A brief guide to becoming a tenant

x_157_91767_0_14067341_300Rather than becoming home owners in their own right, many Australians elect to become tenants and rent out another’s property. The reasons for this can range from financial motivations to lifestyle wishes.

If you’re set on taking this course, it helps to have some common points of confusion sorted out. Here is a short guide to what you need to know as a tenant in New South Wales.

How can I find a property to rent?

Just like finding a house to buy, there are numerous avenues for those looking for a rental property. You can look at newspapers, check out real estate listings online or even physically visit a real estate agent’s office. If you fill out Laing+Simmons’ property alert, we can send you properties that match your particular criteria when they are placed on our databases. Be sure to go to an open inspection before committing to anything.

How do I apply for a rental property?

At an open inspection, property managers will often hand out tenancy application forms. However, you can also often receive these forms from real estate agencies. Some of the details you’ll need to fill out include the typical personal details, whether or not you have any pets, employment history and references. You’ll also need to provide proof of your identity and income. In most cases, the property manager or landlord will request to interview you.

How do I start my tenancy if I’ve been approved?

If you’ve been approved, you’ll need to fill out a residential tenancy agreement – essentially a contract between you and the landlord. You’ll be notified when you need to sign this. The landlord should provide this form in writing and upon signing it, they must provide you with a NSW Fair Trading new tenant checklist, or a copy of the strata by-laws if you’re joining a strata scheme.

Be aware that the landlord cannot hide certain key pieces of information from you if entering into a tenancy agreement, such as any associated health or safety risks or if the house was the scene of a recent violent crime.

Do I need any other documents from the landlord?

As well as the checklist and a copy of the lease, you’ll need two copies of the premises condition report, a bond lodgement form and the keys to the home. You might also be asked to pay a holding fee and rent in advance. Bear in mind that bond mustn’t be worth more than four weeks rent, and rent in advance can’t exceed two weeks, unless you volunteer to pay this much. Keep any and all receipts from these transactions.

Is there anything I can’t be charged for?

The landlord can’t charge you for the cost of preparing your lease or for supplying you with keys.

Now that you’ve got that sorted, you’re ready to move in to your new rental property: Just be aware that once you move in, you will need to fill out the premises condition report, noting any damage to the property, and give it back to the landlord within a week. This will protect you from being unfairly charged later on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *