Renting your own place means choosing where you live and who you live with. Know what to do when you sign up for a place, and where to get help if you’re having issues.
Before you sign the lease
A rental agreement (or lease) is a legal contract between you and the landlord. Follow our steps to find the right rental for you.
Work out what you can afford
Rent isn’t the only cost you have to plan for. Make sure you can afford all the costs of moving out, including the rental bond and everyday living expenses.
Not paying your rent on time can affect your credit score and rental history. You could even be evicted.
Work out how much you can afford to spend when you move out.
Inspect the property
Make sure the property:
- is clean and in good condition
- has what you need, like a laundry or somewhere to park your car
- is in the right location for you — for example, do you need to be close to public transport, or a supermarket?
Check the lease term
If the length of the lease doesn’t suit you, try negotiating with the landlord, or look for a different place.
If you sign the lease but decide to move out before it ends, you may have to keep paying rent until the landlord finds another tenant. You could also lose some of your bond. Check your lease for details.
Understand the contract
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the lease. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — you’re not expected to know everything about rental contracts.
- Ask the real estate agent to clarify anything you’re unsure about.
- Ask family and friends for a second opinion.
- Get advice from your local tenants’ union.
A rental bond is the security deposit you pay to your new landlord before you move in. The bond amount is usually equal to four weeks of rent.
To get your bond back, you’ll need to:
- pay your rent on time
- cause no damage to the property
- have your bond receipt
- have a detailed condition report
Get help paying the bond
State and territory governments offer interest free loans to help people on lower incomes pay their bond.
|Australian Capital Territory||Rental Bond Help|
|New South Wales||Rentstart Bond Loan|
|Northern Territory||Help with set-up costs for a private rental|
|Queensland||Guide to Bond Loans and Rental Grants|
|South Australia||Help paying bond and rent|
|Tasmania||Seeking housing assistance|
|Victoria||RentAssist bond loan|
|Western Australia||Bond Assistance Loan Scheme|
Do a detailed condition report
A condition report records the condition of the inside and the outside of the property when you move in. If there’s a dispute about missing items or damage, your report can be used as evidence. The landlord may do their own condition report, and this might be provided to you as well.
Your report should be as detailed as possible. Take lots of photos and record any marks, damage or issues, such as peeling paint or a faulty light.
Keep a copy of the condition report. You may need this to get your bond back.
Renting can come with its ups and downs. If you have a problem with your landlord or another tenant, contact your local tenants’ union for advice. Government agencies may also be able to help:
|Australian Capital Territory||Tenancy Advice Line|
1300 402 512ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal: Rental property disputes
|New South Wales||Tenants NSW|
1800 251 101NSW Fair Trading: Resolving rental problems
|Northern Territory||Darwin Community Legal Service|
08 8982 1111Northern Territory Consumer Affairs: Renting
1300 744 263Residential Tenancies Authority: Renting
|South Australia||Tenants Information and Advisory Service|
1800 060 462SA.GOV.AU: Renting
|Tasmania||Tenants’ Union of Tasmania|
Hobart area 03 6223 2641
statewide 1300 652 641Consumer, Building and Occupational Services: Renting
03 9411 1444Consumer Affairs Victoria: Renting
|Western Australia||Tenancy WA|
08 9221 0088
country callers: 1800 621 888Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Renting a home
Get help paying your rent
If you’re falling behind with your rent, or other debts like credit card repayments, there is help available:
- Visit the National Debt Helpline for steps to take if you’re struggling to pay your rent.
- Talk to a financial counsellor to get your finances back on track.
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Source: ASIC MoneySmart