Are you moving out of home and looking at moving into your first rental home? Are there a million questions you have about the whole rental process and how it works? Well here are the top tips and tricks for every first-time tenant to ensure that you make the most out of your first rental home.
How a Lease Agreement Works
A lease is an agreement between a landlord and yourself (as the tenant) that is legally-binding. Within a lease agreement, it defines how long the property will be rented for, your responsibilities as a tenant as well as the cost of rent. Take your time and read the lease – do not sign an agreement until you have read through the document. The Landlord does have the right to have additional clauses in the lease agreement. It is important that both parties (landlord and tenant) abide by the lease agreement. If there is a property manager involved they also will be listed on the lease agreement however essentially there are only there to aid the process. The great advantage of having a property manager is that they are very much bound by laws and legislations and are also very aware of these.
A rental bond is an amount of money that is paid at the beginning of the tenancy as an element of financial security in case any terms of the lease agreement are breached. For most properties that maximum price of a bond is equivalent to 4 weeks rent. If at the end of the lease the property is left undamaged and clean, the bond will be returned. The bond is always lodged with the Bond Administration so the Landlord cannot hold your funds. There is also an additional pet bond of $260 which in the case of a pet being kept at the premises.
There are many methods of paying rent, these include:
- Electronic bank transfer
- Cash (a receipt must be received with all cash payments)
- Credit card
- Deductions from your pay
The landlord or property manager keeps a record of your payments. It is generally expected that rent always be paid in advance. If your rent exceeds a specific number of days, it is the landlords right to be able to terminate your agreement. Note that ANY time you pay rent via cash the Landlord or Property Manager MUST provide a receipt – this is a law.
Leaving the property:
It is important that there is open communication between the landlord, Property Manager and yourself as the tenant, especially regarding your status within the property. If you plan on moving out prior to the expiration of your lease, it is important that the landlord and the property manager are made aware of your situation so they have time to arrange new tenants for the property. By ensuring there is open communication between all parties, it minimises the chances of a misunderstanding.
Renting is a fun and exciting period in your life. It allows you to have a home of your own without the burden of a mortgage. There are numerous reasons to lease and even if you are ready to purchase it is a great way of living in the area before you commit.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (previously known as Department of Commerce) also offer free information and fact sheets on renting. Click here to view them.