Some handy hints to help you when renting a home.

The condition report.

Before your tenancy begins, your property manager must inspect the property and record the condition of the premises on a signed condition report. As the tenant you must then inspect the premises and complete the tenant section of this condition report to see if you are in agreement or disagreement with the condition of the various listed features. A copy must be returned to the property manager within seven days, keeping the second copy for yourself as a record, to be used at the end of the tenancy.

Check who pays the water rates.

Under your residential tenancy agreement you may or may not be required to pay the water rates on your rental property. If your agreement states that you must pay for water, then your property manager must indicate on the condition report whether the premises have the required water efficiency measures.

Lodging your bond and paying rent in advance.

Your bond is security for the landlord if you stop paying rent or damage the property. It is generally the equivalent of four weeks rent for unfurnished properties but can be significantly higher for exclusive or fully furnished homes. You will sign a bond lodgment form and the landlord/property manager must lodge the money with the Rental Bond Board or statutory authority within seven days. If all is in order you can claim the bond at the end of the tenancy and receive a refund. You must generally also pay a minimum of two weeks rent in advance at the start of the lease.

Payment of your rent.

You and the property manager will agree on the rent you will pay and the method of payment before you move in. Rent can be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, via a variety of methods depending on your agency, most often direct debit. The property manager must give you at least 60 days’ written notice of any rent increase, subject to the terms of the rental agreement.

Repairs, maintenance and emergencies.

Requests for all repairs and maintenance must be made in writing to your property manager, either via email or fax. These will be attended to as rapidly as possible with minimal disruption to you. For any urgent emergency repairs such as plumbing, electrical or dangerous structural issues, phone your Property Manager immediately. If they are unavailable, check your tenancy agreement for the details of a nominated tradesperson to contact, or call emergency services where necessary.