As a tenant, what documents should I expect to receive before I move into a property?
While the documentation you receive at the beginning of a tenancy can vary from state to state, you will find there a number of items that are required across most jurisdictions.
These include a copy of the tenancy agreement, information about renting in your state, a copy of the bond lodgement form and the condition report, which is to be completed, signed and returned to the agent or owner within the required time frame.
You may also receive a receipt for the initial rent amount, lease fees and bond payment, as well as copies of access keys and any remote controls. The property owner or agent may also provide you with emergency contact details for urgent out-of-hours repairs.
What happens when the lease expires?
You will find details of the expiry date in your lease agreement. If this date passes, your lease becomes a ‘continuing agreement’. This ensures all parties are bound by the original lease terms.
You can also request a lease renewal from the owner or agent. The owner of the property has the right to renew the lease, let arrangements continue under the terms of the original lease or issue the appropriate notice requesting that you vacate the property.
It is important for you to discuss whether or not you want to continue living in the property with the owner or agent well before the expiry date of your lease, which allows everyone to make the necessary plans and arrangements.
I want to break my lease, but have another person who wants to take over the property. What do I do?
Any agreed handovers must be done correctly and legally – you and the other person should contact your agent as soon as possible and let them know what you want to do.
You should also be aware that your agent or owner has no automatic obligation to agree to your request – the new person must complete an application form, provide references and carry out all the other steps that are necessary for anyone to be approved as a tenant.
If this application is approved, the new person should not move into the property until a final inspection has been carried out and the necessary arrangements are made with your owner or agent for the release of your bond.
What happens if I need to leave the property before my lease expires?
In this event, you are responsible for all reasonable expenses incurred by the owner or agent to locate a replacement tenant.
You would also need to continue paying rent until a new tenant is located and enters into a new lease agreement. You and the agent are both able to actively seek a new tenant – but this individual must complete all normal processes and checks before they are approved.
It is essential that you not leave the property without notifying your owner or agent – this will likely result in the loss of your bond and could also create a bad rental history record, which may make it more difficult for you to rent again in the future.
While in some areas, planned legislation will allow a tenant to make minor changes to the property – such as putting up picture hooks – as long as they leave the property in the same condition as when they moved in, other states take a more strict approach.
It is important for you to be aware that if any damage occurs through the installation or removal of picture hooks during your tenancy, you may be held financially responsible.
What happens if the owners of the property I am renting decide to sell?
There are a number of different scenarios that can occur if the owner decides to sell – these can depend on the expiry and terms of your lease agreement.
For example, if you are within the term of your lease agreement and the property is sold to another investor, you continue to have your rights to the property as a tenant when the new owner assumes the responsibility as your landlord.
If the property is sold to someone who wishes to live there, you will be given notice to vacate – this will usually give you plenty of time to arrange your next property.
How do I arrange any repairs that might be needed?
You need to advise the owner or agent of all requests for maintenance or repairs, preferably in writing. Maintenance forms for this purpose are often provided when you first move into the property.
It is essential that you do not attempt to repair things yourself – you have a responsibility to advise the agent or owner of maintenance matters that require attention. Your lease will include provisions for how you should handle repairs or maintenance requests.
What should I do if urgent or emergency repairs are needed at the property?
Generally, emergency repairs are required when the occupants’ health and safety – or the property itself – is threatened.
You should urgently try to contact your agent or owner and ensure you give them the opportunity to arrange for the emergency repairs, as long as they are completed in the most urgent and expedient manner possible.
If you cannot contact your agent or owner, you may have been supplied with a list of tradespeople nominated to handle emergencies when you signed your lease.
If some of my possessions are destroyed in a fire at my rental property, will my landlord pay for them?
As the tenant, it is your responsibility to insure your own personal belongings – the owner is responsible for insuring the fixtures and fittings included in the property at the time of letting, as well as the premises.
If you do not have home contents insurance for your personal belongings, you may need to bear the cost of replacing your possessions.
Am I allowed to put up picture hooks?
Before you make any alternations or additions to your rental property – including picture hooks – you should contact the agent or owner directly. It is wise to do this in writing, specifying exactly where you want the picture hooks to be placed.
Where can I find information about the rules and legislation that relate to renting in my state?
Feel free to speak to your us if you have any questions that specifically pertain to your property.
Otherwise, you should be able to find most of the general information you need online from various local and state authorities. These will depend on the state or territory where your rental property is located, but useful ports of call include your local council, as well as relevant federal and state consumer groups and government departments.
What are the different ways to pay my rent?
While payment methods can vary from state to state – and even from agent to agent – you will usually have a number of choices.
These can include electronic payments, direct debit, bank cheques or money orders. Cash payments are generally not accepted, as this can create a security risk.
What should I do if I am temporarily unable to pay my rent?
It is essential for you to contact your agent – or the property owner directly, if you are not renting through an agent – as quickly as possible if there will be a problem with your rent payment.
Ignoring the problem will not make it go away – and you may find that you are able to come to an understanding with the agent or owner if your inability to pay rent is only temporary.
Communication is essential in these circumstances and it is important for you to continue to keep the agent informed of your circumstances.
I would like to rent a property, but do not have a job. Will this make it hard for me to rent?
When you rent a property, the major requirement is that you are able to prove you can meet your rent payments and pay the initial bond – this is usually equivalent to four weeks’ rent.
If you have a considerable amount of savings, this may not be an issue – although you may be at a disadvantage if you cannot show a source of income. If you are receiving assistance from another source – such as Centrelink payments – you should provide verification of this.
In addition to the rent, what other costs are tenants expected to pay?
Any additional payments you may have to make will vary from state to state, but may include letting or administration fees to be paid to your agent, as well as a bond on the property. This is usually equivalent to four weeks’ rent.
It is also important to budget for the additional costs that can be associated with moving, such as connections and removal charges.