Rental Houses in Australia, How to Apply

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Finding rental houses in Australia involves searching the internet, local newspapers, local real estate brochures, and visiting and talking to real estate agents.

Whether you are looking for a home to rent in Sydney or elsewhere around Australia the process is rather similar.

Though the tenancy laws can be different from one state to another.

So check what applies to the state you are in.

To know more about your rights you can visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (accc.gov.au) website to find links to real estate services of each state.

So you've read papers, browsed websites, checked the listings of real estate agents and made a short list.

What now?

Here's the simple overview of the process. I mean the one that works in a cold market.

That is when no one competes with you for the same property. And you have the upper hand.

Not really the case in Australian capital cities. But you still need to know the basic steps.

So here we go.

Rental Houses in Australia - Application Steps in Brief

  • Inspect the houses on your list. The agents have open houses, usually on Saturdays. If the ones you're after are not open, ask the agent for a private inspection. 
  • After viewing several houses, apply for the one that suits you. 
  • Fill in the application form with your details. 
  • While applications can vary with the property agent, usually you need to include items such as: your current address, work details and how long you have worked for your current employer, where you rented before and why you are leaving that place, names of people who know you and can give you a reference. 
  • If you have just moved to Australia, you might not be able to offer all this information so you'll need to provide some details about your financial situation: bank statements, whether you have other assets. 
  • If the landlord accepts your application, you'll probably have to pay a reservation fee to secure the property. 
  • And make an advance payment of your rent. Usually for two weeks. But the owner can ask for more. 
  • Then you need to pay a bond, which is a deposit to cover the owner. For example if you damage the property. The amount can vary, but it generally is a 4 weeks' rent. 

And you're done. Happy renting.

The bond does not go to the landlord or agent. It is lodged with the relevant authority in each state.

You get the bond back when you leave. The agent inspects the property with you. If there are no issues (you don't owe money and have not damaged the property) you get your bond back.

Not all tenants are good, some don't pay in time or don't pay at all or damage the house.

Australian real estate agents have a tool that helps keep bad tenants at bay. It is the tenants' database. It provides them with information about any issues during previous tenancies.

Really, as a tenant it is not good to be in the database. Chances to find a new place to rent are very slim.

Rental Houses in Australia - Other Things to Know

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At the beginning of your tenancy, you and the agent fill in a condition report. Make sure to include any things that are not right, not clean or need to be repaired.

Keep the report. There will be a final inspection when you leave the property.
 
When you move out, leave the house in the same condition. Otherwise the owner can access your bond and use the money to have the property cleaned or repaired.

The owner must ensure that the house is liveable and all its fittings work properly. If they don't, speak to your agent, write to them or take the matter to authorities.

Whatever you do, don't stop paying the rent. You don't want to end up in the tenants' database.



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