Renting your first property can be an exciting experience. You may be moving out of your parent’s home for the first time or starting over in a new city. Before you begin mentally decorating your new place, there are a few important things to consider first. As a first-time renter, there will be things you’ll need to know before you sign your lease agreement to protect yourself and to ensure you are able to afford the expenses that come with renting.
Here are a few key details to go over before committing to a lease agreement.
Can you cover the costs?
Don’t forget that the monthly lease amount is just the beginning. When you sign a lease, you may be required to pay first and last month’s rent and to pay a bond up front. You will also have to be able to prove to the landlord that you can cover rent on a regular basis, so they may ask for supporting documentation in the form of employment contracts, payslips, or character references. A landlord also has the right to ask for a guarantor that will pay the rent on your behalf if you default.
While some rental properties include gas, electricity or water in the cost of the lease, others don’t. Ask the landlord to specify what costs they cover and if they can estimate how much a monthly bill might be for extra utilities. Don’t forget you’ll also probably need to cover other bills on top of that, including your car, internet, phone, etc. Before agreeing to a lease, work out what your monthly costs may be and figure out a budget.
Does the property meet your needs?
When apartment hunting, don’t just look at the price. Consider other aspects of the rental as well such as:
Is it close to work?
Does the building look and feel safe?
Are you getting a good vibe from the landlord?
Is there enough space for your needs?
Does it have a parking space for my car?
Do I need a flatmate?
If you do decide to rent the property, ask for a walk-through inspection before taking over the lease. Test taps and faucets as well as doors and locks. Make a note of anything that is in need of repair.
Have you read the tenancy agreement?
Once you have found a rental property that ticks all the boxes, and your application has been approved, you’ll need to sign a tenancy agreement. It’s important to read it and to understand the contents of the agreement. Typically, items outlined include:
- Details regarding how you should pay rent (and when)
- Details outlining what the tenant and landlord can and can’t do
- Details outlining special terms (for example, if pets are allowed or not)
- The length and type of tenancy (fixed term, or indefinite)
- The amount of bond required
- Any other rules or conditions
Do you understand what your rights are?
As a tenant, you are entitled to certain rights. A landlord, for example, can’t force you to pay for maintenance on the property. You also have the right to privacy which means the landlord can’t show up at your door unannounced. While communication channels may be outlined in the lease agreement, ask your landlord what the protocols are if you need maintenance done or if and when they do property inspections.
Different states have different tenant rights, so make sure you have an understanding of what yours are.
Do you have all of the correct documentation?
Before moving into your apartment, the landlord needs to provide you with certain documents. These include:
- A copy of the tenancy agreement
- A copy of the lodgement form
- An information booklet relating to renting in your state
- Original copies of the condition report (these need to be checked, completed, signed and returned to the landlord in a specified time frame)
- Receipt for the initial rental payment, lease fees, and bond
- A photocopy of all keys (or remote controls)
- A landlord’s emergency contact details
If you are missing any of these items, touch base with your landlord and ask them to provide the items before moving in.
How Instarent can help
If it’s your first foray into renting, apps like Instarent can make it easy. Not only does Instarent allow you to find rental properties in your desired city or town, you can use it to create a renter profile to seamlessly fill out rental applications. You’ll be able to digitally sign rental agreements, pay your landlord through the platform (ensuring your rent gets paid on time every month), and communicate with your landlord directly through the app.
Instarent makes it easy to handle everything from documentation to maintenance visits so you and your landlord never have to worry about lost paperwork or a lack of communication.
Want to make the rental process as smooth as possible? Speak to the team at Instarent to see how we can help you!