Landlords are technically supposed to let you know if there isn’t a landline connection to the property, but it’s always good to double check for yourself. If there’s not, it’ll be a lot harder and pricier for you to get internet.
The laws vary from state to state, but in most apartments, the landlord pays the water bills. Though if you’re renting a house, it may come down to you to pay it. Make sure that the water meter is fitted with an efficiency device, because if the landlord can’t prove that the property is water efficient, you don’t have to pay the bills.
If you can, come back and see the property at night. Is is right next to an all-night rave that you missed during the day? Or is there a lot of foot traffic which would potentially be a noise issue for you? Also find out what the public transport is like, you don’t want to be stuck in a suburb that has no buses on Sundays.
Even if you don’t have a dog, but you think you might want one sometime soon, it’s good to know what the rules are for the building you’re in. On the other hand, if you’re allergic to cat hair, maybe you’d prefer to be in a building where animals are banned.
Again, laws vary by state, but in most places, your bond can’t legally exceed four weeks’ rent. And you can’t be asked to pay more than two weeks’ rent in advance. Google “tenant rights + [your state]” to make sure you’re not being asked for too much.
9. And take a day or two to properly read the lease.
It might be tempting to just sign the lease and get the keys ASAP, but ask your landlord or real estate agent if you can take it away and give it a proper read-through. Ask a mate to read through it as well just to make sure you’re not getting yourself into anything you’re not up for.
10. Actually go through the condition report, and check EVERYTHING.
It’s all well and good to give it a quick skim through and sign it, but before you start moving your stuff in, make sure you really go through the property and check everything off. Take photos and detailed notes of any issues you find, even if the landlord has already noted it.
If repairs need to be done to the property, contact your landlord ASAP and they have to arrange for it to be fixed. If the repairs are needed urgently, you can’t get in contact with your landlord, and end up paying for it yourself, they have to reimburse you.
12. But you have to pay for things like lightbulbs and smoke alarm batteries.
A sad fact of living in most places in Australia is that you might end up with a mould infestation. If you notify your landlord right away, and make every effort to minimise risk (eg moving clothes out of a mould-infested cupboard), they have to arrange for its removal. If a room becomes unlivable due to mould, you can apply for a rent reduction.
16. Always put all correspondence with your landlord in writing.
As issues come up while you’re living in the house (eg a broken shower door, a drawer that sticks, a scratch on the floor), make sure you take photos and tell your landlord or real estate agent straight away. If you don’t want to hire end-of-lease cleaners, follow a checklist to make sure you’ve got everything. When they do their final inspection, make sure you’re there in case something comes up.