Renting In Australia- A Tenant’s Guide

Renting In Australia: A Tenant’s Guide

If buying a home is out of your budget, renting in Australia is the next good option. But renting a home isn’t simply a matter of choosing a place you like and paying the required deposit to the landlord. There are factors that must be considered and procedures to be observed. And in a market where supply is tight, renting a home could present some challenges.

Finding Your Own Place

Renting a home is a decision that must be well- thought out. You must consider all factors and scenarios covering a specific property. The conditions can change depending on where you plan to rent in Australia.

1. Practicality:

  • Is the cost of rent within your budget?
  • Will your current source of income be enough to cover rent and other cost of living expenses?
  • Is the place near your place of work or study?
  • Will you be renting within proximity of commercial areas?
  • Is the place accessible by public transportation?
  • What is the peace and order situation in the area?

2. Cost:

Australia has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. It should not surprise you that its cost of rent could likewise be expensive. Again, this would depend on the city state you plan to rent. But there are upfront costs to be considered and these could be quite significant.

For example, if you are planning to rent a place that goes for $250 a week, the cost of moving in can be broken down as follows:

  • Advance Rent equivalent to 2 weeks rent – $500
  • Security Bond equivalent to 4 weeks rent – $1,000
  • Pet Bond assuming you own one – $260

Take note that we have not factored in the cost of moving furniture and other related expenses. In this scenario, you are looking at a total upfront cost of $2,000 or more.

The Process of Renting Property in Australia

Once you have found a place that suits your needs and fits your budget, the next step is to comply with the requirements of renting property in Australia.

Property rental in Australia is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the Residential Tenancies Regulation 1989. These laws are designed to protect your rights as a tenant and outlines the responsibilities of the parties to a rental agreement.

There are forms that have to be submitted and fees to be paid before you can be accepted as a tenant:

1. Tenant Application Form – The landlord or Property Manager will ask you to fill out a tenant application form which will be used to assess if you qualified to have exclusive possession of the premises.

In addition to the application form, you may be asked to submit the following:

  • Proof of Employment or pay slips
  • Photo ID
  • Cover Letter
  • Proof of Previous Rental History
  • Character References

In order to save time, make sure you have all the documents ready. The place you are interested in renting could have a long line of suitors. The landlord will award the premises to the first party that qualifies as a tenant.

2. Option Fees – The landlord may require you to pay an option fee while they verify your application and the documents you submitted. The amount of the option fee would depend on the cost of weekly rent and the location of the property.

Always verify the option fee before proceeding with the application process. If you decide not to push through or if you are not awarded the use of the premises, the option fee should be returned to you in full within 7 days.

If you are awarded the lease of the premises, then find out if the option fee can be applied to first month’s rent.

3. Tenancy Agreement – Renting property in Australia may require both parties to enter into a written tenancy agreement.

Although non-written tenancy agreements are recognized under the law, a written one gives more clarity on the terms and conditions covering your use of the property. It presents little room for argument in the event of disputes or arbitration.

The landlord may offer you a fixed-term or periodic tenancy which specifies a start and finish date. Another option would be a periodic tenancy agreement which could cover an indefinite time period for leasing the premises.

The written tenancy agreement is an important document. It outlines the provisions of your relationship with the landlord or Property Manager. Take the time to fully understand its stipulations and what you are agreeing to before affixing your signature.

If possible, ask an attorney who specializes in real estate law to review the contract and explain the conditions to you.

Once both parties have agreed and signed the tenancy agreement, the landlord must give you a copy.

Australia certainly has a lot to offer. A stable economy with good job opportunities, some of the world’s best universities and plenty of wonderful sights to see. These are just a few of the reasons why Australia’s real estate market continues to attract both local and international interest.

Thus, when planning to rent in Australia, have all your documentation ready and make every effort to fast track the tenant application process. Properties can easily come off the market as more people are looking for places to rent.

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