Renting Real Estate in South Australia
Renting is a popular option for many people, especially those that aren't ready for the permanence of buying South Australian real estate. But what exactly does the tenancy process entail in SA? From advertisements to contracts, we have all of the information you need.
Where to look for a rental property in South Australia
When researching the cost of renting in certain towns and suburbs in South Australia, websites such domain.com.au, realestate.com.au and ljhooker.com.au will help you along your way. SQM Research, CoreLogic RP Data and Australian Property Monitors are also great resources when carrying out general market research on vacancy rates and rental costs in areas throughout South Australia.
You should decide what you need out of the rental property. Will it be just for you, or do you want to live with other people? What amenities do you need nearby? Will you pick an area close to the city, or a particular school / university? How much can you afford to spend on rent every week?
Here are some criteria to consider:
- How much rent can you afford
- What type of property do you prefer - a house, apartment etc
- How many bedrooms do you need?
- Do you need parking?
- Do you want to share with someone else?
- Do you want a garden
- Do you need a space for pets?
- How close do you need to be to public transport and other amenities
Have you considered the use of a property management service? This is a fast, efficient method of finding a rental property, and can take a lot of stress out of the process. At LJ Hooker, our Property Management team has a long list of available rental properties across South Australia, and we'll help you find one that fits yours requirements perfectly.
The importance of inspections
Make sure to take a good look at the SA rental property during inspection, as you'll eventually fill out a sheet before signing the tenancy agreement which specifies the condition of the home. This is a legally binding document for both tenant and landlord, in the event of damage to the rental property.
Check the water pressure, light fittings, the conditions of any wood, the amount of sunlight, traffic noise and even how warm the place is at different times if you can. After all, you'll be living here for a while if you sign on!
Applying for a rental property in South Australia
How to become a tenant in South Australia
The governing document for all rental agreements in South Australia is the Residential Tenancies Act 1995. However, that's quite a lot of words to get through! To start the process, you're better off contacting a real estate agent, who will have many listings available for application.
You'll likely have to provide information about yourself, as well as a few references from previous landlords. First time tenants might find this difficult, so more general character references and proof of income could be necessary. This may differ from home to home.
You may then get an interview, or get to inspect the property - which is where you can get a first hand look at your potential new home.
You can talk to us at LJ Hooker, of course - we have plenty of localised advertisements for you to peruse. When you're ready, it's time to apply!
The new tenant checklist
As you can see from the South Australian government's handy guide, there are a fair few things for you to consider before you can move into a rental property in the state. Be sure to read this through carefully, and then pull together the following information:
- A bond lodgment form
- The tenancy agreement
- Two copies of the condition report (one for you and one for the landlord/property agency)
- Any repairs that will be made by the landlord or property agency, recorded in writing
If you don't have all of these documents, don't yet sign along the dotted line. The South Australia tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, so it's really worth knowing what you're getting yourself into before committing.
The costs of South Australia rental property
As the SA Government points out, there are a few specifics as to the cost of SA rental property. Rent can only be increased every six months, and receipts should be given to tenants for payment within 48 hours of money being transferred - samples of this are found here.
When you pay $250 per week or less, the bond cannot be more than four weeks' worth of rent. For anything more expensive, the bond can be up to six weeks' of rent. Get these details in writing, secure your receipts and make sure it is all within your budget! The state government also has resources to help people with these payments.
Additionally, there are other costs associated with renting to consider. This includes:
- A holding fee - this will ensure that the property cannot be offered to anyone else.
- A refundable fee to secure keys for a viewing, before the tenancy is signed.
- Duplicate keys are at your own expense.
- Setup fees for the property's utilities.
- Insurance or legal requirements stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
When you sign a tenancy agreement, you should already have filled out the condition report that we mentioned previous. This document is important in getting your bond back once you leave, and close inspection of your SA rental property will give you the chance to fill this out accurately.
Two copies will be provided, one for you and one for the landlord/letting agency. Fill the document out and return it as soon as possible. The condition report also outlines any repairs that need to be made, and is a binding contract, so take meticulous care.
Signing the tenancy agreement
There are two main types of tenancy agreements in existence in South Australia - the fixed-term agreement and the periodic agreement.
Fixed term agreement
The fixed term agreement allows you to live in a South Australian rental property for a fixed period of time, typically for a minimum of six months, but often longer. This contract can be renewed upon agreement between both tenant and landlord.
A periodic agreement can begin immediately once you move into a South Australian rental property, but it more often follows on from a fixed term agreement. The contract has no fixed end date, but the same rules and regulations as a fixed contract are otherwise kept.
Reading the fine print
Once you sign a tenancy agreement, a bond lodgment form and begin your stay, you have many ongoing responsibilities. This includes paying rent on time, ensuring the home is well-maintained, and notifying the landlord as soon as anything goes wrong. The SA Government has a full list of responsibilities for all parties, which is useful for people new to the SA tenancy process.
In the event of any disputes during your tenancy, these can be handled by the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
If you need help with any further information or are unsure where to start, don't hesitate to get in touch with the local team at LJ Hooker!