For new arrivals one of the first difficulties is to find somewhere to live. If you are a first time renter here are a few things you need to know to get started.
Read your residential tenancy agreement carefully
The residential tenancy agreement, also known as the lease, is a legal document. It includes terms like, the amount of rent you need to pay and how it is to be paid. The length and type of tenancy, the amount of bond required and other conditions and rules. However, never sign any papers you don't understand.
Pay your bond
Your bond is a separate payment from your rent. It acts as a security for your landlord if you don’t meet the terms of your residential tenancy agreement. For example in Victoria, the bond is paid to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority where it is held in trust until the end of your residential tenancy agreement.
Fill in a condition report
When moving in fill in a condition report, note the general condition of the property, including fittings and fixtures and return it to the real estate agent or the landlord within seven days. You and your landlord should agree on the contents of the condition report before signing it.
Keep copies of everything
It’s advisable to keep a copy of your residential tenancy agreement, condition report, receipts for rent and bond money, letters, emails and any written records.
Know your rights and responsibilities
For example in NSW you have the right to dispute rent increases or address your landlord who has been negligent in maintaining the property, by going to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Fact sheets, videos and more information about tenants’ rights and responsibilities are available in each state and territories in several languages.
For NSW visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
For Victoria visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au