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What to look for in a rental property

What to look for in a rental property


A checklist to help you determine your rental wish list

So you don’t waste your time looking at rental properties that don’t meet your needs here is a simple checklist of practical things to consider to help you determine your rental wish list

Location & Features of the property

This, along with budget is one of the most important decisions you need to make.  It is worth spending time ranking the following features as Essential, Preferable or Handy.  

Location

  • Close to work
  • Close to schools
  • Close to park
  • Close to shops
  • Close to amenities eg hospital
  • Close to sports grounds
  • Close to  transport
  • Close to family and friend
  • Close to leisure activities.

Internal Features

  • Number of bedrooms
  • Separate dining room
  • Separate children rumpus room
  • Open plan layout
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Modern kitchen
  • Built in wardrobe
  • Additional storage

External Features

  • Garden
  • Garage or off street parking
  • Outdoor area
  • Security
  • Low maintenance
  • Fully renovated /landscaped
  • Access to property

Finding a rental property

Once you have your rental property wish list you can commence the home hunt.  Here are 2 primary ways to help you find your rental home:

Navigate the Networks

One of the best places to search for rental properties is on-line.  Portal such as ljhooker.com.au, realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and homehound.com.au and even gumtree.com.au are great places to start.  For the real estate portals you can specify the suburb/s where you want to rent, number of bedrooms, price and other features and you will be presented with a shortlist of available properties that meet your requirements.  Make sure you save your search criteria and set up property alerts so you are notified of any new rental properties as they become available.

Talk to your local LJ Hooker Property Manager

LJ Hooker manages 130,000 rental properties across Australia, so contact your LJ Hooker agent and discuss what you are looking for, ask them if they have anything available or coming up in the area / price range you are looking at.  This is an important step as it might help you find a property before anyone else does.

What to look for when inspecting a rental property

Making sure you visit a rental property before you sign a lease is vital. It's tempting to sign away as soon as a landlord says yes, but be patient. There could be issues that aren't visible in an online listing.  It is recommended to visit a property for a midweek viewing as well - weekends can be packed with rival tenants, whereas visiting on a Wednesday might see you leap to the front of the queue.
Here is a summary of what to look for when inspecting the property:

The outside

Make sure you spend time looking around the outside of the property and consider the following:
  • Is it in good condition?
  • Is the property secure - have a look for deadlocks, window locks and other security features. The level of security can make a huge impact on your insurance.
  • Is there a garden and what maintenance is required? Does the landlord maintain the garden?
  • Has the property being burgled?
  • If you like gardening it is worth asking if you are able to add your touch to the garden
  • If there is a garden shed with junk it in, ask the agent if it is being cleared out
  • Does the property have a garage -’does it have a roller door, is it electronic or manual?
  • If there is no off street parking do you need parking permits?

The Inside

  • Is it in good condition? Is it clean, is there any signs of damp, mould, infestations of any kind?
  • Does anything need to be repaired?
  • Is there enough storage for all your stuff  - consider if there is enough pantry space, clothes hanging space, linen space and areas for you to store laundry items such as brooms and vacuum cleaners and external storage
  • Is the property insulated?
  • Is there central heating or air conditioning and do these work?  If they are not working find out when they will be fixed
  • Will you be able to fit your furniture and items into the property.  It is worth measuring the front door and rooms to ensure your furniture and white goods will fit in
  • Inspect the quality of kitchen items - are the saucepans in good condition
  • Does the property have enough electrical outlets and are they in the right place
  • Does the property have broadband or wi-fi
  • Does the property use Gas or electricity
  • Are the bedroom adequately heated and do they have storage and curtains
  • Check the bathroom - do you see any signs of leaking, does the shower work?

Safety checks

  • Have all appliances had safety checks (PAT tested)? Is the paperwork available to view?
  • Do the windows have locks - especially important if you have a ground floor apartment  or house?
  • Is there a burglar alarm?
  • Is there a safety blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen (required by law)?
  • Is there a landlord's gas safety record available to view?
  • Are there carbon monoxide detectors present?
  • Are there enough smoke alarms? Do they work?
  • Is there a way to escape in the event of a fire?

Budget considerations

  • How much is the rent and what is included?
  • How much is the bond?
  • What other bills are there and what are you liable to pay for?
  • How much of a deposit is required? What are the conditions for the landlord deducting money from the deposit?
  • What are the estimated running costs of the property?
  • Can you comfortably afford the rent on top of the deposit and running costs?

Other considerations

  • Does anything need to be repaired?  If so ask the landlord to put this in writing
  • If the landlord agrees to make repairs, get it in writing along with a time frame of when it will be fixed
  • Photograph the rental property including all inventory before you move in
  • Spend time reading and understanding the tenancy agreement
  • Keep a copy of the signed tenancy agreement for your own records
  • Check and record all metre readings on the day you move in and send a copy to your landlord / property manager

Happy home hunting!

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