So I thought I'd write a post about my experience with renting property in Oz, and how it differs with renting in the UK.
In my experience with renting in the UK the process all seems quite layed back. In Australia it's a little more sturdy in its approach.
I rented in the UK for about 6 years. Two different property's, and between them I didn't have one inspection. Maybe this was just me, I cant speak for anyon else's experience.
In Australia, the process is much more strict. Finding a property was relatively easy for our needs. We were looking for a decent size 3 bedroom place.
It's worth pointing out that the first thing that's different is the way in which you view a property. In the UK you'll phone the agent and arrange a viewing. In Australia there are set days and times a property is "open"
There will be ad's on websites, or in the paper telling you when it is open for inspection, so on these days, everyone who is interested in the property will converge on the place. Depending on how desirable the property is, you might need to fight your way through the front door. After that the agent will get you to sign your name and details on a register. This is mainly so they can call you in a few days and try to get you move in. Anyways, if you like it and are interested then the agent will have application forms there at the property so you can take one home and fill it in. You'll need to fill one in each if your a couple.
The form will usually ask you things like your details...(obviously) and what you do for a job, and how much you make. You will need to provide all sorts of ID so get photocopying. Driver's licence (Not sure if a UK one will do if you don't have your Australian one yet) Payslips, bank statement, bills etc. As you can tell, if you've just landed some of this can be a problem as you may not have any of it.
So once you've got all the paperwork together you can go ahead and submit it to the agent. They will collect all of the applications and hand them over to the owners of the property. They will then decide who they'd prefer to move in, and if your successful then you'll get the call and you can move in on an agreed date.
Before you move in though you'll need to do a bit more paperwork. The agents will give you two copies of a property report, which outlines the the condition of the property when you move in, all the way down to marks on the walls, how many picture hooks there are at the property and if everything works, and how clean it is. What the law actually says is;
"The landlord (or agent) is obliged to give you 2 copies of a completed ‘Condition of Premises Report’ (also referred to as an ‘inventory’) within 1 day of moving in. You must return a copy of this form within 2 weeks, indicating your agreement or disagreement with the report or parts of the report (STT 22). The report details the state of repair of the property and lists rooms and fittings."
Check the report very carefully and write down details of any marks on the walls, stains on the carpet, faulty equipment, damage etc. The report will be used as evidence at the end of the tenancy if there are any disputes. It is best to be thorough and take photographs (even video) of the condition of the premises when you move in.
If the landlord/agent doesn't give you a report to fill in, then do one of your own as soon as possible after moving in. If you don’t agree with their condition report make sure you have made your own observations clear in the report and make a copy to keep for yourself before you return a copy to them.
Things could get ugly if there is a dispute about if there was a stain on the carpet before or after you moved in etc. It's easier to get it all written down and reported so when you leave the property there is no dispute.
So once you sign your life away and of course pay your bond (4 weeks rent in advance) your good to move in.
A point about the bond - Your bond cannot be more than 4 weeks rent. By law they also have to give you a receipt. Your bond is lodged with the "Office of Regulatory Services" So they hold your money and not the landlord or agent.
Feel free to share you renting experiences with us here if you like, everyone's experience is different I guess but the foundations are the same.
For more information on renting you can visit the Tenants Union website here;
This is aimed at the ACT so other states may have different rules and regulations.
Until next time!