tips for a long and happy tenancy
Whether you’re a seasoned renter or moving out of home for the first time, there are a number of things you should consider when renting to help make sure that your tenancy is a long and happy one with minimal headaches.
Make yourself familiar with your lease agreement
Your lease agreement is one of the most important documents of your tenancy so it’s important to understand it. It’s a legally-binding agreement between you and the landlord and defines things like how much rent you will pay each week, what your responsibilities are and how long you’ll be renting the property.
Before signing, make sure to read through it carefully (including the terms and conditions) so you’re completely aware of what you’re agreeing to.
Your bond is paid at the start of your tenancy as financial security for the owner; it’s designed so that if the property is damaged during your tenancy, the owner can keep the bond to use for repairs and cleaning. The bond is held at the RTA for the whole duration of your tenancy and is only refunded at the end of your tenancy.
It’s important to make sure you leave the property in the same condition it was handed to you in (minus fair wear and tear) and pay any monies that you owe to increase your chances of getting a full bond refund.
Paying your rent
There are a few different methods available to you when paying your rent which are all stipulated in your lease agreement. Paying your rent should be your number one priority; any defaults on your rent payments (no matter how small) are recorded on your rental ledger which can be referred to by banks and other real estate agents when applying for finance or another rental property.
Any payment you make that is receipted by our agency is recorded on your rental ledger and you can request this at any time or access it in your tenant portal.
If your situation changes and you are struggling to keep up with your rent payments, talk to us! We may be able to offer some advice on where you can get help or talk to the owner about a payment plan until you can get back on track. You may be embarrassed but avoiding us or not returning our calls can only make things worse.
Contents (Renter’s) insurance
It’s alarming how many tenants still don’t take out contents insurance; some may think they simply don’t need it or some may not even realise that it’s an option. With so many things to think about when moving, it can be easy to forget about insurance but it should be as important as connecting your electricity or phone.
If something were to happen to your property and belongings, the owners landlord insurance won’t cover your belongings. A good quality contents insurance policy will cover you to replace or repair your belongings after loss or damage caused by fire, flood or storm, malicious damage by other people, theft or attempted theft, stray animals, and some accidental glass breakage.
Have a budget and stick to it
There are a lot of expenses to think about when renting, especially if this is your first time out of home. One of the best things you can do to keep on top of everything is to create a realistic budget and stick to it. You’ll need to include things like rent, electricity, internet/phone costs, groceries, fuel and any other expenses you may have; it’s important to allow yourself some breathing room to adjust it as needed and still live your life!
If budgeting isn’t your strong point, you can also set up an automatic direct debit for your rent; remember that the rent is essentially the roof over your head so prioritising your electricity, phone bill or car payments over your rent doesn’t make much sense!
Know your rights as a tenant
When you’re named as a tenant on the lease agreement, you have certain rights that you should be aware of.
For information regarding your rights, you can contact the RTA on their details below or visit their website:
Phone – 1300 366 311 (cost of a local call)
International – +61 7 3046 5400
Housemate etiquette and managing housemate disputes
If you’re living with housemates you’ll need to establish good relationships and boundaries with them in order to live harmoniously with each other. If done right, living with your mates can be a great experience but if you’re not prepared it can also be a horrible one.
To make sure everyone is on the same page, informal rules should be set up for things like:
- Having people stay over
- Paying bills
- Food sharing
Some of the common reasons for housemate disputes are bills, rent, room allocation, housework and property damage. You might not think it will happen to you but these disagreements can happen to anyone.
It helps to manage these disagreements by using clear, relaxed and open discussion; failing that, you can also use a free dispute resolution service which is provided by the RTA.
In the event that your belongings have been damaged or stolen by your disgruntled housemate, check that this damage or theft is covered under your contents insurance.