To get the most out of renting, you need to be prepared to talk with your property manager. You need to make sure you’re entering into an agreement that will work for both of you. It’s also important to know what all your rights and responsibilities are.
Choose the right home
Once you’ve found somewhere, make sure you co-operate with the property manager so they can easily choose you to be the tenant. For example, fill out the Tenancy Application Form as much as you could.
Work out what you can afford to pay
The property manager can ask for bond money up to the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent. Also they can ask for 1 or 2 weeks’ rent in advance. This depends on whether the tenant will pay weekly (1 week in advance) or fortnightly (2 weeks in advance).
Do your sums before you commit to anything. For example, if your rent’s $250 per week, you may need to pay:
4 weeks’ rent as bond: $1,000
2 weeks’ rent in advance: $500
Letting fee (1 week’s rent plus GST): $288
So the total you’ll need is $1,788.
Know your budget… and stick to it!
Only sign documents when you’re ready
Read the tenancy agreement carefully (including the standard terms and any conditions) before you sign it. Only sign a tenancy agreement when you’re sure you want the property.
Record the condition of the property
Inspect the property with your property manager. Ask any questions you have and record any damage.
Get the right insurance
You’ll need contents insurance that includes tenant liability. Your landlord’s insurance policy doesn’t protect your belongings.
You’re liable for any damage you or your invited guests cause, intentionally or carelessly. Even if you aren’t named on the tenancy agreement, you should have a:
contents insurance policy to protect your belongings
personal liability policy to protect you from any careless damage you or your guests may cause to the property.
If an insurance company pays out a landlord for damage and believes you’re liable for that damage, the company may seek compensation from you. Personal liability insurance may protect you in this situation.
Get services hooked up
Get the gas, electricity and phone connected. If you’re paying for water charges, record the water meter reading on the property inspection report and in the tenancy agreement.
Get all the small-but-important stuff sorted out:
get a set of keys
find out when rubbish and recycling is collected
get your mail redirected by the post office if needed.
Get a signed copy of your tenancy agreement, and receipts for any payments you make. Keep them all in a safe place – they may help if there’s a dispute.