When moving to a new country, it is always essential to devise a plan in securing a place you can call home. This is fairly easy to do so if you already have relatives in the area, or if you have already bought a house. However, if you find yourself here in Australia on a working or student visa, chances are it will be more difficult, as well as expensive, for you to buy a house. Australian citizens, along with those who have permanent visas, enjoy numerous benefits from the government like exemptions and grants for first-time owners, which expats and foreign students do not have.
If this is your case, then the first step you must take is find a rental, whether it is a house or an apartment. Choosing to rent a property in Australia is recommended if you will only be staying in the country for only a few years or less. If you intend to stay longer or would want to move permanently to Australia, you should look into purchasing a real estate property.
So, how do you choose the perfect rental space for you?
Location, Location, Location
Choosing the location of your rental is the same as choosing a house. Choose a space in the neighborhood you like, consider the facilities in the vicinity, and how important it is in your everyday life. Will there be heavy traffic on your way to work or school? Are the neighbors generally welcoming? Are you close to the market, the office, and the nearest hospital? If you are with kids, how far is the nearest school? Make a list of the things you would like to see in the area where you want to live, and take it from there.
Finding the Listings before Renting in Australia
After making a list, what now? The next step is finding the local listings. This is where the real hunt begins. But how? Here are a few ways:
Search the Internet
Probably the fastest way to find vacant properties, utilizing the capabilities of the Web makes the task faster. Nowadays, owners are keeping up with the times and are using the internet to advertise the spaces they showcase in the market. Just type in the search bar, click, and voila! The options are seemingly endless.
Check through the Newspapers
Local newspapers still carry advertisements and local property listings, and it is certainly one of the most effective ways in finding a space. While the internet holds multiple options, most of the time they are not as updated as they should be. Seeing an actual ad in the newspapers shows you the actual availability, prices, and contact information you can use right away.
Connect with Realtors and Agents
Although most people think that realtors only handle buying and selling of properties, they are also very knowledgeable in terms of rentals and lettings. They have the contacts, they have the locations, and they have the prices. Think of them as the middle men in this trade.
Be on the Lookout for Rent and Lease Signs
Probably the easiest to spot in the list, owners and agents alike place these signs in available properties. These signs usually have the contact information written in them too so it is fairly easy to contact the owners or agents.
Difficulty of Renting in Australia
If after a few tries you still cannot find a space that is suitable and available for you, it is because the competition for Australia’s property rental is a bit stiff. With a surge in the population as well as foreign workforce entering the country, the availability of housing has posed major concerns. And because the demand is great, the costs have gone up as well.
Take Sydney for example. A busy and buzzing city like Sydney only offers 1% rental vacancy rate, and given this small window and the continuing flow of people, most agents line up twenty or more applicants. In most up-market areas and a few high-end suburbs, a comfy five-bedroom, three-bathroom set up with views and facilities can cost $15,000 a week. In the less desirable areas, it can cost you at least $200 a week. Of course, the price differs as you search for rentals further away from the city.
Average Rents in Major Capitals
Median Rental Price for Apartments (Units) and Houses (per week) based on City
- Adelaide $340
- Brisbane $390
- Canberra $480
- Darwin $550
- Hobart $315
- Melbourne $400
- Perth $390
- Sydney $510
Rules and Regulations for Renting in Australia
After successfully finding an available spot for you, the next step is familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations of the rental space. In Australia, renting is a very heavily regulated and meticulous process.
Here are some common requirements for renting:
- Advanced rental fee - a month’s rent in advance is a typical requirement.
- Bond fee - a form of property insurance, which is kept in an independent holding account processed by the RTA or Rental Tenancies Authority, a State governed body.
- Documentary requirements:
- Signing a Tenancy Agreement
- Proof of employment and character references
- Providing bank and other financial statements
- Providing identification (Licenses, passports, utility bills)
- Credit Check – this is usually done by the rental agent.
- Additional agreements or contract with the property owner.
The rights of the tenant vary per region. However, it is comforting to know that the whole country enforces an anti-discrimination regulation for tenants.
Inspections while Renting in Australia
Tenants all over the world endure inspections, and in Australia there are no exceptions. There are three types of inspections being done.
During the pre-inspections, the property manager or letting agent will accompany you the site and will take note of the current conditions of the space. This will be the basis of the future inspections, so gather as many information as possible. This is also the time to ask the agent about the history of the space, so that you might know what to expect of it. Take note of any concerns you might have, and also what aspects of the house or apartment might need repair so it would go on record before the signing of the contract. The pre-inspection report will be the owners’ and the agent’s basis of how you treated the space, so observe carefully and ask questions.
There are also on-going inspections to be expected every six months or so. This is to ensure the quality of your tenancy, while also observing whatever concerns might have risen after the pre-inspection. You are expected to be there when the agent arrives, and damages that are not on the previous reports will be noted of and reported back to the owners. If you have present concerns about the space, this would be a good opportunity to discuss it with the property manager.
The final inspections are done at the end of your tenancy, and will carry the final verdict about the bond you paid before signing the contract. The current state of the space will be compared to the pre-inspection report, and any problems that have risen since then will be carefully analyzed. Degradation and damages are usually deducted from the bonds.
The Pros and Cons of Renting a Property in Australia
As with all decisions in life, there are pros and cons in renting. Here is a quick list of the basic pros and cons in securing a rental property in Australia.
First, the landlord is expected to be responsible with the maintenance of the space’s condition, as he is also responsible with fixing minor and major problems along the way. Renting also poses less commitment with the property, as you will not be required to pay mortgage and large sums of deposit.
One of the cons in renting is that it is your responsibility to keep the space intact and as-is with the initial report’s stated condition. However, any damage caused by nature, wear and tear, and other activities not done by you or your party will not be your burden. The bond fee and the advanced rent can be a quite a handful, and you are only provided for with the space as long as you are paying the rent. The property will always belong to the landlords.
Vacating the Rental Property
After all is said and done, the agent, acting as the middle man, will compare the initial and final reports in order to decide what to do with the bond fee, among other issues. After the process, you will be asked to look over the results and sign the end contract if you see it fit. Any problems and disputes that may arise from this can be taken up to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT). If things go smoothly, you will be cleared and be free to take the next step in your life.
Are you thinking about finding a rental space for your stay in Australia? Contact us to learn more.