A Guide To Rental Terms & Regulations For Students-Student Accommodation
A student becomes confused with ‘n’ number of questions on Rental agreements & Tenancy. To save you from these here are some things you might want to know before becoming a tenant.
Rental costs are primarily dependent on the following factors
- Size of the property/ number of bedrooms
- Age of Property
- Quality of property
- Facilities available
The region where the property is located also happens to be a factor that impacts its rental cost. Rents are considerably lower in rural areas as compared to urban areas. Also, a property closer to the heart of the city will be costlier than a property located in the suburbs. Speaking of Australia, in particular, the rental costs in cities like Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne are known to be the highest.
Estimated rents for unfurnished properties in Australia are as given below
Fees & Bonds
A majority of estate agents and agencies charge tenants a fee amounting one week’s rent for a lease valid for six months and two weeks rent for a lease valid for one year. This is the maximum fees an agency can charge, legally.
Apart from that, a tenant is also expected to pay for the following
- An advance rent for one month: It varies from property to property and is also dependent on the rental agreement.
- Bond money: The tenant needs to pay a deposit which can be held against damages by the owner of the property eventually. The sum to be paid usually ranges from four weeks rent to six weeks rent. The deposit amount is often higher for furnished properties.
- Lease document fee
- Deposit for gas and electricity
- Refundable deposit for facilities like telephone or internet.
Rental Contract Process and Structure
A tenancy agreement is a written contract that the tenant has with the owner or agent of the rented property. It clearly states the rules or responsibilities for both parties in an unbiased manner. The tenant as well as the owner must pay due attention to all details mentioned in the agreement and abide by them. Renting an apartment or a house often needs a commitment of 6 to 12 months that also has an option to renew.
I know that my lease doesn’t start until the 1st, but can I move-in 3 days early for free?
Here are a few important points to be kept in mind by the tenant as well as the owner
- It is the owner’s responsibility to clear property taxes and ensure that the property is in a habitable condition. He must also ensure the provision of water and proper sewerage.
- In most cases, you will be held responsible for utility costs. Maintenance costs of facilities like swimming pool are included in the rent.
- In case of urgency, you may pay for repairs done to the house and forward the bills to the owner. The amount paid must, however, not be deducted from the rent that you are entitled to pay to the landlord.
- If you want to vacate the property before the expiry of the lease period, you are bound to pay the rent till the end of the lease period. You can, however, look for a replacement and reduce your loss.
- If you give the owner a notice of termination 21 days prior to vacating the property, it is his responsibility to advertise and re-let the property.
- If you have a rental agreement, you cannot be evicted from the property before expiry of the agreement. The landlord may, however, obtain an eviction order if you damage property, fail to pay rent, renovate without permission or refuse to let the landlord in.
- The landlord has the authority to terminate your agreement by giving a 60 days notice.
- You can appeal against termination of the agreement in case of old age, poor health condition or lack of alternative accommodation.
An important aspect of moving into a new house or apartment is to check the inventory left by the landlord and prepare an inspection report on the condition of the inventory.
The list includes inspecting
- Condition of fittings
- Condition of furniture, carpets, cupboards (if furnished)
- Decoration and cleanliness
- Need of repair
Other important things to check while renting a house or an apartment are
- The property must be clean and spotless when you move in and must be left equally clean when you move out.
- Inventory provided may include everything from furniture to teaspoons, in case of furnished properties.
- The inspection and inventory check must be done within seven days of moving into the property. You will receive a copy signed by the landlord/ agent and you, while another will be lodged with the Rental Bond Board.
- When you vacate the property, re-inspection is done. Deductions are made from bond deposit for any repairs needed.
- Make sure you check the reading on the meters (gas, water, electricity) to ensure you are not charged extra for the facilities you avail.
Rules and Regulations During The Tenancy And Moving In/Out
Normally everybody seeks a place to stay where everything is calm & peaceful, however different types of student accommodation their advantages and disadvantages. Have a look at some more aspects.
Responsibilities of Tenant
- Ensure that you pay rent timely. If you are late in paying the rent by a fortnight or more, the landlord can issue a notice in your name, asking you to vacate.
- Do not damage the property.
- Notify the landlord in case of need of repairs.
- Maintenance of property is your responsibility as a tenant.
- In case of shared accommodation, each tenant is responsible for cleaning and maintaining his bedroom. The common rooms like kitchen, living area etc. are however, to be maintained by all tenants.
Responsibilities of Landlord
- Lodge bond deposit with RTBA (Residential Tenancies Bond Authority).
- Provide tenants with a guide. A Landlord can be fined with $500 if he fails to provide this information.
- Repair and maintenance of property.
- Ensure privacy of tenant. Visit the tenant or enter property with prior notice.
Vacating the Property at the Expiry of Lease
- If you have a housemate, let him know your exit date.
- If you intend to vacate before expiry of lease, give your landlord or agent a written notice 28 days prior to vacating. This gives him time to advertise for re-letting the property.
The landlord or agent conducts final inspection within 10 days of you vacating the property. This inspection includes
- Monitor condition of the property and ensure it is undamaged.
- Refund bond deposit.
- Notify you of any deductions due to damages.
Tips for Tenants
- Leave the property in a good condition when you are vacating.
- Repair damages prior to final inspection by the landlord or agent.
- Make sure you clear all pending bills.
- Return keys and borrowed goods to landlord or agent. A delay in returning the keys could lead to rent charged over an extended period.
Breaking a Lease Early
- If you break the lease early, you are liable to pay rent till the property is re-let. In order to save this cost, you can yourself find a new tenant.
- Rent may include accommodation as well as advertising fees.
- The re-letting provision is not applicable to hostels and shared housing situations.
- Clean carpets and mow lawns before vacating.
- Ensure furniture is stain free.
- Clean oven, griller or laundry.
- Recycle newspapers and keep other waste materials to be disposed outside.
- Remove all your belongings.
- In case the house is not clean at the time of vacating, the landlord can claim commercial cleaning costs.
- Fill a Bond Claim Form in your own handwriting.
- Fill all sections and never sign a blank form.
- Re-check bank details and other sections before signing the form.
- Bond deposits are usually refunded within 2-3 working days.
- The form is to be signed by the landlord before it is lodged.
- In case of a shared housing, you will be required to fill an additional Tenant Transfer form. Thus, the new/ existing tenants will pay you the amount you are owed.
- Ensure that your name is removed from the lease agreement.
Cancelling Utilities (phone, internet, gas, water and electricity)
- Give a 48 hours notice to the retailer before vacating property so that meter readings can be noted and you are not charged extra.
- These arrangements are usually done online.
- Fill a Mail Redirection form. This is done online through Australia Post. You will be required to have your mail sent from current to new address.
- This service usually costs $23 per month.
Hope now you you are having a good idea about how to become a perfect tenant. Now you should be able to find cheap student accommodation. Good Luck… Hunting for a home away from Home Sweet Home.