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Renters Guide

Standing Out From The Crowd

There can be fierce competition for rentals, so it is more important than ever to  ensure that your application stands out from the crowd. Think of it as a job interview of sorts. You need to be the one that the property manager or landlord. 

A good rental history goes a long way and glowing references all supporting this is honestly the greatest card a prospective tenant has to leverage. This is why you should be mindful that in the long term all phases of the renting process count as a measure. The landlord or property manager who are assessing you now will be the same people you want to provide you with a glowing reference post leasing their property. 

Here's some insight into the different aspects of renting that you need to know and some quick tips on how to stand out from the crowd:

1. Rental Resume 

If you have rented before than you can create a one page snapshot resume that allows the assessor to see at a glance all the places you have rented, the duration, amount, references for each property. This helps to demonstrate that you are organized and prepared. 

If you are a first time renter than you can approach it by making a one age profile about yourself. It can include items such as; your current occupation, studies completed, volunteer work, hobbies & interests, even list character references.

Most agencies will still require you to complete their application form. The idea of the one page snapshot is not to replace these industry standard applications, but to help you have an edge.

2. Applicant Interview

Just remember that the landlord or property manager acting on behalf of the landlord needs to ensure a prospective tenant meets their criteria for renting the property. That's why it is far more involved than being able to demonstrate that a steady, reliable income that will sustain the regular payment of the rent. 

First impressions do count:

  • Turn up to the appointment on time
  • Ensure that you have all your proof of identity and any other items requested.
  • Read the lease terms and conditions. Ask as many questions as you need to. It is really important that you understand the agreement that is being offered.
  • Advise your referee's that you are looking for a new rental and to expect a call from the landlord or property manager so they are ready for the call.

3. Reference Checks

There are a variety of different mechanisms available for the landlord or property manager acting on behalf of the landlord to assess an applicants application. They do this to validate whether what has been presented is a true and accurate record. There are regulations that vary from state to state, so this is just a list of the types of checks that may be done. Ask your landlord or property manager to advise of their specific validation process.

Here are a few that can be used:

  • Credit Record
  • Business Reference
  • Rental Reference
  • Personal Reference

4. Black List Databases

There are private based companies out there that provide what is known as a tenant blacklist that some landlords or property managers acting on behalf of the landlords may use to check a persons history. It isn't a database that holds everyone's details, it is just people who qualify for blacklisting. Qualification for this criteria, once again varies from state to state. Typically the individuals who are on this list have been proven to have rent in arrears by an amount in excess of the bond, and or have breached their tenancy agreement in some form. An example of this is in the unfortunate instance where a tenant has been proven to have maliciously damaged the property.

Here are a few of the companies that are used within Australia:

  • TICA
  • Trading Reference Australia
  • National Tenancy Database (Equifax)

5. Rental Leases 

The first thing to know is that a rental lease is a legally-binding agreement between the tenants listed on the lease and the landlord or agency acting on behalf of the landlord. In a nut shell this agreement is there to protect you as much as it is there to protect the landlord. It defines how long the tenants will be renting the property for, how much the tenants must pay, the frequency of payment, and what the tenant responsibilities are.

If the named tenant(s) breach the conditions of the lease, the landlord can have the right to evict them. 

6. Breach of Lease

If a tenant is unsure, it is recommended that they refer to the lease and if still uncertain, ask before commencing with whatever it is that they have planned. Ignorance is no excuse. We are living in an age where some great ideas have sprung up such as Airbnb services that allow for a property to be listed as a holiday rental to travelers. Tenants should not assume that a rental property that they are leasing can be used in this subletting type arrangement. The same goes for wanting to long term subletting of a room to a friend, cousin, uncle etc. This may seem like a good idea, but a tenant must first check the terms of their lease. Most leases these days require all occupants to be vetted and named on the lease. In fact it is far better for the tenant to insist on all occupants being named, otherwise they remain 100% responsible for the lease and are likely in breach. 

A lot of it is common sense. If the lease states no smoking is allowed within the premises, then tenants and the guests of tenants should adhere to this. If it states strictly no pets are allowed, then that means no pets are allowed on the premises. 

7. Renters Rights

Certain rights are provided to tenants that are named on the lease. It is designed to ensure that tenants are represented with fair and reasonable treatment by the landlord or property manager acting on behalf of a landlord. 

It's important to become familiar with tenant entitlements. The rights for tenants vary from state to state within Australia, so don't assume if you rented in Sydney and then move to Victoria that you have the same rights. 

For further details, you can do a google search for the tenancy act in the state you are interested to read up on the current rights.

8. Inspection Report

 The rental property will be provided to the tenant in a clean, well-maintained state. The landlord or property manager will go through what is known as an entry condition report checklist or inspection report. It's critical that the tenant see's and agree's with everything that is captured on this checklist, as it will be used to measure the condition of the property at the point the lease has expired or is being broken for early termination.

If pre-existing damage is listed on the report, it is irrefutable. Take the time to do this activity thoroughly so that everyone is aligned and agrees on the condition of the property.

9. Bond

Typically a bond is usually equivalent to one months rent. The bond money is held by a regulatory body in escrow until the tenant claims it back at the end of their tenancy.

A rental bond is set to provide a modicum of financial security for the landlord in case the tenant breaches the terms of the lease. Eg: If they vacate without notice or have outstanding rental payments due or damage has been made to the property, the landlord can keep the bond to make the necessary corrections.

10. Paying Rent

The frequency and method for paying rent should be clearly defined in the tenants lease.

Pay rent on time.

If there is a problem, the tenant should call their landlord or if they have a property manager assigned, call them.

The lease will specify that the landlord or the property manager acting on their behalf can have a tenant evicted if they have 'x' amount of days in rental payment overdue.

11. Repairs

Landlords or Property Managers acting on behalf of a landlord are responsible for organizing and paying for repairs when they are assessed and identified as necessary items to maintain the property in good condition. This factors in emergency repairs, which should be done within a timely fashion.

12. End of Lease

When a tenant is moving out of the premises it is in their best interest to leave it in a clean state. This is not only because the tenant will retrieve their bond, but also to ensure that they have a glowing reference available for the next time that they find themselves needing to rent a property. 

All tenants should make sure that they jointly step through the inspection report to agree that the property is in the same or better condition than it was when it was handed over. 

13. Breaking a Lease

There will be terms and conditions that are contained within the tenants lease agreement that stipulates how to go about breaking the lease should circumstances arise that such an event is required. Depending on what is within the agreement the tenant may be required to pay compensation to the landlord for the loss of income caused by them ending the tenancy agreement prematurely. Examples of the costs are: re-letting fees, advertising costs, and rent until a new tenant is found.

Once again, when vacating the property all tenants should make sure that they jointly step through the inspection report to agree that the property is in the same or better condition than it was when it was handed over. 

Property One Bayside