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There are thousands of rentals available across the Perth metro area. But for the new renter, finding an ideal property can be overwhelming. To help yourself get started, it’s best to enter the process with a plan. Some things to consider:
- Location, location, location. If you commute to work, search for homes only in the areas you’re willing to travel from.
- Your unique home wants and needs. Are you craving a quiet place? Or are you in search of family-friendly neighbourhoods where your kids can play? Make a list of all your must-haves to take with you.
- Identify home must-haves. These may include features such as large kitchens, access to a private gym, or his-and-her sinks.
- Search online. Once you know what you’re looking for, Google apartments for rent in your area. Open times will be made public. If you’d like to see a home that doesn’t currently have a home open, contact the listing agent to schedule one. An email address should be posted on any listing websites.
You may choose to contact your own listing agent. In this case, the agent will be able to work with you to be sure your needs are met. Be sure to also present a reasonable budget. This will help your listing agent give you reasonable expectations about how many of your rental needs can be accommodated.
If you don’t have a listing agent, not to worry. Most reputable listing websites will have an agent available via email. If you’d like to see listings other than those online, be sure to inquire with an agent. Agents have access to new or private listings.
What are my rights as a tenant in WA?
As a tenant, your rights may not be made clear to you by your landlord or leasing agent. For that reason, it’s important to be your own advocate. By knowing your entitlements, you’ll be able to speak up when something hasn’t been provided for you. You will also be better informed in how to retrieve your bond at the end of the lease. Some of your important rights include:
- A written copy of your lease, including any rules and guidelines by which you must adhere.
- A safe and clean home.
- Access to a State Government Bond Administrator.
- Your landlord must provide 14 days notice of an inspection, and 72 hours notice for your landlord to enter the residence to perform repairs. You are also entitled to 60 days notice before your landlord is able to increase your rent.
If you are accused of breaking a rule, and that rule isn’t in the guidelines, be sure to plead your case with your landlord.
You cannot be held liable for something you did not agree to in writing. When moving day arrives, if your living area is not reasonably clean and safe, your landlord is likely to hire a vacate cleaning service or order repair work.
It is strongly recommended to ask for all notices in writing. Otherwise, it will be your word against your landlord’s if there’s a dispute. A text or an email will suffice. It will help to keep all emails or texts from your landlord saved in a special folder on your computer or mobile device.
Most disputes can be worked out amicably; so don’t panic right away if something doesn’t go according to plan. Part of your landlord’s job is to make sure things run smoothly.
Be sure to contact your landlord by text or email, maintaining written discourse, and clearly state the issue you’re experiencing. If things need to be escalated to the courts, this written account will help you make your case.
I’m renting in Perth, WA. What should I look for?
When looking at a rental property, imagine that you already live there. If you walked up to your front door right now, would you be startled to find that someone had smashed your flowerpots? Would you be concerned that the floodlight didn’t work? Would you be comforted by the presence of a private gate? Would it smell appealing when you stepped inside?
All too often, prospective renters fall into the trap of behaving like guests in a home open. You wouldn’t be so discerning about someone else’s home. But by seeing the home open as your own front door, you’ll be able to see things more clearly. Some important things to look for:
- Privacy and security. Do you share a stairwell with your neighbours? Are there security cameras?
- Parking and transit. If you own a vehicle, is there enough parking for each driver in your household? If you rely on public transportation, is this rental within walking distance to the bus or train?
- Property condition. Are the appliances working? Are the blinds bent and tangled? Does the air conditioner work?
- Furnishings. Are you providing your own furniture, or does the home come fully furnished? If it’s furnished, does the landlord permit pets or children?
- Cleanliness. Does it look like the last tenants left the place clean? Does the landlord care enough to make sure the carpets have had a deep steam clean, the tiles and grout have been high pressure cleaned and the windows are streak-free?
Location is key. A beautiful apartment wouldn’t be of much use if it were in a location you hate or is impractical. Before attending a home open, drive through the area and make sure you’d like to live there. Location is, after all, something that even the best landlord can’t change.
The maintenance of the building or unit will say a lot about your potential landlord. If there’s mold or dirt, don’t blame the current renters. A property’s condition is a direct reflection of the person who rents it out. If possible, talk to the current tenants about their experiences. You may request to do this through your listing agent.
Above all else: be picky! You’re going to live here. It’s okay to ask questions and view as many properties as you’d like before setting on a home. Take your agent’s advice under consideration, but use your own judgment. Once all is said and done, you’re the one who will be living there.
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