Rental Guide

COSTS TO BUDGET FOR WHEN RENTING
BOND – typically four weeks rent
RENT IN ADVANCE – usually two weeks rent
UTILIES CONNECTION
– PHONE – around $59. Or $299 if no line.
– POWER – around $200 which may be waived if you have your bills paid by direct debt
FURNITURE REMOVAL – nil if home furnished, otherwise allow anything from few hundred dollars for DIY truck hire through to several thousand dollars for professional removal
HOME CONTENTS INSURANCE – around $300 to $400


THE TENANCY AGREEMENT
There are 2 types of tenancy agreements:
– Fixed term agreement – when you agree to rent the property for a fixed amount of time(6 or 12 months or other agreed period) or
– Periodic Agreement – when you live there for an indefinite period.
When you rent a property, you need a written agreement. It’s the lessor/agent’s responsibility to organize the agreement and give a copy to you before you move in.

THE BOND
You will need to pay a bond, usually 4 weeks rent, when you sign a tenancy agreement. The Rental bond is not the same as paying rent in advance. The RTA holds the bond in trust while you live in the place, and pays it back when you move out (provided there is no disagreement). When you pay a bond, the lessor/agent needs to give you a receipt for the money straight away and you will need to sign a Bond Lodgment (Form 2). Sometimes you can transfer the bond from your last place to your new place.

ENTRY CONDITION REPORT
When you move in, both you and the lessor/agent need to complete and Entry Condition Report (Form 1a). The Entry Condition Report is a record of the condition of the premises at the start of your tenancy. The form indicates whether items are clean, undamaged and working. If you agree with the lessor/agent’s comments, sign the form. You do not have to agree with the other persons comments but you need to add your comments if you do not agree.

PAYING THE RENT
You and the lessor/agent should agree on how, where and how often the rent will be paid. This must be included in your tenancy agreement. Once you have an agreement on how to pay the rent it cannot be changed for the duration of the tenancy agreement unless both you and the lessor/agent agree. If you pay your rent in cash or cheque, your lessor/agent must give you a receipt.

PETS
If you have pets you will find it a lot harder to find a rental property.
Pets are generally not permitted in strata title properties like townhouses or apartments.

PERMISSION
Before installing permanent fittings of any sort including curtain rails, picture hooks or window locks it is important to get your landlords permission(in writing).
If you move on, these items will have to stay behind unless they can be removed without damaging the property. Moreover, without getting the owner’s permission, adding fittings could be regarded as a breach of your lease – potentially costing you part of the bond.

REPAIRS
If repairs are needed on the property it’s best to contact your agent who will organize the necessary licensed tradesperson to perform the repairs.

INSPECTIONS
The lessor/agent is allowed a maximum of 1 routine inspection every 3 months using an Entry Notice (Form 9) given to the tenant with a minimum notice of 7 days.

DISPUTES
First point of reference is your lease which should spell out just where you stand. If you think the landlord is being intrusive, remember the lease should also spell out how often he or she can inspect the property and the notice periods required.
If the lease does not provide a clear answer, speak with your agent or landlord, and if you can’t reach a solution, contact the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) www.rta.qld.gov.au.

Information from Money Magazine March 2008 issue and RTA in Queensland www.rta.qld.gov.au.

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