Regulations. You will be supplied with a copy of this document; it might seem complicated so make sure you ask questions. The Act protects both landlord and tenant from certain issues that can arise during tenancy and makes sure that each party abides by certain laws in the process.
Costs involved with leasing a property are as follows:
- Two weeks rent are required in advance
- The equivalent of four weeks rent is required as a Security Bond (held for any damage to the property during tenancy – if you depart the property meeting all contract requirements and in the same condition as when you moved in, minus wear and tear, this Bond is fully refundable).
- $100 bond is required as security if you have a pet (this must first be approved by the Landlord).
Once the Residential Tenancy Agreement (lease) has been signed by all parties it is now unconditional and you will be able to move into the property as per the date agreed in the contact.
Make sure you update your contents insurance and notify all the relevant authorities as to your change of address. Also organise your electricity, telephone, gas, internet and removalists.
As a tenant it is your responsibility to ensure you meet, and do not breach any of the terms and conditions set out in your Lease agreement and in the Residential Tenancies Act. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Not causing damage to the premises and informing the landlord/manager ASAP if any damage has occurred
- Asking for the landlord’s permission prior to installing fixtures or making alterations or renovations of any kind to the property
- Avoid causing nuisance to the landlord or neighbours
- Not participating in illegal activities on the premises
- Maintaining upkeep of property (unless otherwise stated in contract), such as: keeping property clean, replacing light bulbs & reticulation head fittings, cleaning windows, garden maintenance etc…
- Adhering to property inspections when required (manager/landlord must give at least 7 – 14 days notice in writing)
- Making sure the rent is always up-to-date and paid on time
Vacating the premises:
If you’re on a fixed lease agreement which is about to expire, you do not wish to renew it and you’ve given the suitable notice; or either yourself or the landlord has given the relevant notice on a periodic lease, then it’s time to vacate.
You may be able to break a fixed lease agreement – if you need to do so, then please speak to your property manager about the legal and financial ramifications.
Upon conclusion of your tenancy, you are required to vacate the premises and return the keys to the property manager. They will then complete a final bond inspection. If no faults/cleaning is applicable, then you will be required to sign a bond disposal form to withdraw your security bond to be returned/refunded to you.