Guide to Renting

Finding a rental property


Sifting through properties for rent can be an exciting and overwhelming process. Properties that appear great online can, upon closer inspection, leave a lot to be desired. To make your rental hunt manageable it is important to create a wish list of negotiable and non-negotiable characteristics and use these to filter your rental property search. It can also be helpful to register with local real estate agents. By giving them a detailed outline of your requirements, they can add you to a rental database and match you with appropriate rental properties.

These requirements may include:

  • A suburb within a reasonable distance of your work and social network, and in proximity to services like medical centres or shopping centres, and your favourite places such as beaches, parks, cafes, bars and cultural centres
  • Street or allocated parking if you own a car, or access to public transport if you don’t
  • A certain number of bedrooms, depending on whether you’ll live alone, flat share or move in with a partner or family
  • A home office
  • Enough space for your existing furniture
  • A new kitchen and/or bathroom
  • Facilities such as a dishwasher or internal washing machine
  • A quiet location or building, or one with some urban hustle and bustle
  • An outlook or outdoor area
  • Pet friendly

Though renting is a temporary arrangement, this will be your home, so don’t underestimate how important these factors can be.

Setting a budget is key to establishing your rental price bracket and evaluating potential rental properties. Spending a maximum of 30 per cent of your income on rent is the rule of thumb, but everyone’s financial circumstances differ. When estimating your potential rental costs remember to factor in the bond (normally four weeks rent), an up-front rental payment (most states specify you can’t be asked for more than two weeks rent), removalist costs, crossover in rental expenses if moving from an existing rental property and utility connection fees.


How to Make a Strong Rental Application


Your potential landlord or property manager’s main concerns are that you will consistently pay your rent on time and take good care of the property. Approach securing the lease as you would a job interview – look the part and be prepared.

Have your relevant details on hand, including copies of your driver licence, passport, current or previous lease documents, income details and references. Obtaining a written reference from previous landlords or property managers can be a big help. If the rental property you are viewing is ‘the one’, you will be in a position to make an application straight away. Fill out your forms carefully and thoroughly.

When inspecting the property ask relevant questions; this way the agent will know you are serious about the property and you can share information about your suitability. The landlord or property manager’s main aim is to keep the property tenanted, so generally the sooner you can move in and the longer the lease, the more attractive you are on paper.


Negotiating rental prices


Rental prices are negotiable. Use your judgment. If a property has been sitting empty for a period of time, or you are the only prospective renter at the viewing, try submitting a lower offer. Whether it is accepted or rejected, or a compromise is found, you have nothing to lose.

Alternatively, if a rental property is in demand and there are a number of applicants competing for the lease, it can be worth submitting a slightly higher rental price. Your application will still go through the same stringent tenancy checks but it may put you ahead of the other applicants. If you try this tactic make sure the offer you submit is still within your budget.