Guide to Renting

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If you’re moving out of home or relocating to a new suburb, town or city, renting is easiest way to find a place to live.

Renting offers more flexibility than owning a home and requires less of a financial commitment. It allows you to live in an area where you might not be able to afford to buy, making it more suitable for those who wish to live closer to work or family and friends. Whether you’re renting for financial or lifestyle reasons, it’s important to understand the process of finding and applying for a rental property.

How to apply for a rental property

Once you’ve found a property you like, it’s best to provide as much information as possible and apply quickly to give yourself the best chance of being accepted.

What do real estate agents look for on rental applications?

Applying for a rental property can be very competitive, especially if multiple parties are interested in the one property.

The application will usually require prospective renters to provide the following details:

  • Identification – property managers may want to conduct background checks.
  • Renting history – landlords may prefer to rent the property to tenants who have a proven track record of paying rent on time and looking after a property.
  • Employment – landlords will want to ensure tenants are able to pay the rent on time.
  • References – property managers may contact referees such as previous managing agents, employers or character references.
Tips for first-time renters, students and casual workers

Having no rental history is something every prospective renter faces at one point their lifetime, so don’t feel deterred from entering the market.

For those in this position, it’s particularly important to provide as much financial information as possible along with references such as current or previous employers.

Renters can appoint a “guarantor”, otherwise known as a rental guarantee. A guarantor is person or entity, such as a family member or employer, who agrees to be responsible for the renter’s debt should the tenant fail to pay.

What you can and can’t change in a rental property

As a general rule, tenants should leave a rental property as they found it, except for general wear and tear.

Tenants, therefore, must get permission from their real estate agent before making any changes to a rental property, even if they think they would add value to the home.

This includes updates such as painting, installing internet connections, installing air conditioning and fixing hooks to the walls.

Any agreed-upon changes are generally made at the expense of the tenant unless the landlord offers to pay. For example, a landlord may offer to cover the cost of some materials or reduce the rent if they deem the update will add value to the home.

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