With house prices going nuts, renting is the only feasible option for many individuals these days. We’ve been renting since we moved to Sydney and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be buying property anytime soon.
So we’ve managed to make the most of it and learnt a few tricks from our years of renting experience. Below are some practical tips for fellow renters out there – old and new.
Shop around — Drive around the suburbs you want to move into and check out the neighbourhood. See where the schools are, bus stops, train stations, shops etc. Sites like Homesales with their rental property search tool will help you research all available properties in your chosen area once you’ve decided on which suburb to call home.
Watch out for hidden costs — Some are hidden, some not so much. But it’s good to take these things into account when renting. Budget for things like: bond payment, advance rent payment, option fee, utilities, insurance and so on so you don’t get caught out with unexpected expenses.
Organise your rental documents — Keep all your documents in one easily accessible spot. Check that all paperwork is complete – from the lease agreement to the inspection reports (double check before signing). Poorly organised paperwork is incredibly tricky to review when you need to refer to it!
Prepare for home inspections — Although some say property managers suggest that home inspections are every quarter, the reality is that it’s usually every year. Tidy the house and the outdoor area. Mow the grass and make sure the garden is tidy! Write a list of things you want fixed by the landlord ahead of time so you don’t have to wait for weeks after the inspection.
Always inform your property manager about damages — If you accidentally damage something in the house, make sure you let the landlord know as soon as possible. The Residential Tenancies Act says you need to let them know within a three-day time period so better get on to it.
Know your rights — If you get a notice to vacate, make sure you know your rights as to when you need to move out. In NSW for instance, there is a 30-day period required if the house is to be sold and 90 days if the fixed term period has expired without a new agreement being signed (see NSW Tenants Rights Factsheet). Before the rent can be increased, the landlord needs to give 60 days notice in writing.
It really does pay to do your research! There are heaps of resources out there so be sure to read up before you take the plunge and sign that rental agreement.
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Homesales.