Before you begin hunting for a place to rent, take time to consider.
- Where you would like to live.
- The type of housing you are after, and
- How much can you afford?
- Where would you like to live – area
Both your budget and lifestyle will influence where you choose to live. When considering the financial aspects, start by taking a look at the average rental values of suburbs.
Finding a location that suits your lifestyle is also very important. Here are some factors that are important to you.
- Travel time – work
- Educational Facilities – Child-care, Primary/High schools
- Recreational Facilities – Parks
- Environment – Appealing streetscapes, Low noise area
- What type of house are you after?
There are many different types of rental housing, including
- Private rental – a house/flat/sectional title unit/portion of any of these.
- Campus residential colleges
- Caravans, and
- Public and community housing
- Determine how much you are likely to spend on start-up costs. These could include:
- A deposit
- Rent in advance
- Furniture removal costs
- Connection of services,e.g telephone and electricity
- Furniture, e.g. beds, table, chairs, fridge etc.
- Kitchen utensils e.g. cutlery, crockery and cooking pans.
- Linen, e.g. towels and sheets.
Private rentals refer to housing that is owned by either businesses or individuals and leased to tenants. This is the most common form of accommodation for people who do not own property and are ineligible for public housing.
Boarding refers to renting a room, as distinct from renting or sharing a house or flat. Examples of this form of accommodation include self-contained residence in boarding/rooming houses and lodging in private houses often with a family
Campus residential colleges are for students, and can be located both on- and off – campus. This type of accommodation offers many conveniences for students, including furnished premises, proximity to campus, relatively cheap rent and frequently catering facilities as well as access to other amenities and services.
Caravans parked in caravan parks are generally covered by local regulations.
Public and community housing is administered by the government and community organizations. This form of housing is available for people on low to medium incomes, as well as special groups, such as people with disabilities. Demand for public housing is great and people must often be placed on a waiting list, following assessments of their application.
Signing a lease
Before moving in, you will be asked by the landlord to sign a lease that will detail the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and yourself:
- Who is responsible for maintenance, repairs and the like?
- The amount of money to be paid as a deposit and monthly rental
- Who must pay for consumables, i.e. rates, water, electricity, sewage and refuse removal
- The commencement and duration of the agreement and any option rights
Check the draft lease with an attorney. It is money well worth spending.
Problems / disputes
As a tenant, it is important you understand your rights and responsibilities. Being aware of the laws as they relate to renting can help you to avoid or resolve accommodation problems. Areas in which problems can occur include:
- Restrictions on the number of persons residing or on pets kept or on other rights of occupation
- Repairs and maintenance
Sub-letting occurs when the residence houses both the lessee, and one or more sub-lessees who are not included in the lease. The lessee is responsible for the premises, while sub-lessees are entitled to certain rights, but are not protected if the lease is cancelled.
At Common Law it is not necessary to get the landlords permission before bringing in other people, but it is you who will be responsible for their behavior and any damage to the residence. Most standard lease agreements however contain a provision against sub-letting without the landlord’s consent.
Ending a lease
If you wish to end the lease prior to the date given in the lease agreement, your landlord will need to approve this request. Walking out on the lease is a breach of contract and you will be required to reimburse the landlord for all the money she/he lost as a result. Cancellation is only justifiable when the landlord fails to honor the lease agreement or when the residence severely damaged.