Location location location…
It may seem obvious, but one of the most important decisions you have to make when renting a house is the area. If you’re a local, then you’ll know exactly which spots you’d rather be in over those you’d wish to avoid. If the property looks too good to be true, and is reasonably priced, then it may be in a less sought after neighbourhood. This isn’t necessarily a problem, just be sure to check that you’ll be living somewhere that’s convenient for you.
Some valuable questions to ask yourself are; how far away will you be from a supermarket? How about a train station or some form of public transport? Will a taxi home from a night out cost a fortune? Are you close to a petrol station? Think about where you spend most of your time, then see if the rental house location will fit your lifestyle comfortably.
Be clear on your finances
Clarity around your financial obligations is vital when entering into a tenancy agreement. Find out exactly how much rent you will be expected to pay, the frequency of this and the details of what expenses are included. For example, the property might be advertised as $500 per week, but does this include your water, your gas and your electricity – or no bills at all? How much bond is required, and where will this be stored? Check these details out.
If you’re viewing properties with your heart and not your head, it can be easy to rush into an agreement without fully considering your own budget. Although it may seem obvious, before you search for a rental property work out the maximum amount that you can comfortably afford to spend on rent and bills per month and keep this in mind when shopping around. Try not to view properties above your price point.
Read the fine print
Another seemingly obvious point, but take the time to thoroughly educate yourself on your tenancy agreement. Every property and landlord is different, some lenient towards your suggestions and some very strict. Consider the length of your lease, and research the terms and conditions around breaking your lease early if your circumstances change. Is a guarantor required? Are there any terms that you don’t feel comfortable with? These questions are best asked before you sign on the dotted line…
You think your dog is cute, tidy and doesn’t make any noise – that doesn’t mean that your landlord accepts pets. You’d love to hang your new clock in the kitchen, but your landlord has forbidden you to drill holes in the wall. Of course your kitchen comes with the dishwasher… or does it?
Pets, home renovations and the inclusion of white goods are hot topics in the rental world. You’ll find that if you’re trying to rent a house and ‘accidentally forget’ to mention that you have a pet, the consequences can be severe. It’s always best to be upfront and honest with any questions you have about what you can and can’t do to the property.
From the moment that you enter into conversations about a rental property, to the day that you move out – keep every piece of communication between yourself and the real estate/ landlord on file. This may sound like a lot of effort to go to, but it’s as simple as saving an email or a few pieces of paper.
The most common complaint about rental properties is attempting to retrieve your bond back once you vacate. It’s the age old argument, the tenant insists they didn’t cause the damage whilst the landlord tries to deduct it from the bond. By making a detailed entry report, and taking photographs of just about every inch of the house before you move in, you’ll cover your own back 12 months down the track.
Know your rights
Tenancy laws can vary from state to state, as does the authority you should turn to for help or to make a complaint. Here are the links you need for your state: