Renting a house is a great a way to live affordably and save. However, it’s important to ask the right questions and understand the rental process before signing a lease.
Renting houses takes practice and can often mean learning from costly mistakes, so we’ve compiled our top FAQs for tenants to help you out.
Someone on my lease wants to leave, what happens with their bond?
Unless a replacement tenant pays a bond or the agent/landlord agrees to give their bond back (very unlikely), the bond will remain in place until disbursement when the property is vacated.
What information must we provide when applying to rent?
- Full names of all tenants
- Photo ID
- Payslips (two of the latest)
- Bank statements
- Reference letters and phone numbers
- Drivers Licence number
- Passport number
- Contact details
- Rental history
- Employment history
- Pets (council registration number)
What are the usual lease terms?
There are some short term tenancies such as six months or a month-by-month tenancy, but the usual is 12 months.
Can the lease be extended beyond 12 months?
As a general rule, most tenancy agreements are for a minimum of 12 months and then after that or towards the end of your lease, the landlord may offer another 12 months or they might leave it on a month-to-month basis.
How do I inspect a property?
Check online or call the agent/landlord. Some will conduct open for inspections of the property and some might conduct private appointment inspections.
Most will require photo ID.
I’ve misplaced/lost my keys, what do I do?
Call the agent/landlord for their key to the property. If it’s after normal office hours and the agent/landlord is willing to address the problem, most will charge a fee (likely to be about $75-$100) to organise for you to collect the spare key. If it’s within office hours, most agents/landlords won’t charge, but you will need to pay for a new key to be cut.
The other alternative is for you to call and pay for a locksmith. With any new lock, a spare key must be allocated to the agent/landlord.
Our electricity is out, what should we do?
- Check the metre box to see if it’s a breaker switch that has tripped or a fuse
- Check to see if it’s affecting your neighbours or just your property
- If you are sure it’s just your property and others are not affected, then call the electricity provider and the agent/landlord to report the problem.
Can I have a pet?
This is quite a contentious issue and usually depends on what sort of pet you have. Some leases and properties strictly prohibit all or some type of pets. Sometimes offering a ‘pet bond’ may assist with your application if you have a pet.
Can another person move in with me?
As a general rule, people living in the property should be those on the lease. However, domestic circumstances change and provided you advise the agent/landlord, there shouldn’t be a problem unless you are trying to sublet.
Can I break my lease?
The short answer is yes, however there are conditions:
- You must continue to pay rent until the property is relet (at the same rate)
- You are responsible for all reasonable reletting costs, such as advertising, new lease preparation, etc.
Can I negotiate the rent?
Yes you can, but ultimately the rate will be determined by the agent/landlord.
How much is bond?
Generally one calendar month’s rent.
Can you pay your final rent using the bond?
Can I make alternations, such as alter the garden or paint a wall?
This will depend on the landlord, but it’s always worth an ask!
Can the landlord fix X (fence, carpet, courtyard, etc.) before I apply?
The landlord won’t fix anything before you apply for a property, but make sure you mention what you would like fixed in your application. It will then be up to the landlord to decide whether they will fix the issue.
How often is the agent/landlord allowed to inspect the property?
Every six months, but in addition to this, they can come through the property to check on any maintenance matters or if the property is being sold.