Set a budget
Cost is often the biggest issue when seeking out a rental property, since a good chunk of your disposable cash will likely end up going straight to rent. The general consensus is that no more than a third of your annual income should be put toward your housing costs. Knowing how much you can expect to pay may help you decide which suburbs to focus on.
Find a neighbourhood
Do you want space, or do you want to be surrounded by people? How important is it to be close to a park? Do you rely on public transport? And how much is all of this going to cost?
These are the questions that many renters need to ask themselves when picking a place to live. What’s more, finding a neighborhood you love will determine how much you actually enjoy living in the property. But no matter where you live, there will be trade-offs like transit access, neighbourhood noise, proximity to services or the city centre and more.
See the place in person
Visit every rental property that you’re considering. This is crucial for a few reasons: It allows you to see the place, and ensure that it lives up to what the listing promised. You can also check the property for any signs of wear and tear, size of spaces, noise levels and to get a feel for the street and neighbourhood.
Have your documents ready
Say you’ve found your dream property. Now, it’s time to put in an application—but as many of us know, good properties can be gone in a split second. If you’re lucky enough to find something that you know is a diamond in the rough, you better have all of the necessary paperwork together. Ensure you have the following documents ready to submit along with a completed application form;
- Photo ID; either a driver’s license or a passport
- A copy of your Rental Ledger
- Last gas/electricity/phone bill or rates notice
- Reference from employer or fellow staff member
- Reference from neighbour/teacher/business person/doctor/accountant
- Copies of recent pay slips and bank statements;
- Landlord reference letter saying that you’re a dream tenant.
- If you’re self employed , your tax returns for the last two years, you’ll definitely need this, and may even want to have a letter from your accountant.
What is a residential tenancy agreement?
A residential tenancy agreement is a legally binding written contract between you, as a tenant or resident, and a property landlord, is also commonly called a lease. This document should be given to the tenant before paying any money or being committed to the tenancy. Make sure you read it carefully and ask any questions.
What is a bond?
A bond is a separate payment to rent, it is money that acts as security for the landlord or owner in case you don't meet the terms of your lease agreement. At the end of your agreement if the property is in need of cleaning or repairs or if items need to be replaced the landlord or owner may claim some or all of the bond. As the bond is a separate payment to the rent you cannot use any part of the bond as rent – so, when you are moving out, you cannot ask the landlord to keep your bond as final rent payment.
Know your rights as a tenant
Let’s say you’ve signed the lease on a place you love—congratulations! Now, it’s time to understand your rights as a tenant. If that dream property suddenly gets a bedbug infestation or loose hot water for a week, you will need to understand your rights.
Similarly, as a tenant there are many responsibilities which are outlined in your Residential Tenancy Agreement, that must be adhered to. Each Australian State has a governing body which can offer assistance to tenants who are experiencing any difficulties or issues with their Landlord or Agent throughout their tenancy.